violence against women

Interview on the Headscarf ‘Ban’

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)

Jo Cox’s death was entirely preventable

Update: Jo was due to report on the 80% rise in Islamophobic attacks, mostly against women. I believe this attack was planned and she was targeted by the far right specifically.

As the nation waited with bated breath to hear whether Jo Cox MP would survive the gun and knife attack she was subjected to by right wing terrorist Thomas Mair, journalists busied themselves with the sort of apologism we have come to expect from them. Despite numerous eyewitness reports from the scene of the crime confirming the attacker had shouted ‘Britain First’, right wing and neoliberal quarters of the British press refused to acknowledge the white supremacist fascism they personally enabled in the backlash to the murder of Lee Rigby.

In the 3 years since he was brutally murdered, hundreds if not thousands of innocent Muslims, mainly women, children and the elderly have been targeted by right wing extremists the length and breadth of our sinking island. Tell Mama has provided us with reports every step of the way, they have advocated on behalf of many victims, a service that is valued and necessary given that people of colour have a general mistrust of the police, an institution not exactly lauded for its handling of hate crimes against non whites. I knew the police would refuse me support when I reported the many incidents of racist abuse and threats to kill me, but I did it anyway for the paper trail, and to prove to everyone I was doing everything in my power to keep safe. When the police blocked me on Twitter and sent me an informal caution for my political beliefs I knew then the impact this inaction would have on wider society.

They, the media and people with all the power and control would have us believe I am a nothing and a nobody therefore it does not matter that my concerns were not taken seriously. However it gave the people making threats against me the green light to continue. They also targeted others.

Injustice has a domino effect. First they come for one and if there is no resistance they come back for the others. When Muhsin Ahmed lost his life to white supremacist terrorism, some parts of the UK did feel the pain and suffering his family were condemned to endure. I felt it, Tell Mama felt it. It quickly dissipated though, because Muhsin Ahmed was also considered a nothing, a nobody, by the majority of Britons who either didn’t know, or just didn’t care. More casualties of right wing terrorism followed, the severity of attacks escalated, the growing fear in minority communities went largely ignored. Nahid Almanea was murdered by a right wing terrorist simply for wearing Islamic dress, but watch the opponents of hjiab shrug off the notion that hate filled rhetoric leads to actual violence against minorities on the ground. So they hurt more people, then some more until yesterday when a ‘lone wolf’ assassinated a person no one could ignore; a serving British MP, a white woman, a treasured citizen in British society.

He yelled ‘Britain First’ as he launched a savage attack against Jo, a known advocate for community cohesiveness. Britain First, the white supremacist terrorist militia immediately denied any involvement in the attack, despite the fact they were specifically named and had also just conducted a knife training workshop for their terrorist members. Whether or not Mair was personally known to them (putting) Britain First is a core objective for hateful little British Nazis. He was at the very least influenced by this selfish notion, if not by the organisation then the headlines feeding the hate train, and manifestos like this, from the supposedly non racist Tory party.

The murder of Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen should strike fear in all our hearts. The right wing terrorists have moved on to suffocating the moderates on ‘their own side’. White supremacists will target other white people, those they consider race traitors, because they are the people best placed to protect minorities. It’s supposed to serve as a warning to others. It only happened because the warning signs were not heeded and the fascist threat was allowed to flourish.

Brexit was not the cause of the attack on Jo Cox, it was merely a catalyst. The Thames boat debacle only added to the confusion. Brexit is the logical conclusion to years of kowtowing to the fascist right, when politicians allegedly left of centre were suddenly espousing right wing ideas. Racism never goes away, it is only controlled or allowed to thrive unchallenged. Journalists, on ‘The Left’ all the way to the unapologetic sadistic right are the only ones with the power to change discourse. They have the power to create a just and equal society instead they purposefully harness the hate bubbling under the surface and legitimise it. Racial slurs have no place in print. Fascist free speech does not trump the right to life for anyone deemed ‘other’. Denial of cause and effect leads only to more violence, more horror. Denial will mean more deaths.

‘Confronting’ random women is called street harassment

All too often I use this blog to rage about all the bastards in the world but today I’m going to engage in some unprecedented activity (like the badass ex Muslim I am) and actually thank some of you for doing your human duty. If I’d had you Twitter treasures on the bus that time I was racially abused I’d probably still feel ok to go out on my own. On that occasion 50 odd people chose to laugh at my pleas for help. They fell on the side of the racist who’d just called me a Paki bitch for ignoring his sexual harassment. The packed top deck of a London bus, in Kilburn, a multicultural area, at 3am, and not one person thought it unacceptable I’d been targeted for racist and sexist harassment. Even the other poc on the bus looked away, a black man shook his head and looked at his feet. Luckily my white best friend was there to slap the offender and stand in his way so he couldn’t actually physically reach me.

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When Matthew Doyle tweeted this, whatever his intentions, he had assumed solidarity from Twitter. The majority of people I follow were still reeling from #StopIslam which was trending in the UK yesterday following the Brussels attacks but it was trending for a reason, a significant number of my fellow citizens/twitterers are in fact white supremacists, even if they do not think of themselves as racist. With this in mind, Doyle tweeted his encounter with a random Muslim woman on the street in which he demanded an explanation for Brussels. What he wasn’t expecting was for common sense to prevail and for people to afford that woman the humanity and dignity each and every single one of us deserves; the right to exist free from harm and collective punishment.

