Shailene Woodley on her arrest at Standing Rock: they stripped searched me


In October of last year, before we had any inkling of the horrific turn our country would take, Shailene Woodley was arrested at Standing Rock, North Dakota for protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Just watching her Facebook Live video made it clear that a) she was arrested for being famous in that she wasn’t doing anything other than broadcasting online after a protest and b) the police were obnoxiously heavily militarized. The cops there had armored trucks for God’s sake, there was a helicopter flying overhead and we later heard that they used freezing cold water in powerful hoses against the peaceful protesters trying to protect indigenous land, breaking a woman’s arm. They also used rubber bullets, often aimed at people’s heads, they used tear gas and they took measures to both block internet access and set up dummy cell service to monitor communication.

Compare this response or the response in Flint or to the one in Charlottesville, where Nazis openly carrying guns and beating up black people were met with shrugs. This is our country now, so I suppose it’s not surprising to hear that Shailene, who was just singing songs and occupying land, was stripped search at the jail after her arrest. It must have been a horrible violation and I can’t imagine how she felt. She told this story in a cover interview with Marie Claire UK.

On her activism
There’s nothing worth fighting for more than each other. The planet is going to be fine. It’s humans who aren’t going to be OK. We’re broken. That’s why the world is where it is. The way you heal is with love and empathy and compassion. Take politics out of it. Vote with your money.

None of us are perfect. I use more plastic than I need to. I’ll buy products from corporations that I don’t agree with. To me, the biggest shift we can make is the mindfulness around these things. That’s the catalyst for change. We must wake up every morning and ask ourselves, ‘How can I do more? How am I willing to shift my lifestyle to actually create the change I complain about?’ Now, all of a sudden you’re empowered, you’re passionate, you have a fuel beneath your feet to move forward in a way that’s conducive not only for your own personal life but also for the world as well.

On her arrest at Standing Rock
The only time in my life that I saw a tank like that was on set in Atlanta. [At the jail] I was strip-searched. Like get naked, turn over, spread your butt cheeks, bend over. They were looking for drugs in my ass. When you’re in a jail cell and then shut that door. you realize no one can save you. If there’s a fire and they decide not to open the door, you’ll die. You are a caged animal.

She reached a plea deal in her Standing Rock arrest
I’m on a year’s probation. I’ve gotta watch my ass.

[From some quotes via US Weekly]

Shailene doesn’t always get it right when describing her stance on feminism especially. She never said she would vote for Hillary after campaigning for Bernie. However she’s never reached Sarandon status, she means well and she absolutely works hard for her causes. Shailene’s treatment brings it home that the US government and US police forces protect corporations above people and especially people of color. (The vast majority of corporations don’t even pay US taxes, or if they do it’s much less of a percentage of their massive earnings than middle income Americans pay.) When horribly racist groups get mad at the fact that other groups have finally earned some basic rights that’s ok though, because they just want to maintain the old status quo, the one where the white people run everything, where no one questions corporate authority and everyone else has to get in line.

Keep fighting the good fight Shailene and everyone. There are more of us than them, no matter how loud and terrible they are now.


#boston, thank you.

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27 Responses to “Shailene Woodley on her arrest at Standing Rock: they stripped searched me”

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  1. Franny Days says:

    Is it normal to put someone in a jumpsuit and strip search them for peaceful protest? That seems insane.

    • Kitten says:

      It’s normal in Trump America, yes.

      • anon1 says:

        No , kitten. Sadly, it’s been normal in the US for a while now, including under obama and bush and clinton. Look at what they did under clinton to that poor cuban kid. You are understating the problem by blaming it only on Trump and we need to hold everyone in power accountable for the falling respect for individual rights.

      • Shirleygail says:

        Trump wasn’t president at the time….

      • Kitten says:

        Eh whatever. Throwaway comment not to be taken so seriously but ok, point taken.

    • M. says:

      I think it’s standard for anybody arrested and put in jail…unfortunately

      • V4Real says:

        Not really. I know plenty of people who have been arrested and thrown in jail. They are patted down but never stripped search, and this is in NY.

        Even if you watch those shows of people getting arrested for a night or two, they are patted down but not stripped search. They just wanted to humiliate her. She should have said no and asked for her lawyer first.

      • Megan says:

        I’ve been arrested at protests. Police typically round up people in groups and issue citations. Being fully processed like that is unusual.

      • magnoliarose says:

        But not strip searched. It has never happened to me or anyone else I know. They got away with it because Standing Rock wasn’t covered like it should have been. First Nations sacred ground and they didn’t care.

    • serena says:

      That’s just insane..

