SF Walk Against Rape

POOR correspondent - Posted on 18 June 2010

Marlon Crump/PNN
Thursday, May 14, 2009;

"It means breaking out of the silence of crying alone!"

As I awoke, I quickly rubbed the sleep from my eyes, cobwebs from my head, and weariness from my body. I then checked the time on my cell phone:

It was 10:35 a.m.

I hastily ironed my clothes, and then I dashed for the nearest shower down the hall. After I determined that I was fairly cleaned and clothed, I grabbed my notebook and pen. I then headed towards 16th/Mission St, just four blocks away from my home at the AllStar Hotel. Upon opening the gate, I was quickly confronted by a chilly wind cold front that caused water to leak from my eyes, slightly affecting my frequent fast walking pace.

I didn't care. Today, I was running very late to walk a very important march that started at 10:00 a.m. Catching the bus or even the subway today would've further delayed me. Fortunately, a cab strolled in my direction. As it began to race the red light, I hailed for it to stop on the corner of the 16th/Mission.

"Take me to Justin Herman Plaza, please!"

Today was Saturday April 25th, 2009. This particular walk-then-rally towards resistance began to emerge on certain streets, here in San Francisco, CA. Aside from the many marches that occur here S.F, this was a soulfully-sensitive one. For me, it was spiritually vital that I attended this march to re-port and su-pport for the victims, survivors/thrivers.

For me and every around me in the universe, it was spiritually-incumbent that I walked this very walk towards my own path of healing.................... speaking as a two-time victim, survivor/thriver, myself.

(From a severe psychological perspective.)

Walking this walk meant not even having to have my own nightmares spare me on occasion. Regardless of race, creed, religion, poverty, privilege, etc, etc, we are all races and faces from many places to combat a destructive foe, at fast paces. We were all walks of life here for one mission, one goal, for one thing in mind:

Walk Against Rape!

Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful on finding the marchers. Despite my instructions for the cab driver to head towards Embarcadero St, and even instructing him to backtrack, by going over a block to Mission St, I couldn't locate the march. I sadly asked the cab driver to take me to Mission Dolores Park, which was going to be the destination for the marchers.

This was where a festival of healing in a sacred, solidarity sanctuary circle for all survivors, sympathizers, supporters and even for the pedestrians that would possibly participate.

After paying the fare, I headed towards the park, carrying my notebook in hand, passing the slightly increasing chilly winds, and pedestrians to find the organizers of today's event. I didn't have to walk very far in the park because they were setting up their stations inside the entrance of the park.

It wouldn't have mattered to me. I would've walked around the entire park if I had to, in spite of the gigantic perimeter of this park. This event was that important to me.

RAPE is one of the ugliest subjects of all time. Its definition often explains when someone forces another to have a sexual encounter with them, against their will. The victim is usually beaten, threatened, and even killed if they don't submit to their attacker's wishes.

Whether it occurs at home, schools, rest care facilities, foster care homes for children, hospitals, jails, places of poverty, places of privilege or even in public, the psychological trauma of the grotesque images of their attacker shamefully defiling their body forever torments the minds of the victims.

Such horrors can internally affect a human being's ability to function in their life. Even worse, a sexual assault victim can unwillingly become a rapist themselves if there is no intervention of effective counseling, treatment, or even support.

The most vulnerable victims are typically women and children. When you turn on your T.V, radio, read the newspaper, or even an internet online publication you almost always hear about such cases of women and children violated, nationwide and worldwide.

"Everyday, one in three women are raped all around the world," were the words of a woman on a late night television ad a long time ago. I doubt if that statistic has decreased since then. The children are the most seriously vulnerable, especially if there are no adults there to protect them.

Suffice to say, men can be victims too, although men are often known to be the most aggressive ones, of such an inhumane crime. No gender is immune from sexual assault, regardless of the gender of their attacker.

"Raising awareness of rape is vital to men and women," said a woman to me, as I asked her what today's event meant for her. She was helping her fellow band members set up instruments on a large stage. She was the drummer for "Pamela Parker" a rock music band who combines rock, funk, and soul with operatic interludes.

