Tag Archives: rape

#10 ~ For Colored Girls: Latent Rapists

Image by Joseph Mambwe

Image by Joseph Mambwe

Latent Rapists is the first ‘shocking poem’ of For Colored Girls. It looks at the nature of rape through the eyes of 3 separate women and puts the emphasis on rape being committed by a friend.

Earlier on in the year I discovered that the majority of rape victims suffer at the hands of someone they know. That’s right. The likelihood of being raped by a complete stranger down a dark alleyway is less likely than being raped by a family member, a family friend, an acquaintance or a work colleague. It’s a chilling thought.

Whilst in my second year of Uni I thought about the ease with which male friends that came to visit me could very easily take advantage of me – and it would look like my fault.

‘You invited him over for dinner. You must have wanted it. You’re just making excuses because you’re embarrassed. Friends can’t rape you.’

These are some of the excuses we regularly make which turn the victims of sexual assault into the perpetrators.

Because, as the lady in Red, Purple and Blue so painfully state:

The nature of rape has changed.

We can now meet them in the circles we frequent for companionship.

We see them at the coffee-house/with someone else we know.

We can even invite them over for dinner and get raped in our own houses/

by invitation

a friend.

Rape is never ok, never justifiable and it is never the victim’s fault. If you have been abused please seek help. To see how we give a voice to marginalised and abused people make sure you keep following the FCG story, hopefully see you in September.

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#366 ~ 2012 was a Leap Year!

Yes, it was a leap year. I didn’t forget that. But this is a final post in the 365 journey to help new comers navigate the blog.

Introduction: The opening and closing posts which give you an understanding of the reason for the blog and it’s journey are found in the About section, so click on there to begin and get stuck in.

Psalms: A series of meditative poetry posts based on Psalm 119, the longest of the Psalms. It takes a few verses from each ‘stanza’ and ruminates on what they mean or challenges them. An insight into my faith, or at least the ‘faith journey,’ that occurred towards the end of the blog. So click PsalmSeries, they are in reverse order, so the last post (which appears first) is from the first stanza….it makes sense, just read it as you see it, scroll down.

IthembaMini Blog of my time during the summer of 2012 working with the phenomenal charity Ithemba Projects in Durban, South Africa. It’s an incredible journey that looks at what it means to serve, to love, to loose, to create a family, and also confronts issues with poverty tourism and issues prevalent in South Africa. A succinct, uplifting journey, I taught as an English teacher in the community of Sweetwaters, so you can see some of the videos and poems we created. Enjoy and check out the charity as well.

Voice(less): These are a collection of articles, posts and poems about issues I am very passionate about. I am concerned with marginalised and dispossed groups/issues such as sex trafficking, rape, prosititution and conflict. These are a few posts that look at these issues. Often very raw, emotional and challenging, so be prepared for your heart to be ripped.

100 Words and a Photo: An incredible collection of 30 posts, each written at centenary periods in the Blog. They take the form of a photo by my sister and 100 words from me, some are short stories, other commentaries, but if you just want to read something short and creative, this is a beautiful series to get stuck into. Enjoy

Articles: These are all the posts I wrote as articles. Ranging from music reviews, to comments on the social upheaval in Nigeria, to Kony2012 and other more political or even comment pieces, perhaps an insight into a more ‘formal’ style of my writing.

Life Lessons: A collection of one line posts which give out life lessons. From down right stupid and humorous, to philosophical, if you are short on time, there’s some fruit to be snatched here.

Creative: All my poems and creative work. An insight into my heart, raw, bleeding, daydreaming, humorous, hey, I gave it all a go.

Be blessed, here in ends the journey, navigate your way, find that gold.

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#236 ~ Ithemba Projects : Day 3

Gingu Girl : I am Girl.

I entered South Africa with a cold. A trifling, sneeze of a cold, which filtered into my glands, up my nose, under my eyes and, coupled with the grim, misty weather, certainly made me feel ill. My own poor health made me fearful of being around other sick people, other sick children. The fear of contagion lurked behind me. Yet sickness is a fundamental part of aid work – it is why aid work exists.

After writing about my first day at Ithemba and thoroughly examining the uncomfortable inhumanity that resides within me, the lack of love that characterizes a part of me, I couldn’t quite live with myself. I was ashamed of my…prejudice and decided that that was not me.

Yesterday, I returned to the crèches. Visiting them and engaging the children in song and games is part of my weekly job description. Yet this time round, I was armed with a stack of tissues and a runny nose myself. I suppose , on reflection, I took my own illness as a gateway into compassion. If I was sick, and they were sick, then we could all be sick together.

