Rape Culture

All Grooming Gangs

Maajid Nawaz (a man I’m strangely familiar with even though I couldn’t tell you what he does for a living) has admonished his Muslim ‘sisters’ and pleaded with them in a ‘heartfelt’ campaign to remove their Muslim dress, and as an added bonus, dredged up the old Asian grooming gangs ‘scandal’ a coupla days later, reiterating how we as British Pakistanis should be discussing it not brushing it under the carpet. I don’t think we need reminding ever because the narrative around Asian grooming gangs is ongoing, it is the first thing bigots of all classes belch at us when we defend our right to exist free from harm.

I also find it dangerously problematic this man of Pakistani descent is contributing to a narrative which excuses the violence perpetrated by white men against Muslim women for their dress; Muslim women have been murdered, beaten so viciously they have lost their unborn children, spat at, sworn at, assaulted, all because of what they are wearing. Rather than support his Muslim sisters in their choices and seek to protect them by naming the problem –  violent white men with empire sized entitlement issues – he enables it, victimising them further. He wants white men to attack Muslim women in the street. He’s given them carte blanche when he, self-appointed mehram, is PLEADING with us to be good little Muslim girls and strip for the white people. If we dare to disobey this very public appeal then we’re, honestly, just asking for it, white supremacists are looking for any excuse. Maajid repeatedly underlines that Muslim women are attacked in the street because of Muslim men who flee terror situations in female attire. He doesn’t once mention the racist judgments white people make of anyone who is not lily white, of the sort of violence and arrogant misogyny white men subject Muslim looking women to.

I was wearing a dress cut to my knees with bare legs and my hair out when I was racially abused on a packed bus at 3am in a multicultural part of London. It does not matter how many hoops you jump, my beloved diaspora siblings, a dog born in a stable is still a dog to these mad Englishmen. Take your veil off, uncover your face, you arse even, men will still be men, racist cunts will still be racist cunts. I challenged a white male on Twitter recently, when he said he did not want Europe overrun by Asian grooming gangs yet didn’t think twice before he told me:

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That’s why I find this stab at the ol’ grooming gangs all the more grotesque. This insistence that Asian grooming gangs are somehow the biggest threat to society is deliberate. This regurgitation of information to the exclusion of all other facts is propaganda. What makes the victims of Asian grooming gangs more deserving of recognition and justice than the victims of Britain’s national treasures, parliamentarians, social services, the police, the football association, the church? I know for a fact no one cared about these young victims of sadistic brown men. It went on from 1997 to 2013 and the excuse given by the all-powerful authorities is they didn’t want to offend anybody. How awfully British in its delivery and the fact that it is complete and utter bullshit. When I was a domestic and sexual violence worker for women of all colour, religions etc. I would often inquire with the officers in charge of my cases why there was such a gap in provision for women of colour and they used the exact same excuse, that the perps would insist it was a part of their culture and the authorities didn’t want to offend. From my perspective, it was just lazy racism, when you are not motivated to care about people you do not consider human you’ll make up a thousand excuses for your negligence and no one will think to question it because it is in line with their lazy racism.

Fact: no one, not the cops, or the governing authorities, or even the average white man, gives a flying shit about white working class girls. You think of them as chavs and sluts and mock them for being gym slip mums in love with Albanian refugees. I’ve seen it, heard it, I’ve worked with these young victims. Nobody cared until it appeared the rug had FINALLY been pulled out from the elite paedosadist networks and we’d finally get justice for the many thousands of historic victims.

Every time well-meaning bros like Maajid and Adil Ray contribute to this metanarrative of predatory men of colour seeking out white women to spoil, they are confirming entrenched notions of sexual violence as a basic trait found in most if not all darkie savages to the detriment of all victims of white men.

Whenever I try to point this out I am targeted by white supremacists who just keep repeating the same old shit; “why don’t Muslims condemn it?” They condemned it in 2013 and again in 2014, read all about it here.

“Why are you denying there is a problem in the British Pakistani community?” If you’d ever actually listened to me you’d know I believe all men are capable of sexual violence in a patriarchal society that actively encourages harassment and subjugation of women, both east and west. In my opinion I wish they’d all drop dead but some of y’all find this contentious too.

