September 25, 2018: Bill Cosby is sentenced to three to ten years in a prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand.
September 27, 2018: Brett Kavanaugh appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee facing allegations of “sexual misconduct” from Christine Blasey Ford.
September 28, 2018: women of color, white women, transwomen, transmen, Muslim women, gay men, goth girls, white men, men of color, disabled people, students, activists, poets, dancers, mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, fathers, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, victims, survivors, people sick and tired of living in fear, shame, and silence all came together in Center City to say enough is enough.
There is no way to adequately describe the feeling I got when I saw the sprawling crowd of people buzzing with excitement at Thomas Paine Plaza. The day began with a series of speakers, describing their experiences with rape culture through poetry, statistics, and stories of survival. The result was an intersectional framework of prevention. Milan Nicole Sherry, a black trans woman activist, reminded us that trans women, and especially black trans women, “are disproportionately affected by the issue of rape culture.” The impact of her speech was especially poignant in light of the murder of Shante Tucker, a black trans woman killed earlier this month, and the ever-mounting cases of violence against trans sex workers. Additionally, Kempis “Ghani” Songster spoke on the rape culture within prisons, specifically the targeting of homosexual men, and the absolute necessity for more men to be at events like this. “Why aren’t more men here getting the message? Why aren’t more men here holding the sign saying I believe Dr. Ford? Men, we gotta start talking.”
By the time we started marching, I felt like we were actually marching towards something. There was a tangible goal in front of me, something achievable and worth climbing towards. I fell in love with the power of our chanting (“No means no!” “My body, my choice!” “Hey hey, ho ho, rape culture has got to go!”). I fell in love with the witty sayings on our posters. I fell in love with the bystanders waving their fist in support. I fell in love with a future without “locker room talk,” “boys being boys,” and the constant fear of unwanted sexual advances. For the first time in this last week of September, I felt like improvement was possible.
(Photo: Kennedy M. Crowder)