Pussy Grabs Back Protests – NYC and Denver

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Ladies,

It’s time we said ‘Enough’.  Rape culture, gender violence, and sexual assault and harassment are taking over the headlines, but instead of inciting action, its being dismissed as a political move.  Victims are coming forward only to be shamed or shut down as per usual.  On Twitter #WhyWomenDontReport has been a powerful hashtag illustrating the very heart of rape culture and why we as victims often don’t come forward.

My recent post about rape culture, got so much trolling that I turned the trolling into a social experiment and turned the trolling commentary into proof of the rape culture they were denying.  Mostly I just tried to find a silver lining out of so much hate and misogyny.  Throughout the responses I see from women on social media sharing stories and speaking out, many openly adding their voice to the conversation for the first time, I see old wounds being ripped open and a bizarre collective PTSD emerging. It feels less about the old wounds than about the new hate.

Enter the Pussy Grabs Back Protests.  It’s time to raise our voices and collectively push back against the misogyny, racism, and hate talk that insists that there is no rape culture, that we are too sensitive, that we need to shut the hell up, that we are lying.  It’s time to reclaim Pussy as a derogatory word meaning coward, or as a way to dehumanize us down to a body part. It’s time to fight back with our voices and our spirits.

I’ve created two protests, both scheduled before the election.  It’s not about politics, although politics is what has brought this conversation to the streets in protest, it’s about voicing our stories and showing that rape culture exists and we will not accept it any longer.  It’s about seeing survivors in the thousands opening the door and welcoming the nation in to see what we, as women, have been putting up with for far too long.  Activists like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan the feminist movement of the 1970’s should have kicked this in the balls a long time ago but apparently we have not come as far as we thought since the suffragette movement ensured us the right to vote almost a century ago.  The open racism and misogyny that is fueling this election cycle, but is seemingly brushed aside is staggering in its roots of ignorance and hate.  Calls from Trump supporters to roll back women’s rights to vote, to roll back civil rights?  The only option is fight the ignorance with protest and to combat the apathy of those unaffected with our voice.

My own small, yet diverse community of men and women in New York City are coming together to protest on Saturday, October 29th at 10am. We want you to join us.  The location details will be announced on social media  through Twitter at @sgalpin Instagram at @sgalpin74 and my public Facebook page next week.  The fabulous women at WorldMuse and CTZNWELL are supporting these protests with outreach and support and for that we are grateful to them.

We need your help mobilizing the NYC community to join us; college students, artists and musicians, the yoga community, women’s groups, anti-violence and anti-human trafficking groups, activists, writers, journalists, business leaders, and media to join the protest and be aware of it.  Please reach out to your community, share this post, invite your friends, and get involved.  If you can help with signs, media, social media outreach, or anything else please email me through my website at www.shannongalpin.com

The second protest is in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday, October 26th the state which I call home.  We were approved for a permit today so that we can protest on the steps of the state capitol building.  Please join us at 8am on the west steps of the capitol.  Same thing as NYC, rallying your community, showing up to the protest, encouraging others to join you is our biggest need.

Get creative, make signs or wear tshirts in protest that focus on the issue not the political candidates.  Pussy Grabs Back, Combat Apathy, Enough, Feminist as Fuck, Rape Culture Exists, VAG (very articulate girls), Vote Your Vagina are a few of my personal favorites.  Let’s make this protest the first step in a broader discussion and specific actions to combat rape culture and gender violence beyond Nov. 8th.  Our work is just beginning, no matter who wins this election, the work we have ahead of us to combat gender violence and rape culture is just beginning.

#CombatApathy

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Election Season

This year three key elections are taking place, following in the footsteps of our own recent history making election that resulted in a liberal, black man, taking over the office held soley by white men since the inception of our country.  I voted early as I was scheduled to be flying to Afghanistan on election day.  I watched in Dubai as the results came in and arrived in Kabul to the news that Obama had been declared the winner.   Never had I been so personally invested in my own country’s electoral process and outcome. 

The first of the three key elections of the year, possibly the decade, came last month in Lebanon – the democratic and multi-cultural jewel of the Middle East.  A country that has work steadfastly to put together a patchwork representation of its diverse religious and ethnic foundation.  Shite, Sunni, Maronite Christian, and Druze all hold political positions.  Different factions within that including Hezbollah run for office, despite being labeled terrorists, because they are allowed to take part in the process if they play by the rules and those that support them will cast their votes in their favor.   Conflicts and 

With a 54% voter turnout, Hezbollah lost the election and the pro-Western Hariri’s coalition claimed victory.  Did this cause Hezbollah to denounce the elections and cry foul?  Quite the opposite.  Having won 58 seats, Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah graciously accepted defeat, and congratulated the winners in both the majority and the opposition.  Would the West been as accepting had Hezbollah come out the victor?  

Next up was Iran.  We find ourselves in the middle of history unfolding as this country’s citizens dared to make themselves heard despite crackdowns in free speech and media.  This election did not go as smoothly as Lebanon’s.  When Ahmadinejad was declared the victor in a landslide victory, fraud was called and supporters of the opposition took to the streets demanding    What began as stunningly moving peaceful and silent demonstrations have turned violent as the clerics move to silence the opposition and when that didn’t work, to take aim.  Literally.  Now we are looking at full scale demonstrations and violent clashes that leave innocent men and women gunned down in the streets while they give their voices to change.  

Stories and photos of a young woman, Neda Agha Soltan, have flooded YouTube and the web after she was shot clean through the heart by Iranian militia.   She has become the poster child of the opposition movement and humanizes the opposition to those following the demonstrations in the West, as the heartbreaking video flooded the media.  One innocent among the many that died a senseless death simply trying to speak out.  www.bloomberg.com

Today’s headlines turned my stomach when I read how another nineteen year old boy, Kaveh Alipour, was shot in the crossfire over the weekend.  Upon learning of his son’s death, the elder Mr. Alipour was told the family had to pay an equivalent of $3,000 as a “bullet fee”—a fee for the bullet used by security forces—before taking the body back.   www.wsj.com

As one Iranian stated, “Democracy is a long way ahead. I may not be alive to see that day. With eyes full of tear in these early hours of Tuesday 16th June 2009, I glorify the courage and bravery of those martyrs and I hope that their blood will make every one of us more committed to freedom, to democracy and to human rights.” 

All of this sets the stage for the elections in Afghanistan this fall.  An incumbent in the form of Karzai, deemed corrupt by the citizens, and catering to the ultra conservative Islamic vote, despite coming onto the world stage as a moderate, modern thinking leader supported by the West.  If the elections do happen, will they be free of corruption, will they move Afghanistan forward, will the results be respected by the people and by the international forces that influence the country?  Will the people of Afghanistan that have endured over thirty years of conflict have a say in the course of their country’s destiny?  Only time will tell, and as we continue to watch Iran’s election results unfold and hope that those that wish for peace, and hope for freedom, can find both in the upcoming years.

June 24th, 2009|Categories: politics|Tags: , , , |0 Comments
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