“You don’t want to discuss it, just pretend it never happened.” Maajid, again with his impassioned pleas, has said we must talk about the grooming scandal and yet twice, I’ve tweeted at him to let him know he has an open invitation to discuss it with me, a British Pakistani, a cultural Muslim as opposed to firm believer, a survivor of male perpetrated violence from both Pakistanis and whites, a domestic and sexual violence worker with feminist leanings and first and foremost, a woman, and he hasn’t responded and most likely won’t. I do not fulfil their stereotypes, I provide a real account of life on rainy fascist island from the perspective of those women everyone seeks to silence. Or maybe he cannot speak to me because he is NOT my mehram and can only communicate via a third party. I find it cheeky af he uses his position as a ‘brother’ to convey certain patriarchal dynamics whilst being most unbrotherly like when he asks them to take their clothes off. Whatever his angle, it wasn’t as innocent as it would seem with his emotive culturally familiar language, it just makes it even more despicable.

When they do this, recycle ‘scandals’ like these, I cannot help but wonder what they are trying to cover up. It is sensationalised and it’s difficult not to get swept up by it, rage is renewed, the facts are distorted some more until it feels like it only just happened yesterday. How many thousands of victims of white grooming gangs are currently suffering unimaginable cruelty because we’re all focused on a particular kind of rapist? When they do come forward they get accused of only doing it for the money or attention, no one ever believes them. This should be an obvious double standard, plain for everyone to see.

Don’t be a racist collaborator, Maajid, it never ends well, & fucking well answer my tweets.

Asian Woman Doesn’t Speak For Me

In 2010 I finally found the courage to turn my back on a toxic relationship I had suffered for 5 years. As an historic victim of child abuse with toxic internalised object relations, I had very little experience of healthy interaction within an intimate setting (my father was extremely abusive to my mother) I was hardwired to experience negative emotions in a positive light. My brain translated fear/anxiety into excitement. The very early interactions you have in a romantic relationship, unspoken even, determine whether you give someone a chance and if I’d been just like any other young woman in her 20s with a secure attachment to her early caregivers I would have given this man a wide berth. Unfortunately, I was not, and I was already in too deep the first time he revealed his true nature.

When people suggest victims of abuse could leave if it really was that bad, they are in fact suggesting they do not believe the victim. I tried, many times, to break it off, run as far as I could but abusers know you have nowhere to go, it is in fact one of the things that attracts them to you in the first place, not so much the neon sign on your forehead asking for trouble but the vulnerability we carry all around us, the sadness that seeps through and the need we have to fill all the empty spaces with love, whatever the cost. Estranged from my family, whom I’d fled to escape abuse, I found myself leaping out of the frying pan into the fryer, barely a year into the relationship, when he ‘put his foot down’ and decided he would no longer pander to me, because I had asked him to rinse the bath out after he was done.

Abusers know you have no recourse so they do what they like. They use your body, place their own thoughts and feelings in your brain, pushing yours into the furthest recesses where you can’t find them so easily, gaslighting you until you don’t know who you are anymore. You forget who you are, in a bid to keep them happy, because you know they’re capable of love and empathy, that’s how they draw you in, and you can’t help but wish it will be like that again someday. In the course of an abusive relationship a part of you dies forever. For what it’s worth I am glad that part of me is dead and buried, I was afforded the opportunity to be born again, in a sense. I am at peace with the fact my 20s were destroyed by this leech of a man who did not deserve me. One of the lasting memories I have, if only because of how ironic, is of various male friends of my exes crowing in disbelief he’d managed to score a girl like me. Of course, it was all done in the name of ‘banter’ and whilst I am not personally an advocate for jokes that make no one laugh but insult often vulnerable people, it did cheer me up and now I know they were telling the truth, which is probably why he used to get so upset back then and scream at them he had me cos he was worth it.

You might be wondering why I am bringing this reprobate up now, 7 years after I washed my hands of him. When feminists talk about domestic abuse in the context of gendered relationships, a binary set up, usually with one person in a traditionally male role and their partner female, this dynamic also being prevalent in homosexual relationships, we are keen to illustrate the difference in how this abuse is perpetrated because it matters. It matters in a society where opponents of feminism will accuse women of holding equal structural power and control and being just as likely to commit domestic abuse and get away with it. This is simply not true, gendered violence against women is encouraged in a patriarchal system. The penalties for gendered violence are poor, conviction rates abysmal and support is hard to come by. The rate for repeat offence is the highest in domestic abuse, compared to all other crimes. 76% of victims/survivors will endure further violence for daring to leave. There are many ways men continue to control women they believe to be their property, sometimes many years after the relationship broke down, directly but also indirectly, affecting your future relationships and career even.

