Pussy Grabs Back Protests – NYC and Denver



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.





5 Boro Bike Tour – NYC on Two Wheels


5 boroughs, 40 miles, 32,000 cyclists, 5 bridges, 1 ferry, 2 gears, and zero cars.

When Bike New York’s, Sam Polcer, heard I was going to be in town to speak at the Explorer’s Club, he asked, “Would you be interested in riding in the 5 Boro Bike Tour?”

I am not usually a roadie, I don’t ride bike tours, in fact the most I ride my road bike is in Afghanistan when I’m with the Afghan National Cycling Team.  Back in the US, I ride dirt.  But then Sam said the magic words, “40 miles through NYC, and zero cars”.   Bingo.

I love urban cycling, its like a burst of adrenaline in a daily commute in new cities.  Bike shares like Citi Bike, B Cycle, and Velib, now allow micro adventuring at its best.  Cities that I know like the back of my hand on two feet, like Paris and NYC, are suddenly foreign to me on two wheels.  I have to recalibrate my inner compass to take into consideration a whole new map that includes; bike lanes, one way streets, taxi cabs, and a city full of clueless pedestrians.

The only obstacle I could see to taking part was no bike.  So I visited my friends at RedBeard Bikes, a fabulous spot in Brooklyn that had hosted me for one of my first book signings last fall and thanks to their wonderful Brompton rep, I had myself a bike!  40 miles on a Brompton coming up.



Thanks to my press pass, I could stop and take photos, and I lined up at the front of 32,000 cyclists stretching 10 city blocks behind us.  Then I looked over at my friend and as if he read my mind he said, “We are about to get run over on these Bromptons”


But these were people out to enjoy the empty streets on two wheels, people who were not hard core cyclists in the way I knew roadies to be in CO.  Black socks and tennis shoes, velour track suits, crooked helmets, and much much more.  This was about biking on streets usually filled to breaking point with cars, not about setting a strava record in your skin suit.

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Throughout the ride I heard people talking about the final bridge, the Verrazano Bridge, which is the longest bridge in the United States, linking Brooklyn to Staten Island.   “The climb is really hard, pace yourself”, “If you have to walk, just stay to the side and let the bikers pass you” was all around me in the final miles leading up to the bridge.  I looked down at my ridiculously small wheels and two gears, and wondered if it would be actually be a problem. It was soon clear that a long incline on a bridge linking two islands at sea level was not much of a match for a girl who mountain bikes at 9,600 feet.  Soon I was rolling past roadies with a full set of gears, joking, “You just got passed by a Brompton!”



There was still a ferry ride back to Manhattan to complete the circuit,  but I still had one more bridge to ride before I was done… Brooklyn Bridge into DUMBO where RedBeard Bikes resides to return the Bromptons and hi five their incredible owners, Ilya and Kasia, who always make me feel like I’m home.


It was a joy to experience NYC with 32,000 other bikers that were psyched to ride their bikes through the empty streets of one of the greatest cities in the world.  Huge thanks to Bike New York for creating an incredible event year after year, and for allowing me to be part of it!!  Hurrah bikes!



Childhood Daydreams – Speaking in NYC and DC

Next week I have the honor of speaking at two institutions that represent so much of my childhood daydreams and which sparked my lifetime of travel and exploration.  National Geographic Headquarters and the Explorer’s Club.


I remember growing up with backdated issues of the ubiquitous yellow framed magazine on the bookshelf.  Like everyone I knew, I spent hours paging through the photographs of far off places and remote cultures that was in stark contrast to the landscape of my life in North Dakota.  As I got older I recognized National Geographic and the Explorer’s Club as institutions that encouraged adventure, exploration, and cultural exchanges as a way to connect us to our common humanity while searching out answers to the big questions.

It is such an honor to be welcomed into these two institutions to speak about my own experiences and adventures that sparked so much inside of me.  I spent my entire 20’s living overseas, and most of my 30’s working in Afghanistan and continuing to scratch the itches of curiosity and travel.

Both events are open to the public so please spread the word and order your tickets to join me for an evening of talking about Afghanistan, activism, mountain biking, and adventure.  Book signings of my memoir Mountain to Mountain and Streets of Afghanistan at both events:

May 4 in New York City at The Explorer’s Club

May 5th in Washington DC at National Geographic HQ



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