Post SlutWalk SF Bay cross-post

Originally published at the Good Vibe Magazine, which is NSFW so I am cross-posting it here:

So SlutWalk SF was this past Saturday, and I wrote about the forethought of attending and bringing my sons with me. You can read that here.

This is the post-post. Yes, the boys and I went to the march. Yes, it was a rather small turn out as compared to other rallies, marches and protests I have been to in San Francisco and also in comparison to the other SlutWalks that happened the same weekend. Philadelphia and Helsinki had amazing numbers of people out in the street demanding that consent be respected in all situations.

The rally and march in SF were very intimate and very intense. I commented on Tiny Nibbles that the lack of social media during and after SlutWalk SF is significant. I can’t remember the last time I went to an event here where half the people weren’t typing away on their phones. The people gathered were focussed, they were in the moment, they were engaged. I have so much respect for the all of the speakers. Ginger Murray has a great post up today on her SF Weekly blog.

I am so glad I brought the boys. My younger son is not a big fan of crowds, so we had to stay on the sidelines. He read comic books on the grass during the rally. His older brother, however, was all in the mix. He listened to the speakers, watched people’s reactions and asked me questions.

What really got his attention was the speaker who asked us to help fight child sex trafficking. She specifically mentioned MISSSEY, an organization in Oakland that I wrote about last year.  When the speaker gave the information on the range of ages of children who are commercially sexually exploited and the large number of those children in the Bay Area, my son looked at me and said, “Mom! They are talking about people my age, in my neighborhood, who should be in school like me!” and I just nodded and said, “Those are children who need to be helped, not punished for what they’re being forced to do.” This is the point of SlutWalk to me; to confront the rape-positive culture we live in where 12 year olds forced to sell sex on the street are called prostitutes. It’s all about consent. An adult sex worker can give consent, while minors can’t. Period. So that means anyone who has sex with an underage teenager is a rapist and that is the person who should be punished. Not the child.

When it was time to march, we walked with friends and ran into folks that I work and study with. For me, the march did what I hoped it would do: the boys saw their community confront rape by calling out victim blaming and slut shaming. They saw and felt the power of people telling their stories and standing together. The march ended in Harvey Milk Plaza, where there was an open mic for people to come up and share. My sons looked at me and asked, “Mom, what are you going to say?”

I really had not thought of it. But they insisted, so I got in line to contribute this little bit of mind blowingly obvious insight: “Rape is a social disease and I brought my sons here to show them what a social solution looks like.” And the crowd went wild.

Thank you so much to the organizers, speakers, sponsors and marchers.

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Post SlutWalk SF Bay cross-post