On seeing that tweet my heart fell, my initial reaction isn’t anger as you might expect of me. I ALWAYS feel toxic shame first, a latent trickle of self hate and abject fear, I feel intensely vulnerable, then apprehensive because I was still unsure of how Twitter would react. How many times have we said x is racist only for the fair, well meaning apologists to deny/erase our perspectives? On this occasion though, I felt buoyed by the outright repulsion for this man and his bigoted actions.

Thank you friends, allies, comrades for showing me that there are some of us at least who took on board what it is to be human, that we can be outraged on the behalf of a woman none of us personally know, who might not even exist, because whether she does or not it’s the absolute right thing to do, especially when many more suffer incidents like this in their day to day dealings with the Great British public. Every. Single. Day. Every time there is a terror attack the media reporting provokes/incites a wave of increasingly violent attacks on women like me, because white men like Doyle are too cowardly to pick on someone their own size. He calls himself a feminist and I guess he can; telling Muslim women what to wear *is* the white feminist’s modus operandi, I just wish they’d stop pretending they see us as equals.

On a final note it is worth mentioning that there were still some people on ‘our side’ who thought that tweet wasn’t real or else intended to be a ‘joke’ or *insert well meaning excuse here* just not what we as people of colour say it is. Nice middle class white people, why do you still refuse to listen? People have been murdered in this country for being brown or ‘looking Muslim’ these past few years and still you think we’re just making it up, or overreacting? You cannot tackle a problem until you call it what it is. Doyle tweeted it in all seriousness then backtracked when he realised people were upset but changed his mind again, perhaps galvanised by incoming tweets of racist solidarity.

When you deny the experiences of the people living it, it only gets worse.

Traditionally submissive.. bollocks

I cannot be the only woman troubled by the audacity of white men. I cannot be the only person in the world to feel contempt for the white men who target brown and black women in racist crusades to provoke the men they ‘belong’ to, a retaliation that would be deemed fair and necessary if men of colour were targeting white women (see Rotherham). These tit for tat childish penis wars must stop (and it is white women alone who can make it happen).

The prime minister of Great Britain has commanded ‘traditionally submissive’ women do xyz in a bid to curb terrorism. They must learn to speak English because apparently not speaking the language can fire wannabe terrorists into action. This idea can be applied universally, after all there are many ‘native’ English speakers who cannot write/speak English very well at all, and you tend to find them at fascist demos where their sole purpose is to strike terror into the hearts of ethnic minorities but the key difference is we don’t blame the mothers of the EDL for their brutish comical ways, we lay blame squarely at the feet of the government which knowingly incites violent hatred between marginalised groups.

This attack on women of colour (mainly) has been relentless of late. Muslim women are ‘traditionally submissive’, they do not have agency so cannot make decisions on how to dress themselves, and if they do not learn English they can be held personally accountable for the radicalisation of their kids. It’s like feminism died and made white man ruler of the world. White feminists think this is a separate issue because they agree with white men that woc are submissive and downtrodden. They treat us as such themselves. They, like white men, want to tell us what to do and how to do it. Not only do we need saving but we must bow to the superiority of white feminism and let them do things the way they always have. This domineering behaviour is the fault of the control freaks in power not the people who are trying desperately to avoid conflict for fear of another war. Given the escalation in actual incidents of violence against (primarily) Muslim women, the narrative trickling down from the top ensures this will continue. If there were any cowardly racists unaware of the traditional submissiveness of Muslim women, the PM has issued a timely reminder they are there should one feel the need for an unprovoked racist misogynistic attack. They are in effect blaming women for the abuses carried out against them, and setting the stage for all future attacks.

All feminists, whether corporate or otherwise should be outraged at this.

We live in times shockingly reminiscent of a past we were not there to see yet heard about in great detail because learning and raising consciousness was supposed to free us from the evil perpetrated against humans by other humans for being a little different. ‘Never again’ loses all meaning when yet again, the most vulnerable in our society are being marked out for easy identification. Asylum seekers – another group of humans forsaken by Fortress Europe – need our love and space to heal not wristbands and red doors, markers that have already seen violence inflicted on these people we should be protecting. The Jewish people who perished in the Holocaust wore yellow stars, an eblem for the purpose of easy identification, which is how authorities are explaining away the modern day symbols of oppression. Do not be the person who tells their grandkids “you just did what you were told”, that excuse does not fly in a humane and civilised society. Nor does “we didn’t know” because we have been telling you this will happen for some years now and instead we were vilifed, silenced, marked out as bullies. It doesn’t change the fact we were right.

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The denial of power and control dynamics by our ‘lefties’ who are really ‘righties’ has enabled the shift in public consciousness so that it’s ok to dehumanise a whole race. I haven’t been a Muslim for decades but have always hoped I’d find my way back to God, largely due to the atheist scene. However I will defend Muslims as though I am practising as one myself because the white supremacists sees me as one of them. We’re all exactly like the others. I do not wear a hijab and I speak perfect English in as standard an accent as you can get but I am still targeted by racists. It is with this in mind, I call to the white feminists of the 21st century in a plea to shut ‘their white men’ the fuck up. I’d really rather not play this ownership game but white people seem determined to target women when it is really the men they are afraid of so I’m gonna give it a go.

Words lose all meaning when you are confronted by the reality of this world. We can pretend the privileges afforded to a handful are representative of the world in general but sincerely, from my rung all the way down here, we have broken this world with our bullshit. The cheek of this man to suggest it is Muslim women who exemplify traditionally submissive women.. have you seen his wife?

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)

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.