The poem was written here first, now comes the video. May it inspire you and move you into action as we bring about Justice, Emancipation and an End to Oppression.
On her knees she crawled slowly towards the bloodied altar. Covered in plush velvet, the drapes hanging like lazy fingers over a steaming bath, they mocked her, the twisted gold threads frayed and singed at the end, the debauchery of its wealth.
She knelt before it, head raised, mouth slightly open, palms splayed upwards asking, begging. Which God did she worship? She could hardly remember as the sound of leather cracking through the air stroked her shoulder. Was this tenderness? The crass neon lights glimmered, laughing, an ugly harsh laugh in the depths of darkness. Which God did she worship?
Copyright: Victoria. O
She talked about a hole surviving in the world. Actually, I don’t know if it’s a she or a he, but he is a just third of she, so lets just make it a whole – that’s right, we were talking about that hole in the world.
S/he talked about there being a hole in the world. One that was gaping but hard to see. It wasn’t covered over, it was just buried deep under the sea of our disinterestedness. Our politics incorrectness and oblique apathy, our feminism and chauvinism which clouded this body of water, purply green
The colour of her bruises, in fact it could have been his, disguised under all those lies, the trials the journeys, and the cramped, monkey cage style, of living, who knows about the gender, by now the conditions have probably bent her.
All the politics and fighting about whose got the Rights, all the arguing and despising about who is Right, all the oohing and aaahing about whether we should turn Right, or left out of this windy lane, back to the green fields, chic markets and cargo stuffed aeroplanes…
So we decided to take these Rights of sexual liberation and sexual pleasure, the Right to my body and the Right to…whatever
And we carved a deep fat hole in the texture of this confusing world, that wasn’t buried in a liquid sea, but in an ocean of media and hypocrisy.
With the splayed legs and lingerie backs, the cleavage that heaved as s/he tried to lean back.
I’ll tell you, stop looking at the Sky, the Ozone is going nowhere, instead tilt your head to the side, and begin to stare
There’s a hole in the world which leeks over billboards and chart toppers, over your daughters thighs and behind your son’s good night manners.
I didn’t dig it up, and I don’t know how to fill it in – did you know there’s a hole in the world, and the worst part is…
we all fell in.
The prevalence of HIV/AIDS has left South Africa with a youthful population. To reach half a Century is to have a blessed life and unfortunately few can acquire that blessing. To combat this situation, many grandparents are taking on the role of guardian for these orphans, especially in township communities such as Sweetwaters and Edendale. As the country struggles with generations of AIDS orphans, the Government has put together an initiative known as Grandmother Grants..
Unfortunately, due to my persuasive virus, I was unable to work in the Government Hospitals this Monday. However, as I met for Zanini Bantwana’s core team meeting, and on my journey home for recovery, I was exposed to another disquieting scenario. Keeping families together, within familiar communities can be one of the greatest comforts for children who have been orphaned and in some respects abandoned. The benefits system which provides, predominantly grandmothers, with a monthly allowance say of R600 (£60) per month, is not a lot, but used wisely can clothe, feed and even send a child to a basic school. However, when a grandparent is acting as guardian for four, five, six even seven children – well it can become a business. Children can easily become, especially in the economically starved situations that face South Africa townships, a precious commodity.
In the UK, when adoption or fostering occurs, Social Services are the umbrella organisation which (are supposed to) ensure the child or children in question are adequately looked after. If neglect in any form occurs, then the children are (theoretically) removed from that home.
What then happens, as I was told yesterday, when the social workers are part of the corruption? If social workers are threatening or coercing grandparents to ‘share’ their benefits with them to get a child, or if they are in ‘cahoots’ with one another, then what hope is there of justice, when the authorities are corrupt?
I was told a story as I was driven home, of a young girl, say around 12, in Edendale. She was an orphan, put into the care of extended family members. These ‘family members’ were prostituting her. At the age of 12, the people who are meant to be your guardians are the ones who are commidifying, soliciting and violating your body for profit. So, she ran away. Ran away to Social Services, to complain and seek refuge, respite and healing. Obviously her family are quite keen to get her back. Not only for the state benefits she provides, but also for the ‘other’ benefits. I don’t know what the outcome of the story was – but what happens if the family are able to make a deal with the social worker? If they offer to give them a percentage of all their state benefits? What might the social worker do?
