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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Home Town Human Trafficking

I was honored to speak alongside Former US Attorney Tim Purdon and North Dakota state senator  Heidi Heitkamp at human rights conference TALK 2015 at the ND Historical Society.  The focus was about the epidemic affecting my home state, human trafficking.

I took the stage to speak to an audience filled with concerned citizens, including friends and family, politicians, and judges to speak about my own experience with gender violence and how it shaped my work in Afghanistan and how it resonates back home.  1 in 3 women are sexually assaulted around the world.  In America one woman every two minutes is raped.  We should be appalled by our lack of action.  In regard to the state’s emerging discussions about its human trafficking, and specifically its sex trafficking problem, I stated emphatically “It is not disparaging our communities, or our state, to discuss that human trafficking is a problem here.  It disparages our state when we deny there is a problem and thereby allow it to continue.”

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After lunch Sen. Heitkamp spoke about her efforts to fight human trafficking in DC and what the situation is for North Dakotans.  This is a mostly rural state that is family oriented and that is still catching up to the pros and cons associated with the oil boom that has rapidly transformed the state.  Heidi referred to Tim as the canary in the coal mine on the issue of human trafficking, sounding the alarm before anyone was aware of the issue.  Setting up sting operations with the FBI under the Department of Justice to place back page ads that promoted underage girls for sale for sex highlighted that this was a disturbing trend emerging across the state.  On one of the first stings in Williston, ND four men showed up at a hotel room intending to purchase sex with a 14 year old girl. Recently, a Colorado man was sentenced for trying to purchase sex with an 8 year old girl.  As Tim said repeatedly during his speech, “There is no crime more horrifying than sex trafficking.”

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My hope is that this conference, and others like it, will shed more light on the issues around gender violence, and human trafficking in particular, in North Dakota, and the people that are working on the ground to find solutions.  First we have to use our voice, then we can find solutions.

 

 

Hometown Book Signings

Its been a crazy two months of book signings since my memoir released with St. Martin’s Press in September.  Huge thanks to everyone that came out in New York, Portland, across Colorado, Moab, Chicago!  Your support has been phenomenal!  As the year comes to an end I see the final tour dates finalized with a 3 city stopover in North Dakota.  Going ‘home’ to the state I grew up in to talk about my memoir is fraught with mixed emotions.  Excitement to see family and old friends who have known me the longest, and apprehensive as I have written an incredibly personal book that details the journey I have had since leaving Bismarck.  The journey of an activist, and adventurer, and of a survivor of gender violence to a community that in some ways knows me best and yet doesn’t know me at all is going to be an experience all in itself!  Regardless, I’m looking forward to it and hope that my home state will come out into the snowy nights to support my book tour and my work fighting for women’s rights and against gender violence.  See you there!

Grand Forks Public Library, December 15

Fargo Public Library, December 16

Bismarck Public Library, December 17

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