This is where my ex Shihab Salim Joi creeps in. Despite his unacceptable behaviour during and shortly after our split, using gendered slurs against me, saying I was a slut for e.g. and good for nothing else he had the audacity to ask me for information regarding a book he was thinking of writing. He wanted to write about domestic abuse refuges and what could go wrong, and wanted to pick my brain for insider information. Obviously I said no. He promised me exposure, as though it was the magic word that would erase memories of him domestically abusing me (most of it was mental/financial/sexual but he thumped me a couple of times). I put *my* foot down and told him to get stuffed.

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A few years later, I was googling myself (at least I’m honest) when I saw a link to Asian Woman Magazine which confused me, I had written stuff for Asiana but that was when I was still dating the editor, Shihab Salim, his work for Asian Woman was definitely post-split, after he’d been made redundant as a victim of the credit crunch. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read what it said. Not only had someone used my name and job description from Asiana, I was the ‘agony aunt’ for a bit, they had given out the kind of advice an abuser would deem suitable. As a staunch feminist who hates most men I am hardly going to advise you pander to any manz fragile ego. If these shoddy little men can’t get a grip on their own toxic masculinity I would advise you kick their asses to the kerb and let them cry wank into the night, you are worth more than some man child who missed out on key developmental stages and really just wants you to be his mum. THIS is why I have written this post. When you google my name, or Shihab’s I want this link to show up too.

I contacted Issuu who said they cannot amend or delete any content without the publisher’s consent but the publisher/editor is as elusive as Wally, in that I can’t find her, even though her name is all over the internet. I can’t/won’t submit a DMCA request because copyright infringement would mean they used words I’d written without my consent and I want it noted I most definitely did not write the frankly, badly written frottage of an excuse for journalism published by J Wimal, clearly without editing, otherwise she would have known I wasn’t at all involved in Shihab’s shameless display of male entitlement and indirect harassment.

It has been 7 years and I am still having to deal with this man turd and his attempts to control my opportunities. This is why women don’t leave. We’re afraid they’ll carry out threats to destroy us, our reputations (as it is in my case), or even our lives, the 52 women murdered by their intimate partners every year a testament to this, for daring to think of themselves for a change, for saying enough is enough.

UPDATE: Issuu have quarantined the offending article as the publisher appears to have deleted their details from the Issuu database. Thank you to Jonas at Issuu for taking my concerns on board.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I will never cease to be amazed at the lies people tell, even when you have evidence to the contrary. What is going on in that tiny little brain of yours Shihab? Is it perhaps a barely veiled threat to out me, giving the name on my passport without my permission (kinda your MO), as though you can scare me into a corner in defense of my anonymity? You were one of the people who convinced me to change my name! You said you wouldn’t employ anyone who sounded like they might wear a hijab and suggested I include a photo of myself with my CV.

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That’s really odd, because if you really are telling the truth here that’d mean you also used my image without my permission.

It behooves you to tell the truth as it happened, Shihab, lies always have a way of unraveling themselves.

Poor Shihab, leaving a trail of angry ex girlfriends in his wake, when he is just a kind and decent sort. I’m not the first to say he’s an abuser, and I won’t be the last. I have plenty more evidence should anyone require it. You won’t take me to court because you’ll lose. Just saying.

The Unabashed Racist Sexism of Twitter

Twitter has locked me out of my account today because of this tweet:

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They say it violates their rules and I have to delete it before they’ll reinstate me but I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to delete it because Twitter allows these people even after they make personal threats against me:

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I get emails informing me that personal threats to find/kill/rape me and racist/sexist bullying doesn’t violate anything to their mind so I’m not going to play this game where they want me to submit despite the many levels of hell I’ve endured.

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Twitter is a platform for entitled white men. They’ve used it to racially sexually harass me ever since I first joined. I stopped expecting their outrage on my behalf a long time ago, what I am perplexed by on this occasion is the insistence that I can make it all go away if I just delete what I said, to take it back, to erase it. No, I will not. That tweet was in response to a white male who wanted to take pictures of my ‘pretty Arab feet’ from which I might make more money than my ‘crappy self named blog’ who’d referred to me as a cunt and a whore and other racially motivated slurs yet managed to retain his account.