For most of the children in the Drop in Centre they spend their day in two cramped rooms eating. If it isn’t their millie meal porridge, then it’s a snack of crisps, or their lunch. There are no stimuli, and for these children aged between 2 and 5, stimuli is vital. They yearn to play outside, to run around, to create games, hear stories, and tell songs.  So I found myself, still swamped in the mist, sitting properly in these chairs feeding children their porridge on my own initiative, as one would any child. Tickling stomachs, and offering tissue paper. As I wiped one child’s nose, mucus mingled with blood fell into the sheet. I forgot about how sick I was then.

It is so frustrating, so painful trying to engage young children who are distant. Looking into the eyes of some of these toddlers,  a brown abyss glares back at you. You can try and coax a smile from them – but their lips don’t twitch. In the West, parents are encouraged to tell their children how much they adore and love them. Yet in Sweetwaters, I wonder how many children are seen as a burden. The reason why their mothers never finished their education, why they have AIDS, why they’ve been disowned. I wonder also, whether displays of affection differ between cultures. Whether the lack of a hug, a kiss, or other tactile displays of affection can have negative effects?

Two days ago, I heard the story of a girl who was raped whilst on her way to one of Ithemba’s Life Groups. She was four years old at the time. The police were supposed to open up a case to find the culprit. They never did. Her family took vengeance into their own hands and ended up beating a man within an inch of his life. It was later discovered he was not the rapist. She doesn’t come to the Life Groups anymore. The Ithemba Staff member who told me about her story doesn’t know whether she remembers her ordeal. The counseling  the State was supposed to provide never came through. Why would it – she’s one of many children. She’s from Sweetwaters.

There is a little girl at the crèche who has broken my heart. Her name is Girl. She looks between the ages of 2 and 4. She doesn’t have any physical signs of disabilities, but sometimes she just zones out.  Whilst I was helping the children eat their lunch meal, her bowl of millie porridge sat loosely in her arms. “Eat Girl” I said in Zulu. The other children took it up as a chorus… to no response. She barely talks, just opens her large brown eyes and stares, blankly. I took the spoon, blew on the porridge and put it close to her mouth. As it touched the corners of her lips she broke into a grin and giggled. It was as though a light bulb had flashed across her face, as though she had woken up. And then it was snuffed out again.

I’m no psychologist, but I would say she has some kind of stunted mental growth. She has the look of someone who has suffered a traumatic experience, and never fully come out of it. Maybe she is just mentally slow…but that vacant brown abyss that gapes at me from her beautiful face tells me otherwise.

Prayer for Day 3: That a spirit of Justice would break out in Martizburg. That the children of Sweetwaters wouldn’t be anonymous in their sufferings, but the same care and concern that is shown for children the world over who have suffered traumatic events would be available for them. That their stories and experiences would be valued; that they would be protected. That they would know how loved they are both physically and emotionally.

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#143 ~ Pusillanimous

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.

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#109 ~ One Hundred Words and a Photo : 9

I spent my days drifting between pools of dappled lighting, tentatively stepping between a mellifluous twilight and a stagnant, opaque darkness. I began to fuse, with arched pain, into my surroundings. It was an enforced union, my body raped and violated, my freedom squashed until it expired. I dared not dream, let alone encourage the word ‘____‘ to crawl through my mind. But one day I got bold. I’d seen that obscure orb float across the snatches of light blue for years. Yesterday I bent my neck and stuck out my head. It hurt. But I’d found the ‘space’…to grow.

Photo:

Victoria O, Copyrighted

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#51 ~ Cattle Market Zoo

This is me. This is you. This is the world that we live in.

When scientists have developed a way to generate meat without a soul

My flesh simply becomes something to be weighed, to be measured

And evidently, as the market is still fresh

Wanting.

You want to conjecture reasons as to why?

Why i ended up this way?

It was my choice? It was a sad sate of affairs?

How about you check your wife, your husband, your son and daughter

Your niece, nephew, your grandson and daughter.

Where there is a demand, there is always a supply

Didn’t you know, this is the age of capitalism

Economy, trade, a receipt, you get laid

You get raped, abused and misused

A number with no clues.

Check yourself.

Check your values and after all that, check your front-window view.

I may be nameless, nocturnal,

battered, bruised, with a penchant for the suicidal

But it’s your money rubbing up between my legs

That ten pound note you fingered

As you went to buy bread.

It was your laugh, that put the idea in their head

Your encouragement that led me to this bed.

