Well, I'll go to the foot of my stairs...

Often startled, frequently amused, sometimes scared; rarely speechless. Can be found at witchywoo22@yahoo.co.uk

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

To what shall I compare thee...

This post is inspired by Manxome who posted this analogy which popped into her head while she was reading at the Den:

"Rape is not sex, just as hammering a nail into someone's head is not construction"

I think that's brilliant! As Manxome said, she could go on for hours thinking up other analogies and I thought "what a good game!" So I'm inviting you all to indulge yourselves for five or ten minutes, to let your imaginations fly and your creative muses loose... Give it your best shot.

Mine?

Pornography isn't harmful, just as Big Mac's are a slimming aid.

Have fun!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I'd just like to thank...

...leyons at Femvist for hosting the Blog to Raise Awareness of Sexual Violence.

So many posts, so much pain....but so much strength and courage too.

The message is clear - we need to keep shouting about this until it stops.

And lelyons, take some time out, just for you, huh?
(hug)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Blog to Raise Awareness of Sexual Violence

Twenty six years ago my cousin was eighteen and a lovely young woman - bright, funny, full of life. The youngest of four children, she was part of a close knit family of devout Catholics. She'd finished her bacalaureat and she and her older brother decided to go back-packing around North Africa. Lots of French kids did this....well, lots of kids from everywhere did this - Morocco held a fascination for us at that time.

They'd been there just over a week when it happened. They were camping on a beach for the night - just the two of them - and their camp was invaded by four local men. They took her brother off somewhere and came back for her.

They subjected her to a lengthy ordeal of horrific sexual violence that put her in hospital for five weeks. She was gang raped and sexually assaulted in every way possible. It was completely brutal.

Her brother had been knocked unconscious and tied up out of sight but still within earshot. When he came round he heard it all.

It was reported but never investigated.

She'd had plans, my cousin. She had dreams. In a few weeks she was going to university to study. She wanted to become a children's social worker. Those four men destroyed all that.


She went to university, as planned. She did give it a go. She lived alone in a rented room off campus. She didn't go home much and, though her family kept in regular contact with her, she didn't say much. She was changed. They thought she was recovering, albeit slowly. She had a therapist and was on medication for depression and anxiety. They thought she was busy with her studies. They tried to support her. They found out later that she rarely ventured out of her room. It was there that they found her some months later. She had hanged herself.

Reading through her papers her family discovered the emotional torture she'd tried to live with since that night in Morocco. She'd drawn endless, savage pictures of what had happened. She'd written pages and pages, trying to explain her tangled feelings. Her guilt. The shame she felt. The note she left was very simple.

She told her family that she loved them all and that she was so sorry. So sorry because she was no longer a virgin and, therefore, wasn't a good Catholic. That God would now turn his back on her as a sinner. That the only way to stop the anguish she felt was to end her life; even knowing that that would preclude her from Heaven but that didn't matter because she wouldn't be going there anyway. She'd failed everyone and she was ashamed.

They killed her, those four men. They destroyed everything she believed in. They stole her life.

One Moroccan police officer, by way of an attempt at an explanation for the incident, had told her parents that "blonde girls are much prized" so, in his view, it was her fault.

As you've read this far, could you quietly tell her that it wasn't her fault; that men who rape are responsible for what they do; that no shame lies with her. She may hear you.

Her name is Catherine.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Biting Beaver...

...over at the Den is writing a week long series about the tiers of pornography and the harm it causes.

Please read this series.

Even if you already know about the harms of pornography.

Even if you've already read these words.

Please read this. And do something about it.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Ok, Conference report...

On Friday April 7, in Oxford, the Centre for the Study of Social Justice hosted the Andrea Dworkin Commemorative Conference.

It kind of warms my heart to see 'social justice' and 'Andrea Dworkin' linked like that...

I had a fab time. Spent the day mostly with my friend,whom I
love dearly, and I met other women friends, like V who I've known in an internetty way for donkeys. I also got to meet other women who I've only known by their user names for a while. All of them are totally fab feminists. The day passed all too quickly.

Laurelin took notes. I didn't. I'd had to park my car in a field and take a park and ride to get to the venue. I wasn't able to carry much. So I'll leave it up to her to do the analytical stuff. She's better at it than I am anyway. But I will say that while a certain speaker was dissing Andrea Dworkin's total worldview by repeating media lies about her I was so pleased that Catharine MacKinnon, who was actually there when the incidents that that speaker was talking about took place, was actually there. I mean there, with us, and able to set the record straight.

