Last summer I was the target of months of violent, misogynistic abuse. The abuse was widely reported, although the worst tweets (most of the tweets), were never broadcast or printed, because the media deemed them too offensive. This left me in the rather unfortunate position of not only being driven to the edge of a nervous breakdown from the fear and strain of hundreds of tweets coming in every minute telling me I would be maimed, raped and killed, but also being targeted by people who thought I was being a delicate flower and couldn’t take a bit of off-colour banter, or “dissenting opinion”. Nevertheless, the media pressure was such, that twitter was reluctantly, eventually forced to act. They streamlined their reporting process by including a link on each tweet to report it for abuse, and automatically included the link for that tweet in the report form. For someone who was…
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I’ve been quite quiet of late, dear readers (a little too distracted with real life).
This really struck a nerve & I couldn’t have put it any better myself. It seems strange to me that these things even need pointing out, but they do. So, I thought that I would share…
Now this is a fascinating step and look back into history…
but mostly and especially to me (it’s sometimes a lonely business being the only feminist in my family).
Am usually a *little* sceptical about International this-or-that day. I worry about how whatever issues are being highlighted get forgotten for the other 364 days of the year, but I know how useful they are at highlighting the myriad of social issues that might not have any publicity at all, otherwise.
It’s such a shame on our species that it’s a universal feature of our world that half of us, as a group are being oppressed and shat upon from a great height. Generations and waves of female freedom fighters, feminists, suffragists and individual women fighting and sacrificing have only achieved so much. Can we really call ourselves a civilised or progressive world if women aren’t afforded the same opportunities as men? If we are systematically discriminated against the system needs smashing, not changing.
One thing that fills me with hope, ironically, are men. Perhaps it’s because my social circles have changed, but am so pleased and proud that so many of my male friends call themselves feminists (even if some of them have yet to pick up on some of the subtleties of everyday sexism just yet, but they’ll learn :p). Having been brought up in a mysogynist paternalistic community, it’s something new to me, and boy, does that fill me with hope – because let’s be honest, we need to call our brothers to arms as well, we’re going to need their help, the system fucks them and us.
“They said, ‘You are a savage & dangerous woman.’ I am speaking the truth & the truth is savage & dangerous.”
Ah, I ‘lost’ any religion I may have had years ago. Seems I am now losing my family, too.
The very last thing I imagined when I started this blog was that it would turn into some misery memoire – little did I know the surprising turns life would take.
So, my family have accused me of lying. Of it all being in my imagination. My father refuses to discuss it, says it didn’t happen. Says the doctors don’t know what they are talking about. I think if he really believed that, he’d have gone to the mosque when he nearly died a couple of years ago, instead of the hospital. He doesn’t go to the sheikh when he gets sick, he goes to the doctor.
This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been accused of lying. Many, many moons ago, when in my first (arranged) marriage I called him to ask him to tell my husband of the time not to rape me – he accused me of lying then. He said no, that’s not rape, you are lying. It’s not rape if he is your husband, you should not say no to your husband – it is his right. A teeny bit of me died that day hearing that inhuman response, and a teeny bit of me has died again being accused of lying now.
My family think I’ve brought this up to tear them apart. No. I just wanted them to care about it, rather stupidly of me. I just wanted some support, some empathy, some love. I keep forgetting what blind faith in dogma can do to a person. That denial and accusation is preferable to dealing with the unwanted truths and realities that are part & parcel of religion. How sad. My own sister has turned on me, I never knew she had that inhuman side to her. She has two daughters of her own. I may never see them again. I’m so heartbroken by that. But not broken. Sad and pained, but not broken. They can’t break me, I know I’m right. I know I’m going to do something to stop other girls going through cruel inhumanity. And that makes me stronger than anything that they can be. I don’t need a book to tell me what’s right or wrong.
I have friends and I think they love me. So, am lucky. And I’m going to do the right thing and that will give me more strength than they and those that condone mutilation could ever imagine or take away from me.
Even if I am having a weepy-feel sorry for myself kind of day. Inside I feel freeer, it’ll just take a while for it to manifest in my mood.
I still find it strange to say the word ‘vagina’. It’s actually a beautiful sounding word, I don’t know why it feels strange to say vagina, which is beautiful, but there’s no strangeness when I use another word, ‘cunt’, which I do, frequently. Cunt is an uglier word, but with it’s own beauty, it is also full of power. I wonder why the beauty of the word vagina scares me a little, still, while the ugliness of ‘cunt’ is appealing.
