Reclaim The Night 2013 recap

Trigger warning as this piece references r*, sexual assault and victim blaming.

This year’s Reclaim The Night (RTN) was an inspiring night of rallying, marching and local talent. Last friday night, women-identifying people came together at Queen’s Park to hear speakers turn the tables on victim blaming with tips like “How Not To Rape – men, carry whistles to alert others you’re going to rape! And remember to stay in packs!”.

Hear Kara de Groot explain more about this year’s RTN on 4zzz.fm.

Despite the police weirdly making everyone hurry up through the march (apparently they only had a half an hour window to escort the march…), and a few randoms who decided to walk through the rally, the night was full of both celebration of being women who will not stand for violence in our society and respect and remembrance of those we have lost to sexual violence. We chanted “Blame the system, not the victim”, “Not the Church, Not the State, Let Women Decide Their Fate” and “No means no, it doesn’t mean maybe, don’t touch me I’m not your baby!” down the streets of the CBD to applause from onlookers and touchingly, male allies who welcomed us back to Queen’s Park.  Speakers included those from the RTN Collective, Senator Claire Moore and the UQWC’s own Madeline Price, who shared the following evocative beat poem:

I should not fear
four little words I repeat
backed by blasting dubstep beat
that echoes from the club
that I just left

I should not fear
walking our shared streets
the police on the beat
there to protect me
from your drunken hands
and broken minds

I should not fear
our public places
our private spaces
our university campuses
our schools
our homes
and the willingness of the public
to attribute blame

I should not fear
persecution for walking at night
objectification if my skirts too tight
this slut-shaming
victim-blaming
women-hating
society
that I was born into

I should not fear
that I am seen as a piece of meat
rather than the person within.

A big shout out goes to the Brisbane RTN Collective, who made this year’s rally and march a smash success. The t-shirts and badges made were amazingly designed and the night was well organised.

The UQ Women’s Collective led the march – a spontaneous decision made because we had the largest banner! Below are a few of my photos of the night plus a photo of the t-shirts from the RTN Collective facebook page (please don’t use these pictures without my permission or credit – email uqwnews@gmail.com first.

If you’d like to get involved with next year’s Brisbane Reclaim The Night, you can find out more info here.

~ Emma Di Bernardo

Thanks to Madeline Price and Kara de Groot for sharing their work for this post.

A Lighthearted Look At Sex Myths And Women

Myth #1: “Girls? No, girls don’t do that…”

“Yeah, I’ve been away for two weeks. She must be dying without sex.”

“Um, dude? She’d probably just have a go at herself.”

“Nah, chicks don’t do that.”

*footnote: adaptation of a conversation I overheard.

Excuse me, sir, but you’re a tad misinformed. Your misogynistic approach is really fucking wrong. Excuse me while I set the record straight, because mate, honestly? Women MASTURBATE.

Continue reading

The Price of Existence

This article will appear in the upcoming issue of Wom*news: Myths.

Even existing on the most basic level has a price tag. The bottom of Maslow’s pyramid. You need to pay for a roof over your head, food to eat, electricity, water, healthcare; all of those things we took for granted as kids, assumed that they were just a given. You pay through the nose to keep on living. It seems that the poorer you get, the more you pay to keep on living. We all know this, and accept it as the status quo – that living, existing on the most human level comes with a price. After all, that’s why you have a job.  Continue reading

Empire

Empire
by Anonymous

You’re made of stone
But stone can crumble
Under the pressure of a cold embrace

 And on your own
You thrive on struggle
But under the real lights you hide your face

 

So before you drift
Away from earth again
Savour a glance of your empire
And if it’s your last, dear
Oh please act surprised
And this time I’ll promise to avert my eyes

Like infamous sketches
You’re out on display
But canvas is breakable and lines can be erased

 

While they applaud your pose
As the Martyr princess
You fear becoming
Just another case

 So before you drift
Away from earth again
Savour a glance of your empire
And if it’s your last, dear
Oh please act surprised
And this time I’ll promise to avert my eyes

So before you drift
Away from earth again
Savour a glance of your empire
And if it’s your last, dear
I won’t be surprised
But if you ask nicely, I’ll avert my eyes

~ Anonymous

A Letter To

“A Letter To” by Joanna Horton

This poem will be featured in the upcoming Wom*news: Bodies issue, out next week.

You were not.
Little pea in a pod
Little bean; little usurper.
You were not. But you were mine.

This time it won’t be.
But still you’ve left
your mark; I see
your doubles, curled up
curled into their mothers.
I always turn my face away.
I know it all too well.

This letter is for you.
Call it crude; my weak attempt
to fill the space you’ve left.
You won’t let me forget.

This letter is for you.
I sign it: Mother

~ Joanna Horton

She Was Born

by Sarah Davis
You can find this poem in the current herstory issue of wom*news!

She was born from earth,
amongst the reeds and rushes.
The stifled cries of her beginning
and the perplexity of her worth.
She is made from mud and sticks,
and leaves, and the wind that pushes
its way around the being’s new birth
and sighs and speaks of what is to come.

She was born from fire,
the deep essence of her soul.
The painfulness of her identity burns
in the discovery of an unknown desire.
Yet the wind stirs up the flames,
and throws embers into the night,
and reignites all that will transpire,
for the tears she sheds are her undoing.

She was born from stone,
as the same wind that carries on,
and shares tales of what she is
and isn’t, and how little she has grown
in the eyes of the mighty,
in the eyes of the weak,
and in the eyes of her own,
as even stone can break to the ground.

She was born from air,
for a moment she is one with the wind,
flying blindly amongst sky,
a stormy cloud, a sheet of rain, swept elsewhere.
For a time she exists, anywhere.
For a time there is silence,
in that moment she is bare,
and there is completeness after all.

She returns to earth, she is dust,
all that she is, all that she was, she is no longer.
But she is more than mud and sticks and leaves,
She is less than wind, her being is the purest
She grows into the ground as resonant as stone,
Burning as hot as fire, as light as the air
She is the mother, her daughter, your child who is solaced
She is the creator, a creation, a flower – a woman.

~ Sarah Davis

Candle Girl + Mannequins [Poetry]

Candle Girl and Mannequins
Two poems by Charlie Lockhart

Candle Girl.

 Like melted wax,
sanity flows down
her ashen face.

In little time,
the flame has whittled
her features away.

She’s always crying,
and the wax that drips
distorts her once lovely figure.

The wick shortens
till nothing’s left; but
a mound of misshapen memories.

~

Mannequins.

Mannequins line the hall,
still and silent and pretty.
We are the same
We look the same
We do as we are told,

“Look ahead and keep in step,
stop and take a bow.”

A thousand single copies
are marching down the stairs.
Step by step
we carry on
in perfect unison,

“Look ahead and keep in step
stop and take a bow.”

We’re tiles that pave the future,
trampled and dirty and strong.
You told us ‘hush’
but soon we’re out
and then we’ll say to them,

“Look ahead and keep in step,
stop and take a bow.”

~ Charlie Lockhart