Here is one of my favourite placards from slutwalk, the lady whose name I didn’t find out, told me it is a drawing by an old girlfriend who drew a card for her. She scanned it in and blew it up!
On the slut walk there were girls in bras and police outfits, lingerie and fishnets. There have been a lot of reviews of the slut walks, the Sunday times article was extremely crushing, suggesting that the slut walk was a cry of distress which had little to do with sexual attacks, and more to do with a generational cry for help. I went on the slut walk because I felt solidarity with the message that rape victims should not be blamed, but I am left with mixed feelings about what the slut walk meant to me, and what it means to other people.
As such I thought I would post my short skirt story, which I partly wrote when I was thinking about blogging on one of the holler back websites, where women have a chance to express anger about street harassment. I find it hard to directly approach this subject, so I have indirectly approached it through my skirt.
From the age of 14 to 18 my legs spent their time in tights. Through winter, summer, autumn, my skirt was short.
I would walk to school, one comment I remember was, ‘where’d you get that belt from?’ from some random guy in a car. Because I went to an all girls sixth form they were quite posh, and my tutor told me my skirt length was disgraceful, how rude. The recommended skirt length at that school was knee length, which I tried out for a week but it just felt unnatural.
I asked one of the girls at school if she felt my skirt was too short, her response was, ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’, therefore I felt the skirt had some approval. One time a boy attacked my skirt, as he ran past me he slid his hand up between my legs. I was very upset my skirt had been attacked, but I did not contemplate getting a longer skirt. I spent a lot of time finding the skirt of the right length, which was thigh length.
My first short skirt was black with pleats in the front, my second navy blue when I changed schools. The black was so over worn the hem at the back curled up slightly, adding to its general shortness.
When I was 17 I was attacked in the local park, and I wrote this poem some years later about the incident:
Someone less Tall
Cold weather, however
I wore short skirts every day to school
Liked the freedom of swinging my legs beneath them
The graze of the hem
Maybe the skirt was what he noticed first
Always took the same route home
Through the park, alone
That Tuesday, at twenty past five
He took advantage of the slight seclusion
Of some trees near by
Tried to drag me to them
The absence of his face behind me
A voice and a pair of hands-
‘If you scream, I’ll kill you’
However, noticing the lack
Of a knife or even gun
I took the hint to throw my weight about
Before I sprinted away
I turned around, saw his face
He apologised so I swore
Left his thirty year old pale oval
With my swear words
Perhaps next time,
He’ll find someone less tall.