After I spoke briefly to the band leader herself, Pamela Parker, I walked around to speak to the supporters that would be participating in today's festivities. The park space for today's festival was circled with booths, and tables of many organizations that were in support for today's event.

Among them were San Francisco City College: Project Survive, Larkin Street Youth Services, Woman Inc, La Casa De Las Madres, Radical Women, Asian Women's Shelter, Hope and Beyond, S.F Women's Film Festival, Farm Fresh to You, Impact Bay Area, Free Battered Women, About Face, and numerous others.

I sat in a chair set up by one of the organizers and drank a cup of coffee. I ignored the icy nipping winds that continued to hit my face and the water that continued to leak from my eyes from those winds as I waited the arrival of the marching survivors/thrivers.

Though I didn't yet feel it quite yet, the spirits of all rape survivors across the world, the seen, unseen, heard, unheard, blind, deaf, alive and even the dead began to sanction the spiritual sanctuary of this vast portion of the park, as it awaited the arrival of the survivors and thrivers of rape.

The spirit of all the living survivors/thrivers on this planet, my very own mother, Victoria Crump, and the survivors/thrivers that were above in the sky with Almighty God himself, my grandmother, Elizabeth Crump, and the late great "Mama" Dee Gray (co-founder of POOR Magazine/POOR News Network) blessed the space as an ethereal inspiration of triumph over tragedy by blanketing the space with peace and love towards healing from...................high above.

After nearly a half hour of waiting, I heard the marchers approach:

"Walk Against Rape!"
"Walk Against Rape!"
"Walk Against Rape!"

I jumped from my seat to meet them. They appeared in what seemed to be the thousands. Men, women, children, a truck that provided entertainment of young drummers, and the San Francisco Police Department providing traffic/crowd control for the march, were moving rapidly in my direction.

"Hey Hey!"

"Ho Ho!"

"Rape has got to go!"

I smiled and kindly stepped aside to allow the stampeding marchers to take refuge from a long march as they descended into the park to unleash their demons by bringing forth self-solidarity, and unity for healing a traumatized community. As they began to conclude their journey of resistance, a truck carrying a youth group called LOCO BLOCO vitalized the survivors/thrivers with art of drumbeating.

A couple of youngsters from the Boy's and Girls Club also appeared, walking with the means of "stilts."

"Congratulations, you guys just walked three miles!" boomed a speaker's voice to the massive crowd that had now engulfed a vast portion of the entrance to the park. Those words by the speaker were met by our joyous cheers, yells, and clapping.

After moments of everyone interacting and communicating with one another, we all sat down to watch a performance by "Imani's Dream." I was joined by Evelyn Garcia of SFWAR (San Francisco Women Against Rape) as we began to watch the performance. Imani's Dream is a youth performance group that combines their styles of dancing with ballet, jazz, African and street dances. They're known to create their own world of hip hop dance culture within the world around them.

"When I dance, I feel like I am leaning on two shoulders instead of one" were the lyrics recorded of a one young man in one of their songs. Everyone and myself were in awe of amazement with Imani's Dream's unique abilities to blend their bodies with each song they performed.

Songs by Kirk Franklin, Erykah Badu, and the late great legendary rapper, Tupac Shakur spiced the flavor in their body movement flow.

The rape of people's cultures, rape of communities of color at the hands of governmental oppression, rape of indigenous people's lands at the hands of governmental tyranny, rape of the oblivious when they're stalked, rape of a person's rights to privacy when they're being watched, rape of people when they're wiretapped on their phone conversations, rape of a person's very own soul, and last (surely not least) the rape of people in poverty, is the Achilles Heel for my family of POOR Magazine/POOR News Network to do the work that we ultimately do.

We need to make some Changes
We need to change the way we eat, the way we live and the way we treat each other
See, the old way wasn't workin, so its on us to do what we gotta do to survive
Still I see no Changes, can't a brother a little peace
There's war on the streets and the war on the Middle East
Instead of a war on poverty
They got a war on drugs so the police can bother me
I ain't never did no crime I ain't have to do
But now I'm back on the track givin' it back to you................................