It is a deplorable, painful concept, and one that is not solely occurring in South African townships. That would be both an ignorant and dangerous mistake to make. Prostitution, trafficking, abuse and corruption happen the world over in a variety of forms. Whether it is UK MP’s stealing from the public in the Expenses Scandal, or social workers stealing from the State through corrupt ‘business deals’, it is the poor, the weak and the young that are the victims, and it is an injustice to them.
Prayer for Day 15: That South African Social Workers would be reformed, and the Government would put in the right checks to ensure orphans are receiving the best care, attention and safe homes. That Grandmothers and all other family members who take on the care of an orphan are filled with compassion and a desire to protect and nurture, and not exploit. That children the world over, in our own home communities who are being exploited would come into the protection of just members of the Authorities, and would be saved from a life of victimization and neglect.
The abuse that we know, is better than the future we don’t.
The act or practice of providing sexual acts in return for payment, is a legal form of employment commonly classed under the taboo title of prostitution. One of the oldest professions in the world, it is also one of the most lucrative industries in today’s society. Currently, a violent debate rages in the oestrogen fuelled arenas of neo-feminism, on whether the act of selling one’s body is the ultimate form of female liberation and power in a patriarchal world, or whether it is the most degrading form of human slavery to date. Whilst the knowledge that the female body, a construct which, throughout history, has been masked, reduced to its flesh into a rapeable creation solely for male gratification, runs rampant throughout history and literature, it has also been transformed into an idyllic image of perfection and required emulation.
S&M, dominatrixes, handcuffs and whips are items which have deftly slipped themselves into the sanctity of marriage as well as ‘normal’ adult relationships. Female organs have been fetishized and idealised, yet the blue-print they are based on stems from a debauched and bestialised industry of degradation and oppression.
Ben Nolot’s documentary, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, tracks the transformative process of becoming a prostitute and links it with the largest form of human slavery that has ever occurred in human history: human trafficking, most importantly, sex trafficking. Moldova, a landlocked state in eastern Europe, is commonly known as the ‘breaking ground.’ As Nolot, the director, writer and producer of Nefarious, speaks over the image of young girls, huddled, screaming in a dingy room, the re-enacted scene still pulsing with a wrenching authenticity, he explains that it is in Moldova, a country were almost 10% of the population has been trafficked post-civil war, that trafficked victims are ‘broken in.’ Locked in rooms till ‘buyers’ come to check their goods, Nolot, with the aid of a former trafficker named Ohad, takes us through the process of them being inspected, put in a naked fashion show, and sometimes, even being tested. This is when potential buyers have sex with the victims to test whether they’re ready to be trafficked. If not, then they are repeatedly raped, beaten, forced to watch other girls being beaten, starved, drugged, until at last they loose all hope, becoming a hollow cask ready to be filled with the eager sperm of ‘Johns;’ prostitutes clients.
The first time, second time, you feel uncomfortable and sorry for the girls. But after that you just think – it’s good money. Ohad, former trafficker
At this point a schism appears between the glamour of prostitution and the seedy underside. Annie Lombart, a former Las Vegan prostitute candidly speaks about the initial power trip that prostitution gave her. To be so in control of a man’s desire, to be earning so much money, it was an exhilarating drug. Yet, like all drugs, the high drained after you were beaten once, twice, had a gun held to your head, thrust in your mouth. Irrationally attacked if you didn’t bring enough money back to your pimp, who seemed to regularly hide under the guise of a lover.
The Stockholm syndrome, wherein the victim begins to have feelings for the kidnapper, was a psychological condition that a number of the women interviewed seemed to fall into. Yet, prostitution wasn’t just about poverty. As women moved from the breaking grounds of Eastern Europe, to the familial arena of South East Asia, more specifically Cambodia and Thailand, the sale of women had become an accepted part of one’s life. Not necessarily, Nolot was clear to point out, in order to alleviate poverty, but often dressed as an acceptable commodity. Families who had girls knew they were ‘financially stable’,as, if economic hardships arose, they could always sell their daughters. Sex trafficking became a way of generating funds to improve one’s condition in life – to afford a new T.V. or mobile phone. Fathers are filmed playing chess day-long, unemployed, as they wait for their daughter to come of age. Though this is one perspective of a national situation, it is chilling to know that there are parents who have made their peace with selling their daughters – and men, who are happy to engage in underage sex. The image of 7-year old’s pyjamas stained with blood after her first sexual encounter are vomit-inducing.
