I believe this is the last of the articles I originally wrote for POCO that I haven’t posted in at least one version or another. The last couple posts I made weren’t to revive this blog but to tie off the loose ends. This should be the final post.
Tucson Take Back The Night 2012 Report Back
On Tuesday April 10th, I went to the parking lot of Time Market in Tucson, Arizona for a community Take Back The Night march against sexual assault and violence. When the first handful of people with signs and a banner gathered, I approached. I was a little stressed out and disappointed that I was the only male bodied person present, but someone offered me a sign and assured me they were grateful I was there. I took a sign that read “RAPE DESTROYS Communities” which though it was the first one I saw, really summed up what I had been thinking but couldn’t articulate on my own about why I was there. I said I was disturbed that I was the only guy there, but took the sign and stood by University Ave. so people passing by could read it.
I had marched in a Take Back The Night demonstration in Madison, Wisconsin in April 2005, and though I thought the original Slut Walk was a righteous response to pig’s blaming survivors’ for their own abuse, I was disturbed by the phenomenon that followed, and never would have marched in one because I would feel sleazy, yet feel that it is incredibly important that male bodied people support and participate in such events against sexual assault and harrasment.
As our crowd grew to about two dozen people, finally a few other male bodied people showed up, and I felt a little better though I was disappointed by how small our crowd was. We marched to Geronimo Plaza, and I was glad to see dozens of people already there, including many other males. Another much larger march entered from the University of Arizona Campus, and there might have been upwards of two hundred people there, especially factoring in turn over.
Someone gave me a pamphlet titled “HOW TO HELP SOMEONE IN CRISIS” which I promptly took and read. There were speak outs and performances including a ceremony and dancing by Danza AZTECA Xochipili Centeotl and the keynote speech was made by Chican@, trans Dr. Frank Galarte who spoke not only as a survivor of sexual assault, but also how we can’t talk about ending sexism with talking about racism. This intersectionality had been in the forefront of my thoughts all evening, and I shouted “Right on!” and started clapping, unfortunately only one other person clapped then and a bunch of people turned around a smiled at me like it was funny or something. They also talked about how 60-70% of the women walking into the United States illegally report being sexually assaulted, and emphasized those are just who report what happens to them, and doesn’t include who is sexually assaulted in detention.
People were available to offer support to survivors of sexual assault, and there were plenty of other resources for survivors and advocates on tables. It was an overall good event, especially since it was the first time in years that the school and community decided to have a joint event.