  2. Megan says:

    The police over reach at Standing Rock really illustrates just how powerful oil and gas companies are in America. Kudos to everyone who is standing up to that power.

    • Dj says:

      Agreed @Megan. It was because Big Oil was being protected. That is who is “in charge” of our government…Big Corporations & Koch Bros.

  3. Cbould says:

    “When horribly racist groups get mad at the fact that other groups have finally earned some basic rights that’s ok though, because they just want to maintain the old status quo, the one where the white people run everything, where no one questions corporate authority and everyone else has to get in line.”


    In the tune of Childish Gambino, ‘stay woke’.

  4. Kitten says:

    Y’all know I like to poke fun at Shailene but I have a couple friends who went down to Standing Rock to protest and I have nothing but respect for anyone who camped out there for as long as they could. The conditions got pretty terrible in terms of weather and general upkeep of the camps. It was also a very frightening situation for many who were subject to aggressive law enforcement.

    Good for her.

    • Rey says:

      I am not American so I don’t know about these protests but what I know is that I love this woman. She actually takes action for her convictions and beliefs rather than just paying lip service like most celebrities do. I am not going to shame her for not being able to describe feminism perfectly. I find that we do that a lot to each other. I believe her heart is in the right place. Environmental issues are what interest her the most and that is totally fine.

  5. Eveil says:

    I’m proud of Shailene. She follows through and thanks to her actions, Standing Rock gained more mainstream attention. Does it really matter if she fumbles with feminism? She’s certainly proven her worth as a supporter of both the environment and Native American rights.

    Am I surprised that these corporations and America care nothing for Native Americans? Not at all. I’m pretty sure that if they could get away with further genocide, they would. Any time POC protest against injustice, they’re attacked and treated as criminals even if it’s a peaceful protest. Making America great again, amirite?

  6. nicegirl says:

    I really like that she stood with Standing Rock – GO SHAILENE!!

  7. slowsnow says:

    This just proves that sometimes we’re just here cherry-picking words and getting angry behind the computer simply because people are growing, learning and sometimes not being very good with words.
    This woman started out as a kid, grew up in front of us and all of her soul-searching seems to have been about being a better human. Was she ridiculous sometimes? Yes, as a lot of youngesters out there. But if she had doubts about feminism because (if memory serves right, it wasn’t inclusive or whatever) it means she thought a great deal about it before being asked (unlike a lot of celebs).
    I admire her a great deal and wish other priviledged celebs and non-celebs grew up in the same way.

    • Carol says:

      yep. At first she came of f as just an airhead but shes has grown a lot and clearly cares.

    • magnoliarose says:

      It usually starts out with one cause and the things learned is shocking and then another. No one is born knowing everything, and you can’t know what you have never been shown. There are a lot of keyboard warriors but when someone puts their money where their mouth is they deserve to be commended. There is no right way to grow or a guidebook you just do once you take an active role. It can happen at any age. Shailene risked her dignity and freedom for something she believes in, and it is admirable.
      A man I know just left the Republican party and his family had been Republican even before Lincoln. He didn’t vote for Trump he was a Northeastern moderate old school type.He realized that he had to let go of family tradition and go with what he knew was right. He’s 60ish. The clue should have been he hadn’t voted for one in ages, but it had been ingrained in him from birth.
      He doesn’t need to be lectured but encouraged to get involved.

  8. Pandy says:

    I think Shailene is great. I’d rather read about her sunning her vagina in the woods than buy what GOOP is shilling. While I don’t always agree with someone’s politics, ie Sarandon, I tip my hat to anyone willing to put themselves out there to affect change. POSITIVE change, not nazi/klan BS.

  9. She’s white and rich, yet you still bring up white people running everything? If white people were so privileged she wouldn’t have been arrested or if she would have been slapped on the hand and released. Please quit bringing race up every single article. Do you realize the media is the true source of alleged “race wars”? No one screams racism until they read it on the news. This if anything shows me how intolerant of liberals conservatives are. Liberals don’t have a color or gender, but since they believe in being progressive and human rights, they are met with hatred and discrimination from the conservatives. If anything you should preach this in your articles, not race. We need to teach people to respect the ideaologies of others and quit attacking people because they disagree. I’m just fed up with race being a factor every single article especially when this article has absolutely nothing to do with race.

  10. CharlieBouquet says:

    Any person who gets a cavity search for engaging in civil and social protest is a hero in my book. The people applying said cavity search are just another cog in the degradation of justice and reaffirming the convo of abuse of power in incarceration .

  11. Elisa the I. says:

    she walks the talk so I have big respect for her.
    Also, she looks amazing on that cover!

  12. trh says:

    Shailene Woodley is legit.