In Sweden, the government have implemented a revolutionary piece of legislation that is now known as the Nordic style, as other countries, including Iceland, have also adopted it. In this sentencing, it is men who are convicted of buying sex and not the women for selling. By criminalising the act of paying for prostitution, the Swedish Government has simultaneously culled the demand and therefore the supply of prostitutes. An unfavourable trafficking area, the last time a woman was found publicly prostituting herself in Sweden was in the 1980’s.
Prostitution is about men masturbating in women’s bodies – nothing else
Kasja Wahlberg makes the point that one cannot claim to promote gender equality, when one section of society can be bought. The difficulty with prostitution being a form of ‘female emancipation’, is that it inevitably fuels the sex trafficking industry, bringing women who don’t see it as a liberating profession, into its malevolent claws. Why should, a former prostitute in Moldova asks, we shy away from protecting the sanctity of human life, in order to cater for men’s sexual desires?
A painful yet revelatory documentary, the Nefarious trilogy, is one that challenges our historical elision of prostitution and our social condemnation for women who are either in modern bondage, or trapped in a nightmare of perverted male desire.
An insight into a follow-up post on the documentary Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, which delves into the causes and effects of the sex trafficking industry and prostitution:
Prostitution is about men masturbating in women’s bodies – nothing else
Khasja Wahlberg, National Rapporteur of Trafficking in Human Beings, Sweden
pu·sil·lan·i·mous [pyoo-suh-lan-uh-muhs] adjective
1. lacking courage or resolution; cowardly; faint-hearted;timid.
2. proceeding from or indicating a cowardly spirit.
Everybody wants some pussy. Everybody wants to own some pussy.
If you don’t fit into those categories, then you are the pussy.
But what is the pussy, I hear you ask.
When we were younger that’s what we called Tom, our cat, whom we loved to snuggle up next to for our afternoon nap.
But if you went to an inner city state school, you soon learnt
That a pussycat stopped being innocent, when it came at you with flailing claws in a corridor attack
perpetrated by the foul mouthed youths who were their own dog pack – not to forget their bitches, who tailed them, spurting self-condemning words that would later maim them.
So the pussy became a term that reverted to its original definition. To show weakness, a lack of courage, a coward, who is inevitably a woman – as courage is masculine, part of the patriarchal plan of world dominance and laddish prominence.
But then we got a bit older.
Learnt about glow worms and blow jobs
Fingering and licking out.
The desired object didn’t hang about
like the agitated youthful energy of the pubescent male member.
It had to be uncovered,
The daydream of Ann Summers knickers smacking into the harsh reality of Tesco’s basics,
Ripped off with the freshly shaved pubic hair
To reveal the pussy, the final evolution of it’s transformative nature
In its bathetic glory as a pornographically idolized creature.
But I’ve stepped on the breaks.
It wasn’t a mistake, don’t mock my driving skills as being an exemplar
Of females behind the wheel – an inferior occupation when placed against the spectacle of males who speedily prevail
There is a difference between pussy and vagina.
Women of worth, born into a class system of educated conditions
We own vaginas.
They are to be romanced, courted, hyperbolically sought after
Sometimes claimed before, sometimes after, the wedding band is slipped over our fourth finger.
Vaginas are special places, where babies are made and babies are born
Hidden under lacy garments, perfume, shorn clean with the wax strips from Veet
Pussy – well that belongs to her.
Driven across the boarder, maybe no older than my cousin who’s a toddler
The pussy initially belongs to a housewife or waitress,
but once that lie is uncovered, and she’s lying their naked
the welts, the scars, the blood mixed with chili pepper
titilating that enlarging male member –
That’s all it is.
The pussy everyone wants. The pussy every young man needs to experience
as part of his journey through adolescence
It’s legally sanctified for him to seek the pussy, to publicly own to wanting the pussy
Yet we are perplexed when we see it displayed in raunchy texts, on postcards in phone booths, in the red-light districts that wouldn’t have to exist if we didn’t want them to…
Maybe, instead of obsessing, demonizing and protesting about the pussy
We should just make the act of buying it illegal?
Maybe we should cut off the demand for the pussy, and force it back into being a vagina?
Maybe that would cull the sex trafficking industry?
Maybe that would remind us, instead of hating on hoes its the bro’s who obsess about getting some finger lickin’ goodness, that need to be chastised and re-baptized in the waters of a morally conscious, righteous and just humanity?
Maybe we should just confront the fact
That the pussy is everywhere –
But just because a woman has a vagina, it doesn’t make her weak, less courageous, a coward or faint-hearted.
It’s you – the one who thinks they have a right to her genital parts that is, not only a violator and rapist, but a coward with a weak spirit.