My super-religious upbringing dictated a kind of fear and, I suppose, disgust – dressed up as respect and honour. Vaginas had to be shaved or plucked, for ‘cleanliness’, for ‘purity’, but really it’s about control and invading boundaries. Is hair dirty or impure? Why weren’t we instructed to shave our eyebrows or our heads? It’s not hair they consider impure or unclean, it’s the vagina itself. The womanliness of it. The implicit messages that get internalised – the ones that aren’t said – those are very telling. What does it say about a culture that expects young girls (& boys too, to be fair) to start thinking of even the little things that happen to our bodies naturally as a part of becoming an adult as dark, foreboding, sinful – to be ripped out & disposed of? What fear must have dictated this loathing? To see something so ugly in nature’s beauty? They want to infantilise us all, they want little girls, not women. Grim.
A little bit of blood changes you in the eyes of these fuckturds too. Suddenly, because of some little red drops, you become an impurity. Too impure to stand and pray in front of God (if that’s your thing – it was never mine – I used to fake my periods in school to get out of prayers), if you’re married, too impure/disgusting to have sex with (I faked my periods in my first marriage too – guess why). You can’t be touched or be considered clean enough to touch again or be in a pure or holy place until you’ve ritually washed away whatever it is they are so afraid of. Womanliness is so threatening to them and I wonder what womanliness means to them that makes it so. How they have polluted vaginas in the minds of the people. How cowardly.
For some, who are the most afraid of womanliness and vaginas and what they mean, their best defence is attack. The cutting & destruction of the clitoris, the only bit of humanity made only for pleasure. Horror and revulsion at womens’ pleasure leads those in fear of it to destroy it in desperately cruel ways. I think those people see women as big walking vaginas. Nothing but the sum and an extension of their vaginas. Or perhaps, it’s not so much fear, as jealousy. Who knows what goes on in the minds of those women hating psychosociopaths?
I’m still processing things and am a little headfucked.
As the indignity of having (albeit a very lovely) doctor shining a light between my legs & peering and poking and prodding me unfolded, I was under the impression that this indignity would just confirm that I might be a bit over-imaginative and anxious.
In spite of my worries leading me to the doctor, I was VERY BLOODY SURPRISED to find out that my suspicion that everything wasn’t quite right down there, was not something created by my imagination, but something that was done to my child-body. I thought I may have been cut, I thought that perhaps a part of my clitoris had been cut out, but I was not right about that. My clitoral hood had been stitched over my clitoris.
Man, I still can’t believe I’m writing that – perhaps I’m in shock still. Am not sure how I process this. I do not think that it was my parents or done with their knowledge, but by relatives in one of the countries that I am from, over the summer when I was 7 or 8. It makes sense of some of the memories I have from a particular summer I spent there (I was sent there to stay with relatives & learn the culture/religion every summer). I’ll maybe talk about that another time, when my mind is less headfucked.
Gen-it-al mu-til-a-tion the words sound and feel so ugly in my head and my mouth. I know I’m so angry, I’m so humiliated, I’m so violent, I’ve been robbed. But I can’t feel. I can just sense myself, I can’t feel yet. I’m too scared to feel. I’m so betrayed. I’m so ashamed, but am not letting myself be ashamed, it’s not me that should be, but I am, somehow (I just can’t feel it, just sense it). The rage is somewhere & I’m worried about when I will feel it.
It seems strange that my immediate reaction was relief when the lovely doctor told me. Relief that my clitoris was there (typing that sentence feels like an indignity & a humiliation), relief that I hadn’t been cut in the way that I’d imagined. The type of mu-til-a-tion (argh!) that I suffered is of the most minor variety in female genital mutilation. What a fucking sentence. The most minor type – none of is minor. Child abuse is not minor, in anyway. I posit that any child abuse that involves their genitals is child sex abuse, actually. What kind of adults are interested in the genitals of kids (unless it’s for some medically necessary reason?)? Huh? It is very fucked up. Am so violated. Meh. I can’t imagine how those women who have had more brutal mutilations than me must feel if I’m feeling this bad. I’ve felt the joy of orgasms (even if I can’t at the moment due to headfuck) and I don’t know of a more fulfilling feeling than an orgasm with the someone(s) you love. Imagine not knowing what that felt like? Instead of pleasure, to only feel pain or fear of pain? I can’t. I know I’m being a little orgasm-centred right now, but they’re on my mind, because they’re not in my body.
I’m usually a woman of many words, but I don’t know what to say or what to think. I have been using the word cunt quite a lot for the last couple of weeks. Not as satisfying as it usually feels.