Sheila Jeffrey's is lovely. She made me laugh a lot and her perception of the way women are encouraged to think about themselves completely resonates with me. Knives? Blood? To 'look "right"'? She seemed totally sane to me.... And she has a wicked sense of humour (for a feminist ;))

Julie Bindel....ah...well... I love Julie Bindel already. It was she who said that wonderful thing about it being the fact that men can buy and sell women's bodies that keeps us all unfree... Julie actually knew Andrea as a friend. They talked and laughed together. They called and wrote to one another. I wish I'd had that kind of relationship with Andrea Dworkin....I got the feeling that Julie Bindel knows she's lucky to have had it.

John Stoltenberg - Andrea's husband - brought tears to my eyes. That man still obviously loves her so much. Not only does he love her but he loves what she loved. Made me think a bit really.... He's gay. Andrea was a lesbian. What the pair of them love(d) is humanity. Humanity is reduced to nothing by pornography. John Stoltenberg is now the custodian of Andrea Dworkin's passion. She changed his life and he's vowed to be custodian of her work. If Andrea Dworkin could trust that man for 30 or more years then I'm sure I can trust him too.

Dr Catharine A MacKinnon... I'm sorry....totally gone here. She sat in the next seat but one to me! Can you imagine that? And, if it hadn't been for the 'certain speaker who dissed Andrea' who came and lodged herself between us, I might even have spoken to her. Nevertheless, she did notice me....and I hope to be going to hear her speak again quite soon. She is very accademic, there are no two ways about it. But her love for Andrea Dworkin shines through. We have that in common...

It was an excellent day and I loved it.
April 9th 2005...

...was the day Andrea Dworkin died.

April 9th is also Hugh Heffner's birthday. He's eighty years old today. The 'Playboy King'. He's still condoning, advocating, and promoting the sexual hatred of women and he's still making millions out of misogyny. He's still living in luxury through his pimping of women young enough to be his great-grandaughters; selling them naked, vulnerable, available and sexually abused so that men everywhere can pay to masturbate to the images of their degradation and feel like......what do they feel like? Men? Or the sad fucks that they are?

Hugh Heffner is still alive and Andrea Dworkin has been dead for a year. I so wish it was the other way round.

They both changed my life.

Hugh Heffner started his money making women hating empire just before I was born. He made naked female flesh available to the male masses and was instrumental in creating the pornographic lie that men (and even some women, apparently) now believe actually is female sexuality. He was instrumental in normalising the pornographic expression of misogyny; making it mainstream, accessible, 'hip' and 'ok'.

I was born a girl. As a result, I have had to live my entire life with the effects of Hugh Heffner's twisted ideas about my body, my sexuality, my bodily integrity, my self. Hugh Heffner's lies about the sexual accessibility of women have oppressed me. They have put me in danger and they have hurt me. In many personal aspects Hugh Heffner has stultified my life.

Hugh Heffner changed my life by making my body - the part of me that I walk about in - at best, a spectator sport; at worst, a fuck hole. His notions about my sexuality have made it impossible for me to honestly be who I am. He and his ilk have negated me and removed my humanity. He has put me in danger. I guess that's what pornography does.

Andrea Dworkin changed my life when I read what she said. She knew what I meant. Andrea Dworkin knew how the Hugh Heffner's of this world had changed my life. She knew how misogyny worked. She knew how the sexualisation of misogyny made it impossible for any woman to be deemed human. Andrea Dworkin knew that the fundamental oppression of women was sexual and that that underpins all the other, myriad oppressions of the patriarchy. She cared about all of that and the effect it had on people and on human relationships.

Hugh Heffner only cares about the money he makes from sad fucks.

Andrea Dworkin cared about people.

Oh, but....that's so unfashionable.

Fuck 'fashionable'.

It would've been so much better if Hugh Heffner had died and not Andrea. At least she had something constructive to say......and she said it so well. Hugh Heffner destroys lives; both men's and women's. Andrea Dworkin saves lives; both men's and women's.

And the choice, here, is...?

I wish you a gruellingly painful unhappy birthday, Mr Heffner and I really hope you die soon.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Femvist...

...is hosting a blog to raise awareness about sexual violence on April 18th.

We all have our own story...or that of our friend/sister/lover/mother/cousin/aunt/other. I don't think I know a woman who hasn't been subjected to sexual violence of one kind or another.

Go
here to do more.