This is me, this is you, this is the world that we live in.

Fix it

Before it fixes you

As another slave in this cattle market zoo.

[During the 2012 Olympics they expect 100,000’s of women to be trafficked into the UK to provide ‘entertainment’ within the sex industry  for the millions that are coming to the United Kingdom. Don’t you dare turn a blind eye to this injustice. Get vocal, get active and make sure your community is not made a home to these wicked acts. Be the voice for these modern day slavesStop the traffick.]

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#35 ~ Breaking the Silence vs. Victimising the Victim

From a young age one of my biggest fears has also been ridiculously irrational. It used to grip me late at night or midday watching a film. It had no interest in time or place, but would sneak up and cause my mind to spiral into an abyss of negative possibilities. It fed itself and distorted a lot of my perceptions on friendships, relationships and human beings. The fear of the possibility of being violated, raped, taken advantage of. It is something I have never experienced, but that irrational fear bred a deep sense of righteous anger and justification in me, and led to my fascination and interest in one of the greatest forms of slavery that governs our world as a rapidly growing economic industry: the sex trade.

Sunitha Krishnan defines it as the 3rd largest organized crime act in the world, and a $10billion industry. It is lucrative, it is expansive and it dominates the shadows of our modern world. In a TEDIndia Lecture Dr. Krishnan brings up three case studies. Children named Prantha, Shaheen and Anjali. Prantha is an example of children who are born into this immoral trade. His mother was a prostitute and when she contracted AIDS and was effectively ‘laid off,’ resulted to selling him to a broker. By the time Sunitha’s organisation had reached him, he had been raped by three men. Shaheen was found in railway tracks, so badly violated that her intestines where outside of her body and she needed 32 stitches. Shaheen is 3 years old. Anjali’s drunkard of a father sold her for pornography. These children are a new cycle in commercial sexual exploitation.

Sold under the facades of adoption, organ donation, forced labour or camel trade, in the space of a few hours the forced migration of these optionless people puts them into a world where human rights doesn’t exist.

Dr. Krishnan speaks emphatically and factually in her lecture. Herself a victim of an 8-man gang rape when she was 15, she has experienced first hand not only the deep anger she describes at the memory of the event, but the stigma that was attached. The social alienation and isolation that transpired because she was a victim.

I know that often when we hear stories of prostitutes or see the trade glamorized under the precarious job description of ‘escort,’ we assume these women enter this trade for easy money, because they are nymphomaniac’s or as a short cut to fame, glory, attention. But Dr. Krishnan paints a far darker and more humanly realistic image. The majority of these women and children resist and as a result are either killed or are censored in brutal, inhumane ways. They succumb to an everyday torture consisting of cigarettes being stubbed out on their skin, chili in their vagina’s, being whipped, being beaten, and being bestialized, their humanity discarded like their identities. After a while their bonuses kick in: STI’s, substance abuse and addiction and lastly their spirits are broken and their minds normalize to this terrestrial hell. Daily rape and assault become their ‘destiny’, living in a shelter and rehabilitation a fading mirage of obscurity.

Yet within these women, and one can see the fiery belief in her eyes, Dr. Krishna proclaims their immense amount of courage that enables them to exist in a man’s world, to realize their latent potential and to offer them a new reality as bricklayers, welders and security guards, building on their experience to rebuild their life experience.

The only difficulty it seems, is us. The Civil Society. It is our social barriers that prevent us accepting these victims of trafficking and the sex industry as our own. I wonder – would you invite a rehabilitating prostitute to your home, to eat dinner with your family, to share a cup of tea with your mother, or even a room with your child? Would you acknowledge a woman who you support through charitable donations as your friend in reality? It has become, as Dr. Krishnan states, so fashionable to talk about Human trafficking – here I am posting about it. But we still have an internal barrier that says – they are not one of us. As much as they are dehumanized by the bestial men who have assaulted them, they are further reduced by our reproach, our fear at their ‘uncleanliness.’

Sunitha Krishnan stood up as a voice for the victims and survivors of human trafficking. In my personal statement to university, I said i wanted to use my degree in English to find a way to give a voice to the voiceless either through fiction or journalism.

I hope, whatever it is you do, today we make a conscious decision to break that culture of silence that makes us create euphemisms like  – the red light district – in order to avoid confronting the immoral industry of prostitution which is fed by the human sex and trafficking trade. We need to embrace as Dr. Krishnan calls, these victims as part of our world, our lives, our hearts and accept them as humans that deserve support, because they certainly don’t deserve the violence they have suffered.

To follow Sunitha’s work

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