by David Wraith
A couple days before SlutWalk, my friend and SEX+STL co-founder, Kendra Holliday expressed concern that participants would need aftercare following such an intense experience. Intellectually, I knew exactly want she meant, but I have to admit that on a gut level, I just didn’t get it.
Maybe it’s because I’m a man. Maybe it’s because I’m not a rape survivor. But the full weight of what SlutWalk meant did not hit me until during a workshop when a woman from the audience stood up, was handed the microphone and self identified as a rape survivor in front of a room packed with people. It was so brave of her and it was so powerful for the audience. After that, it was like a gate had opened. Women were inspired to tell their stories. It was a lot to process. I’m still processing.
Of all the things that have happened since we started SEX+STL less than a year ago, SlutWalk is what I’m proudest to have been a part of, and SEX+STL was only a small piece of this event. The real heavy lifting was done by an amazing woman named Brennan Peters. What she accomplished is nothing short of incredible. 600 people attended the march through The Grove, 200 attended the various workshops at Atomic Cowboy and the Body Positive Fashion Show at Novak’s, and the burlesque show finale at Atomic Cowboy was standing room only (I was hugging the wall throughout the show). I’m both honored and more than a little intimidated that SEX+STL will be taking over SlutWalk next year. Brennan will be a tough act to follow.
Two questions that came up during the workshops were:
1. How do we get more men involved?
2. What do we do after SlutWalk?
I have very good answers to both questions: I don’t know. I turn those questions back to all of you who attended SlutWalk, all of you who wanted to attend and everyone who is reading this. What do I, what do we, and what do you do now? It’s a collective as well as an individual question. If we feel called to continue this movement, the question is what do each us do as individuals and what can we do as a group? It’s something I’ve been thinking about everyday this week. SlutWalk was a potentially life changing event for me. Will my life go back to normal, as if SlutWalk never happened, until it’s time to start planning for next year? It’s very possible. Only time will tell.
One of my personal heroes is a man named Jack Jezreel, the founder of JustFaith Ministries. He talks about “gathering and sending.” He says the problem with the Christian church is that it’s all gathering and no sending. SlutWalk was a gathering, a pretty freakin’ amazing gathering. And now, we have been sent. Where and to do what, I’m not yet sure. In the meantime, please, if you attended SlutWalk, give us your feedback. And talk it up! Tell your friends about your experience. Engage with those who were opposed to SlutWalk, listen to their reasons why and then share with them why you went. Let’s keep the dialogue going.