I had threatened to raise hell if Twitter took issue with my use of the phrase ‘kill all men’ as it did when it blocked a woman of colour for using it recently so Twitter chose to make an example over a different sentiment.

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I don’t want to use a platform that is so blatantly skewed towards entitled white men. Like fuck them. I do however want to hit them where it hurts. Solidarity can be costly, it can keep us from doing all the things we so enjoy, in support of our principles, but it’s one of the only good things we have right now. I urge you to log out, if not for me then yourself, because this medium is a means of white supremacist control. It was an ordeal ridding myself of my FB account some months ago now but it was the best decision I ever made, standing up to an enabler of racist/sexist abuse. They justify their behaviour because of our continued reliance on their services despite the ways in which they use and sell us out.

As @qqasim89 says in his letter to Twitter “Banning a few prominent “alt-right” users is simply not good enough because you are now doing half the job for them by banning the active resistance. Please reinstate @SamAmbreen_ and make it clear that defending yourself is not a crime” because if they do not do this and I comply with their unreasonable request they have disempowered me and reinforced the message that entitled white males are free to do as they wish with the rest of us and there isn’t a thing we can do about it. Is this our reality now?

(If we normally keep in touch via Twitter, leave me a message in the comments below instead, I will be here for the foreseeable)

The Politics of Violence Against Women

As a survivor of domestic violence and a repeat victim of online harassment and abuse, neither of which were acknowledged by the authorities or the commentariat responsible for throwing me to the trolls in the first place, I am angry but also demoralised by the display of ignorance and entitlement our feminist women MPs have treated us to the last few weeks.

Lucy Allan the Conservative member of parliament for Telford was found to have lied about the death threat she allegedly received in response to the fact she’d voted to bomb Syria. Similarly Stella Creasy lamented the ‘call doxxing’ she’d clearly imagined being as there is no such thing. Doxxing is what happens when someone trawls the Internet for your home and work details, pasting them online so that anyone can access your private information. Trolls and those with actual criminal intent (to rape or kill) are then free to hunt you down and hurt you. This hasn’t happened to Stella and even if it did the police would do their jobs, unlike the reality for the majority of victims who are not permitted to even defend themselves with words because it shows they weren’t frightened or intimidated by the perpetrator. Victim blaming aside, in my personal experience the authorities pass the buck on whose duty of care it is to safeguard vulnerable people online. If you’re an MP though, the cops are answerable to you, it’d be more than their job’s worth to treat the elite the way they do the rest of us plebs so to use this language not only incorrectly but to suggest there is no recourse is a blatant lie, especially when someone has already been jailed for getting on Creasy’s privileged side.

Siobhan McDonagh, another Labour MP claimed the attacks on her were comparable to domestic abuse, using emotive language in order to appeal for sympathy because we do care about victims in this country. Domestic abuse is so called because it happens in the home. It is where one person lives in fear of another, a relation, intimate partner, regardless of gender. It is not at all comparable to the righteous condemnation that goes hand in hand with being a representative for the people, particularly when you’re not doing a very good job of listening to your constituents. How do these MPs suggest we behave given that we’re being sold down the river for objecting to more war (and a million other policies) by these elitist warmongering neolibs?

However their words have not had the desired effect, instead survivors have expressed their dismay and unease at this appropriation of survivor language by women who should definitely know better. Why aren’t they trained in women’s issues, how can they be unaware of the ways in which patriarchy denies justice to victims on the basis that “women lie”? When one woman makes a false allegation of anything that is viewed within society as a women’s issue, it has a knock on effect for us all. It’s sad and unfair but a fact that whenever we do make progress we do so for the whole of womankind. Similarly when one of us fucks up, we make things difficult for all.

When Jeremy Corbyn was voted in as leader we were told how unfeminist it was to overlook the female candidates but the feminists themselves don’t understand how unfeminist it is to use these particular words in the wrong context, when so many women are denied justice.

Please stop using the words we use to describe our lived experiences. As marginalised people we need them to describe the actual things we suffer without justice and for people to understand what those experiences mean. To undermine this language is to undermine the work we do in the community and online to raise awareness of violence against women, something of which I’m sure the capitalist fems haven’t the slightest clue.

