Performance of ‘Litany for Survival’ at the rally for “Creating a World without Sexual Violence: A National Day of Truthtelling” held in Durham, NC on Saturday, April 28th.
article from Workers World:
Day of Truthtelling demands: ‘End rape culture’
Published May 3, 2007 1:28 AM
An important march and rally took place here April 28 against sexual violence and assault. The protest was called Creating a World Without Sexual Violence—National Day of Truthtelling (DOT), and it deserved national and international attention.
WW photos: Monica Moorehead
The organizing DOT coalition was made up of Black Workers For Justice (BWFJ), Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Independent Voices, Men Against Rape Culture (MARC), North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA), Raleigh Fight Imperialism—Stand Together (FIST), Spirit House, Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and UBUNTU. Fifty other organizations endorsed the event.
Those who came out on this beautiful sunny day were mainly young women of all nationalities—African-American, Latina, East Asian, South Asian, Arab and white—along with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and gender variance communities, as well as male supporters. Despite the diverse social, political and cultural backgrounds, the protesters, numbering in the hundreds, spoke on this day in one voice with the resounding demand to “End rape culture.”
The vast majority of those who came out were either survivors of sexual assault themselves or knew someone who was. The main idea of the protest was to break the silence on the issue of sexual violence and help give a voice and sense of empowerment to the survivors.
In North Carolina from 2005-2006, local rape crisis centers received almost 26,000 calls and came to the assistance of over 8,700 people who were sexually assaulted. It is estimated that millions of incidences of rape and sexual assault go unreported around the country.
One of the main highlights of the more than two-mile march was a stop in front of 610 Buchanan St. This house, located on the campus of Duke University, was the place where a young Black single mother, college student and exotic dancer reported to authorities that she was sexually assaulted by three white Duke lacrosse players at a fraternity party back in March 2006. The district attorney recently dropped the charges against the players before a trial could allow her to give her account of what happened.
Alexis Gumbs, a Black graduate student at Duke, read a moving open letter to the crowd in front of the Buchanan house. Called “Wishful Thinking,” the letter focused on what it means to be a survivor of sexual assault. Many in the crowd were moved to cry and hug each other as she read the letter.
The main rally was held on the steps of the Durham County Courthouse. Speakers there included Serena Sebring, UBUNTU; Monika Johnson Hostler, NCCASA; Paulina Hernández, SONG; Tyneisha Bowens and Laura Bickford, Raleigh FIST; Shafeah M’Bali, Women’s Commission of BWFJ, and Phoenix Brangman, Dasan Ahanu and Bryan Proffit of MARC. A number of the speakers linked the issue of sexual violence to the struggle for immigrant rights and against racism, homophobia, capitalism, militarism and imperialism.
The march ended up in the Black community at the W.D. Recreation Center, where workshops, film showings and cultural performances were held. A June 9 town hall meeting will be held on “What will it take to end sexual violence in our communities?” E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-870-8881 for more information.
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