(Excerpt from the lyrics of Tupac Shakur's "That's just the way it is!")

"They are passing a law in Afghanistan that will allow husbands to rape their own wives," Nayla Raad, a volunteer of SFWAR informed to the crowd. A wave whispering of outrage regarding this hideous decree struck absolute disgust in our hearts.

Unfortunately for those women in Afghanistan, this is not an uncommon parallel of perverse practices by men towards women in foreign countries. In Haiti, women are raped daily on its very streets by its own police. For generations, many women have been subjected into sexual slavery, even by their own spouses.

Rape is not only about the attacker forcefully fulfilling their sexual desires at the expense of their victims, but it is also about their attempts towards dominance and sheer control.

"I want to thank everyone here for attending this rally," I said to everyone. "I too, am a rape survivor, twice in my life from a psychological perspective. I am very glad to be here. You all deserve to pat yourselves on the back, for walking all the way from Justin Herman Plaza to be here at Dolores Park! That, in of itself, is very revolutionary towards healing from internal pain and trauma."

I also mentioned to the many attendees that we are raped every single day of our lives, and most of us don't even know it. Rape can come in vast variations towards domination. Physically, mentally, socially, politically, and economically; many of us Walk Against Rape are raped every single day of our lives, consciously and subconsciously.

I see life from the outside.
You see life from your side.
And our souls meet somewhere in the middle of the fire.
I know love and I feel it.
You know love when you see it.
And our hearts meet somewhere in the middle of our eyes.
Soul Stretch, sooouuuullll brother...........

(Excerpt from the lyrics of "Soul Stretch" by Pamela Parker.

I sat on the park's grass with both of my legs cradled as I continued to enjoy the performances by numerous artists on stage. In addition, I heard many testimonies by survivors/thrivers regarding the ugliness of their experiences.

The arctic-like air continued to rip through the atmosphere as we all sat in soulful of solidarity. Suddenly, a poet performer's poetry exploded into the crowd unlike I've ever seen to date.

Staceyann Chin, a highly recognized poet, political activist, and the author of "The Other side of Paradise" literally took the attention of all of us, like an electrical thunderstorm. Miss Chin's performance of world-moving words and humor, contained enough mass and volcano velocity to potentially-penetrate Mt. Everest. Her words were loud enough to give sound to the hearing-impaired.

Nearly every single line of Miss Chin's poetry that flew from the her lips, seemed like an unleash of every single demon that tormented her since childhood. The flap of her arms, were as if she was Superman or Batman flashing a cape behind her in the wind, hovering over a villain.

The spirit of her performance captivated a delightfully-stunned audience, as she performed:

I am undressing in your vestibules
without your robes
you can no longer probe
the fleshy parts of my assumed purity
Look at me, Father
look at the veins pulsing solid at my neck
And tell me
Am I not beautiful?

(Excerpt from Staceyann Chin’s poem "The Prodigal.")

My final thoughts to myself as the festival drew to a close were, "Today's event was a monumental one for every single rape survivor/thriver, victim, dead or alive. Though we've all walked this walk since this horrible experience occurred in our lives, we will continue this war to Walk Against Rape."

San Francisco Women Against Rape provides free peer counseling, support groups, and advocacy to survivors of sexual assault and their loved ones. Volunteers are available 24 hours a day to provide crisis line support and respond to requests for medical advocacy. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted and you need support, please call (415) 647-RAPE.

SFWAR also provides presentations and technical support to schools, businesses and community organizations on how to support survivors, sexual assault prevention, sexual harassment, healthy dating for youth, self-defense and other related topics.

They provide 80 hours of training to hotline, peer counseling and medical advocate volunteers three times a year. SFWAR is currently accepting applications for their fall training. Women of color, bilingual/bi-cultural, youth, transgender, immigrant, elderly, queer, working class and differently-abled individuals are encouraged to apply. Stipends available for services provided in languages other than English. For more information, please call the business line at (415) 861-2024 or visit www.sfwar.org.

African proverb: "The ax forgets...........the tree remembers."

Maya Angelou, Even The Stars Look Lonesome., 1997.


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