(To bomb Syria, where there will most likely be women and children is a feminist issue but then white feminism was adamant race wasn’t a feminist issue at all so they’re hardly going to join the dots here)

Shout your abortion

Following the campaign to defund Planned Parenthood services in America (state funded), abortion activists took to Twitter with the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion to counter the arguments made by zealous anti choicers. If you’ve ever followed the ever present attacks on family planning or been involved in actions to support your local abortion clinic you’ll have been confronted by some very strange people indeed. With this in mind I knew that tweeting in solidarity would provoke a backlash, I just wasn’t as prepared for the kinds of things completely random people on the internet would say to me (and me, a seasoned survivor of trolls).

I tweeted:

I didn’t say I’d had an abortion or that I agreed or disagreed with termination (for the record, it’s your body, your choice) but I knew it would reach those people whose lives it had saved, at least those who acknowledged the established life within the pregnant person carrying a promise of potential life (20% of first time pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion, 80% of those before 12 weeks gestation), which is in no way a baby or a person (person being a societal construct). When a foetus is squatting in your uterus it does not cancel out the life already in existence, without which the foetus wouldn’t exist at all. Bizarrely this fact seems to have escaped these people.

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Nope, not what I said at all

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Logic clearly evades you for refusing to accept there is life in the person carrying the foetus.

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This tweet is particularly interesting because it feeds into the idea that pregnancy is essentially a woman’s fault. By opening my legs I am consenting to a foetus being installed in there. If this person could acknowledge the sperm provider and the condom issue many men have (yeah sure, they’re ‘too tight’) and spread that responsibility about a bit I’d be less inclined to believe they were woman hating scum.

For example all these people with their righteous war on people who carry foetuses (I doubt very much any of these people has even considered the fact that other genders are also capable of pregnancy, this is a specific hatred driven at cis women for not being masculine/male/patriarchal).

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The idea that all unwanted pregnancies can be attributed to selfish promiscuous women is entirely misogynistic and anti woman. These people would probably accuse a woman of entrapment if she happened to get pregnant and wanted to *keep* the foetus. Similarly there is no sympathy for women choosing to abort because their life depends on it. Going back to my original tweet, I said it because I used to work as an advocate for women in abusive relationships and have seen firsthand the violence inflicted on women for being pregnant in the first place. 30% of all domestic abuse begins in pregnancy. This is because the pregnant partner is suddenly vulnerable and dependent. Controlling abusive people use this to their advantage. It’s not uncommon for perps to threaten forced miscarriage, the idea that they put the foetus in there and they can also take it out should the victim refuse their every whim. There are people who cannot grasp the complexity of human relationships, and crisis points, relationship breakdowns, never mind the systems we have created to control people according to kyriarchy so it is a bit of a reach on my part to expect compassion.

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You are not representative of almost 8 billion people worldwide.

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76% of women faced a further incident of violence for having the audacity to leave. The period after a survivor leaves the perp is the most dangerous, “if you leave I will hunt you down and kill your kids”. 

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This guy thinks we should run all decisions by him because it’s all about him. It’s not and he is nobody.

This assertion that complete strangers have of themselves as the saviours of the unborn would have more merit if they were willing to consider the life of the pregnant person but they cease to be human from the point of conception instead acting as a vessel for the precious new life everyone’s going to forget about once it moves out of the uterus. The pregnant person will be left with the foetus they did not want.. What’s that you say?

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Complete strangers think it’s ok to tell me to sacrifice my body and wallow in the guilt of my unwanted pregnancy which I’ll then have to hand over to a stranger, the system, uncertainty. Pregnancy can be life threatening, from the phsyical difficulties to the mental strain it can put on a person, no one has the right to torture you for having the misfortune of being born with a uterus. If pregnancy doesn’t kill you then labour might. Cis men have no say in the abortion debate because they will never carry a foetus or suffer the fallout if things go wrong. The reason they are so vocal on the anti-choice scene is because they are redundant if they do not exert patriarchal power and control. They won’t ever create life so they control it.

From the frightening to the downright ridiculous, opponents of bodily autonomy reveal more about themselves than the people they target, they’re nosy and perverse, poking around in strange uteri.

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Ah, Americans.

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I keep looking for the illegal thing I’m supposed to have said but to no avail.

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If a person is feeling suicidal cos they’ve been forcibly impregnated, an abortion is life saving and I would go as far as saying therapeutic in terms of their recovery, and regaining control of their own life.

