My speech at the second SlutWalk Singapore held at Hong Lim Park on Saturday 15 Dec 2012.
Two days ago, I went dancing with two of my friends at Clarke Quay. Now there are people who go dancing for different reasons: some of them to make new friends, some of them, they’re just looking for hook-up. I go dancing because I like to dance. My friends tell me I’m a pretty good dancer. I’m going to show you some of my moves. Here are some of my moves. So this is just Basic Step then you can step. And then you can move your shoulders and your hips.
I have three precautions when I go dancing. The first one, go with male friends if possible. I had a male friend with me that night. The second one usually I try to dance in a corner if I can so I have my back covered. And the third, never, ever, ever make eye contact with anyone.
It was an unusually busy night that night so we had to move a few times because it was just very crowded. We didn’t have a corner, so what happened was we ended up in the middle of the dance floor directly in front of the stage. Suddenly, there was a guy. He grabs me by the shoulder. I turn around and I tell him, well I actually yell at him because of the music. So I yelled at him and said, “Don’t touch me!” Instead of moving away or even apologizing, he moves even closer to me and this time ,he’s grabbing me by my waist. So I screamed – Don’t touch me– really, really loudly. This is where my male friend steps in and he’s trying to create a barrier between me and this guy and then his friend is grabbing him. Then, I leaned over and I manage to slap him. He looked surprised and then angry. Our friends are holding on to us.
What happens next is my male friend tries to push me aside away from him. Then basically everyone just starts dancing and everything goes back to usual. My friends told me I didn’t look it but actually I was really shaken inside. I may not have been hurt physically but emotionally, I felt violated. That night, I was too wound up to sleep. It was 3:30, I couldn’t sleep. So what I did was I do what most people do when they can’t sleep – they go on Facebook. So I go on Facebook and I recall this incident. Then I got a lot of responses from my friends.
Some of them said, “Well done, pumpkin.” Another one, “Yeah, slap the man and make a scene. No guy will ever dare to hit a lady back.” Still another person said, “It’s still a long way to go but it’s one step forward or one slap forward and I’m sure you unlocked good karma.” Another said, “It seems like the scum deserved to be slapped so that more women show that it’s not okay, the less men will dare to do things like that.”
But the whole point of it was I was just there to have fun. I wasn’t there to make a statement. I wasn’t prepared to slap anyone. I wasn’t there emotionally ready to stand up for women. I managed to slap this guy back because it has happened so many times to me and I was prepared. And I knew I was safe because my friend was there.
When you dress up nicely and you dance in a sexy way, people call you names. They call you slut. As a sexologist, I’m called a slut. People look at me like I’m a slut. I may not look like one. I may not behave like one, but just because I talk about sex all the time, that makes me a slut. So when SlutWalk came to Singapore, I was game. I didn’t care what I was called. It could’ve been called WhoreWalk or whatever. I will have been game because I think it’s time that we move beyond labels.
It’s not about what you call people and what you put on to other people but it’s more about who they are inside. This is why I support SlutWalk from the beginning. It’s not okay to touch someone without consent. That’s the bottom line. It does not matter whether you’re at the night club. It does not matter that you’re dressed sexily. It doesn’t matter if you look beautiful. It hurts at the end of the day for a woman to feel that her body is not her own and this is something that we women have to put up with and be afraid of everyday.
I wish we lived in a society where we didn’t have to think about what we wear, how we look, how we’re behaving every step of the day. This is a burden that women carry all the time. While you can have very enlightened, kind and empowered men coming and saying, “Oh yes, I understand your issues.” They have no idea how that really feels like because they’re not walking in our shoes. I wish that we live in a different world but we don’t and SlutWalk is one of the steps we are taking to reclaim what is right. We’re just making a stand and hopefully some day more women will feel safer to go dancing. So let’s rock on.
For more about SlutWalk Singapore, visit www.SlutWalkSg.com
For more about Eros Coaching, visit www.ErosCoaching.com