Recently, I attended my first Slutwalk here in the Newcastle City Centre. I had never been to any sort of demonstration like that before. I was unsure at first, like a baby deer trying to find its feet. The beginning was a bit wobbly, but once the walk started and the chanting began, it was magic.

We moved through the streets together, singing in unison, one solid mass of optimism and rage and passion. We sang about the power of women [including Trans and non binary humans] and the desire to end rape and sexual violence. We took up space and turned heads and pissed people off and made lots of noise.

I’m not used to that. I’m used to fear, crossing my legs, standing on the metro because I never know who will sit next to me. I’m used to keys between my fingers and learning how to shoot a gun, just in case, and blame, ownership, and questioning. This was a whole new world: a tiny universe of amazing women working together to create positive change.

At the end of the walk, we all congregated and shared a megaphone, reading poetry and telling stories about our own histories and experiences and what consent really means and the institutionalization that occurs by simply existing in a world run by the patriarchy. I didn’t speak, I listened, and yet I was still heard. We all spoke the same language, and we spoke for each other.

In the days after, I have continued the chants in my head. I have continued the discussion with my friends and my husband and anyone who will listen. I still have hope. A few dozen of us came together, picking up stragglers as we went, drawing curious glances and starting conversations. We made change. We made ripples that will continue to spread.

The world seems ugly, especially these days. But there is still beauty to be found. Seek it out. Be it. Spread it. To quote Amanda Palmer: we are the media.

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