Every single one of these people and the many I didn’t document failed to see the hypocrisy in their words. The life of the foetus cancels out the life of the person carrying it, without whom the foetus wouldn’t exist at all. Personally I’m not here to change your thoughts on abortion or bring you round to my superior way of thinking – something anti-choicers may want to examine in themselves – but to ask you to cast the first stone only when you can say you are completely sin free.

Also, this stance on abortion seems to be as far as they’ve got in terms of a world view and how that actually works in practice. They’re all ‘save the foetuses’ but how many of these advocates shared the same enthusiasm for the precious lives of Syria’s existing children, rejected by Europe, asleep in the freezing cold, barely surviving? Or the fully formed babies with given names blown to pieces in Palestine? How about the severely disfigured infants of Fallujah? Selective outrage makes a mockery of the whole pro-life movement. The planet is exhausted by our reproductive efforts, live viable children are treated as though vermin, domestic abuse blights the lives of some of those foetuses saved by those ignorant of life in its entirety, yet hellbent on power and control. That’s all it is.

Virginity is a patriarchal construct

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(Originally posted here)

It’s difficult to call but I often wonder about the worst places to be a woman on earth. It’s easy enough to point the finger at those oddballs who don’t look like us but there are some issues that pop up wherever one might be based. For some inexplicable reason a woman’s worth is based on the thin membrane near the entrance to her vagina. Some people are born without a hymen, and for those people I fear the worst. How do they prove they haven’t engaged in premarital sex?

An Islamic college in Australia is under investigation for excluding girls from running competitions because it may damage their hymens. They call this ‘losing your virginity’. Do they have a similar ruling on tampons, or is that an icky women’s subject no one wishes to discuss? This concept of losing something taboo isn’t necessarily Islamic in nature, we use this phrase all over the world to indicate that a person has finally had sex and cannot be classed a virgin anymore, or ‘pure’ and ‘innocent’ as many cultures in the east and the west seem to suggest with all the focus on virginity, and slags; women who choose to sleep around in the same way men feel entitled to do so. Men are not judged in the same way when they have sex for the first time. The female partner, even if she is more experienced, will not be taking his virginity in the same way patriarchy takes virginity from women. This is a construct. Males are not taking anything, if anything, they are throwing their own genitalia into the mix.

For patriarchy to maintain power and control, through shame and judgment, they applied destructive emotions to an act to make it seem unequal, to place a value on a human body part that will dictate the level of respect you afford not only the person it belongs to but all the members of their family. Bizarre, no? This is why I brought up the example regarding those born without a hymen, just like there are some assigned male infants born without foreskins, are these people born untouchables, impure and unchaste? Have they been sent here with instructions on how to treat them as people unworthy of honour, being as there is nothing to ‘break’ or ‘take’? Perhaps it is permissible for such people to run to their hearts content, safe in the knowledge their genitals will not be torn asunder from the strain of a relay race.

Rules and regulations on what is deemed acceptable behaviour for females, posited by males is a time honoured tradition that is as batshit as it sounds, especially when considering the dishonest notions applied to our bodies. In some cultures, the hymen is irrelevant compared to the ‘gaping sleeve’ a vagina poses. To protect these women’s honour, they are butchered and stitched together again, leading to infertility and fatality for many. These arbitrary cultural practices are borne from the same twisted minds (not God) that blame women for being temptresses and witches for beguiling rapists into committing sin, by ‘taking’ and ‘breaking’ a thing they believe controls them, and their access to honour in a man’s world. It has no place in the 21st century when so many of us are standing up for the rights to our own bodies; rejecting the controls patriarchy and in some cases the state, has on our bodies. Why is it anyone else’s business what sits inside your pants?

Perversion and deviance in young people isn’t something you can prevent by being a perverted deviant in your beliefs about vaginas you have no business poking around in. Perversely, by administering a virginity check, a practice employed even by the British Home Office in the late 70s, you are actually ‘taking’ and ‘breaking virginity’ as it is defined in your head. It is the people with designs on the contents of your pants who maintain patriarchy and allow for rapists to rape, and get away with it. For as long as we place the burden of chastity and decency on a tag of skin, we allow for violence against women to flourish.

