Tonight the Firedoglake Watercooler is in solidarity with Slutwalk Chicago. This year the event had a broad intersectional theme that covered a multitude of interocnnected issues. Marchers took the streets on Saturday against police resistance.
— Joe Macaré (@joemacare) August 23, 2014
From Windy City Times:
As this year’s participants—who included a racially mixed spectrum of both cis and transgender women and men of all ages—took their message from the Daley Center, down Monroe Street and onto Michigan Avenue, members of the CPD demanded that they move off the street and onto the sidewalk.
At Randolph Street and Michigan, officers on bicycles and Segways formed a barricade in front of the marchers, who included two 15-year-old students from Lakeview High School—Glenda Villalon and Sara Geiger. The protestors responded with cries of ‘These are our streets. we will not be moved!’
The police temporarily backed away and created a new barricade at Wacker Drive and Michigan. By this time, at least a half dozen police SUVs and cruisers attempted to push through the marchers from behind and herd them onto the sidewalk. One SUV looked as if it was colliding with the legs of some of the women walking in front of it. At least three of the protestors claimed they were struck by either a police car or an officer on a Segway. One of the women—SlutWalk co-organizer Jackie Spreadbury—displayed a bruise that ran halfway down her calf.
Ironically, an integral part of this year’s march was to call awareness to what participants claim is a continuing cycle of profiling and abuse by the CPD toward women whether they are victims of sexual violence, sex workers or trans women of color.
Organizers of the Chicago protest this year partnered with a number of advocacy organizations throughout the city in order to broaden their message beyond an end to what they claim is a society that sustains ‘institutional rape culture, slut-shaming and victim blaming.’
‘We wanted to become more inclusive,’ SlutWalk co-organizer Red Schulte told Windy City Times. ‘We want to stand against transphobia, racism, classism and the manifestations of oppression that Capitalism hoists upon us. We’re creating a safe space for people to feel empowered, to challenge discrimination and to feel valued, legitimate and have their voices heard.’
There’s been a lot of media buzz over Undercover Colors, a new type of nail polish that detects date rape drugs. From Engadget:
Just pretend to stir the drink with your finger, and the polish will change color the moment it detects GHB, Rohypnol or Xanax (aka date rape drugs or roofies) in the liquid. Pretty cool, right? And certainly useful, seeing as 1.) date rape drugs are typically odorless and tasteless, and 2.) a recent Washington Post report has revealed that sexual assault cases on college campuses continue to grow from year to year.
Undercover Colors’ creators, a team of students from North Carolina State University have been working on the line for the past year. They’ve started shopping it to potential investors this summer, and, thus far, have raised $100,000 from a single investor and made some cash from a competition. The team’s still in the midst of testing the product, so you’ll have to make do with boring nail polishes and date-rape-drug-detecting coasters for now.
But not every activist is equally thrilled with the development.
#Protip: Chances are, if someone uses GHB on you, it's because you trust them enough to accept the drink in the first place.
— Imperator Shinyosa (@allshiny) August 25, 2014
Although these products typically get a lot of press and are sometimes hailed as complete breakthroughs in the fight against sexual violence — ‘Soon, a fresh manicure could have the potential to save your life,’ the Daily Mail proclaimed in a story about the new nail polish — activists working in the field aren’t convinced. They believe innovations like anti-rape nail polish are well-meaning but ultimately misguided.
‘I think that anything that can help reduce sexual violence from happening is, in some ways, a really good thing,’ Tracey Vitchers, the board chair for Students Active For Ending Rape (SAFER), told ThinkProgress. ‘But I think we need to think critically about why we keep placing the responsibility for preventing sexual assault on young women.’
Women are already expected to work hard to prevent themselves from becoming the victims of sexual assault. They’re told to avoid wearing revealing clothing, travel in groups, make sure they don’t get too drunk, and always keep a close eye on their drink. Now, remembering to put on anti-rape nail polish and discretely slip a finger into each drink might be added to that ever-growing checklist — something that actually reinforces a pervasive rape culture in our society.
‘One of the ways that rape is used as a tool to control people is by limiting their behavior,’ Rebecca Nagle, one of the co-directors of an activist group called FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture that challenges the societal norms around sexual assault, explained. ‘As a woman, I’m told not to go out alone at night, to watch my drink, to do all of these things. That way, rape isn’t just controlling me while I’m actually being assaulted — it controls me 24/7 because it limits my behavior. Solutions like these actually just recreate that. I don’t want to fucking test my drink when I’m at the bar. That’s not the world I want to live in.’
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