Happy International Emancipated Womanist Day

Every year I think about what I’m going to do for my international women’s day post and each time I spend far longer than is necessary thinking of a suitable introduction. Wishing you a happy one never seems right, it doesn’t feel like a day for celebration rather one where we honour those who’ve died at the hands of the patriarchy by never forgetting their names and the authorities that failed them, and the struggle that continues for many more women just like them; the ones who suffer in their homes (never mind the sexual harassment in the work place, educational institutions and streets).

Over 2 years ago I wrote a piece where I pleaded with white feminists to acknowledge the rape culture on our own doorstep and whilst it received positive attention initially, certain white women became overly focused on the word ‘white’ than the double standards I was intending to highlight. That was the last time Caroline Criado Perez said anything nice to me before she proceeded to explain away my concerns as though I was just being sensitive to an otherwise sound ally who wasn’t just fishing for cookies.

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It was when I had my first run in with Helen Lewis too, she’d read my blog and agreed I’d made some good points but she’d already commissioned an Indian woman to talk about the rape problem India has as a nation. They failed to see how they were being racist by contributing to the narrative of eastern savages whilst erasing the truly brutal incidences of gang rape in the UK. They refused to acknowledge me as a woman with a foot in both worlds, belonging in neither, brimming with criticisms of patriarchy whatever the colour of his skin. Perhaps this is why Lewis chose to stamp me out before I could do any real damage to her superiority.

If my experiences of physical and sexual violence were inadequate (how, I don’t quite understand, am I not a fucking woman?) then surely my experience as a women’s worker assisting victims of male violence would be all the qualifications I’d need?

issues

No, even when you have the expertise of a career, training in awareness and advocacy and almost a decade’s worth of professional experience you can be dismissed and discredited as someone with a chip on their shoulder because you dared challenge the status quo. I challenged white supremacy and the same women (and men) castigating us for speaking up about abusive women (cos cisterhood) then made a very public example of me and the violence they enabled hasn’t relented since. You all know this story.

At any time any one of these white media ‘feminists’ could have advocated for me. But y’see they responded that it wasn’t about me cos I’m not a woman? People like Laura Bates freely admitted to not even knowing what feminism was before they were discovered online yet her feminism is more valid than mine; a queer disabled femme presenting woman of colour with working class roots and historical abusers intermittently threatening my personal space and sanity. Laurie Penny lends her support with the caveat that Helen Lewis is an inspiration (she uses the same words every time) for all similarly minded ignorant arrogant white feminists and we should stop bullying her cos her fragile mental health never once hearing the agony we express at their treatment of us. The ways in which these women have personally silenced me, having once been ‘comrades’ on the same side, triggers the same PTSD response in me that I feel whenever I run into an old abuser. My blood turns cold and I get a stabbing pain in my chest. The room sways. I feel the tears prick my eyes and the sinking sensation in my gut that the privileged will never face the consequences of their cruelty and hypocrisy. The fact that I know, and they know but no one else seems to care or notice.. It’s the same physiological reaction in me.

Tell me, what space should I occupy? At one time I was an operational asset, recruited to represent the ethnic division of the ill fated Feminist Party but picking that apart was the beginning of the end when I realised I could no longer ignore the injustice for my own place at the table. Pariah I may be, but I live each day with integrity, truth and humility. I have been accused of believing my own hype (cos I let men abuse me so that I could build a career on it later) and also of not being very intelligent or worthy but also super smart and privileged when they pretend they don’t believe your story (we exemplify rape culture in this country).

So it is with this in mind that I want to emancipate myself from a movement within which I have no voice. It’s not for my lack of trying, look, I told you 3 years ago the movement was fractured and we’d lose it if we weren’t honest with ourselves. I’ve had enough of feeling my heart break whenever a feminist I looked up to comes out as a transphobe or a polarising token. I cannot say there are more good feminists than there are bad. I cannot in good faith ally myself with a corrupt, vindictive subset of women wearing their £45 ‘this is what a feminist looks like’ t-shirt on behalf of us all, for all those who cannot access the internet and seek their own truth. I realise now that many of the reactions I’ve had for identifying as a feminist comes from the image the world has of feminism; white women behaving like entitled white men to the detriment of us lesser beings.

Happy International Emancipated Womanist Day from me, an ex-feminist who finally gets she can never be a feminist, not like they want me to be.

(I dedicate this post to all the Muslim women suffering at the hands of white men and feminists claiming race is not a feminist issue)