He Said (TW)

HE accused my 16 year old virginal mother of maliciously impregnating herself.

HE demanded she abort but changed his mind on hearing two heartbeats instead of one.

HE read the Azaan into my ears and shaved the baby bird down on my head.

HE said to speak against my elders meant I was evil and a slap on my 3 year old face would rectify this.

HE said I couldn’t wear shorts cos my five year old legs were too tempting.

HE said I could not play sport cos the shape of my vulva was on display.

HE said a bike would damage my virginity.

HE said to speak to boys was confirmation I was a slag

HE said I mustn’t speak to the white kids cos then I was just as bad as them.

HE said I must learn this alien language and chant with perfect enunciation and THEN God would love me.

HE said if I refused I would burn in Hell’s eternal fires.

HE said the angels on my shoulders would weigh my heart against my deeds and then I would be judged.

HE said I was mother’s daughter which of course was proof that I was a slag.

HE said that I purposely lost the £5 I was supposed to give to the mosque.

HE watched in delight as my family slapped me in front of him.

HE said I was the best in my Arabic class. Maybe that’s why HE would slap me across my developing chest. Maybe that’s why HE would run his hand along the length of my thigh.

HE said I wasn’t the pretty twin but more academic instead. My puppy fat was confirmation of this.

HE said I was an ‘earthquake’ a ‘bulldozer’ and ‘the Himalayas’ when my body went through the first change.

HE said I was hairy and ugly and a bit mannish with my deep husky voice.

HE said I would burn in Hell-fire for wearing my fashionable cross.

HE said someone ought to teach me a lesson for eating the wrong kind of meat.

HE gave me a glare when I ordered my alcopop and the look that said he’d see me later when I questioned the pint in his hand.

HE responded he ‘didn’t remember’ when I said I would make him pay for what he had done to me.

HE blamed it all on my fantastical teenage head.

HE laughed as he fought us children off and away from our mother.

HE thought it was funny when we sprang to her defence.

HE said I would burn in hell when I challenged God and spat that he really didn’t exist.

HE said he’d have to teach me a lesson, I said “come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough”.

HE yelped in pain when I bit him on the nose and it hurt when the punches rained down but inside I was smiling because I had finally hurt HIM. HE was getting weaker.

Or I was getting stronger.

HE tried to knock down the door to my safe place and I called the police on him instead. HE was told to leave or HE would be going to jail so HE did but HE never let me forget this.

HE tried to kiss me when I was just 15. HE told me no one would believe me if I ever told the truth.

HE said he’d heard I was a slag so HE thought HE’d give it a go.

HE found me with some of my innocence intact and proceeded to chip away at what was left.

HE would cry and beg forgiveness for attempting to penetrate me without my consent.

HE used me, pushed me around, and turned all my friends against me.

HE told me I wasn’t pretty enough to be his main girl. HE said it was my own entire fault.

HE said his mother was a ‘vessel’.

HE would ‘share’ me one day with his friend. HE didn’t even deny it when I said that it was rape.

HE knew I was broken and that’s the only reason HE made any impact at all. If I saw HIM now, I would laugh in his face.

HE would promise the world but never deliver.

HE would tell me I was the prettiest girl in the room but at home he’d treat me like shit.

HE said I was mediocre and I’d never be anything but a girl from The Rock.

HE said work was more important, his friends were too and I would just have to like it or lump it.

HE said I was a slag, a whore and all the other things too.

HE said I was only good for a shag.

HE said my illness was all in my head. The mind being a powerful tool.

HE said he wouldn’t pander to me any more (there was pandering?)

HE would let his friends intimidate me.

HE didn’t bat an eyelid when some of them rubbed up against me, at full mast.

HE said I was lying when I disclosed advances from one of his other freak friends.

HE made me feel unsafe and uncared for.

HE denies it to this day. (There’s a pattern emerging here)

HE said he loved me but that wasn’t enough. HE said God’s love meant more.

HE said I was alright now I was on the ‘white side’.

HE said now he’d tried Asian, he’d never go back.

HE said he was only joking when he called me a slag and would apologise every time he’d say it but this wouldn’t stop him from saying it again.

HE tried to force me to do a job he thought would be good for me. A nursery nurse to his SAC.

HE said I was silly for thinking I was a feminist because I didn’t hate men.

HE said for us to be together, I’d have to follow him wherever his career took him.

HE didn’t like it when I said no.

HE would snarl and shout and make me feel small.

HE would scan my entire body for rogue solitary hairs and grimace as if they were the most disgusting thing he’d ever seen.

HE kept company with people who thought of me as nothing more than a Paki.

HE didn’t like being challenged. One day HE simply refused to pick up the phone.

I sold the diamond ring HE gave me.

HE said I wasn’t in any physical pain, despite the two operations I’d had on my back.

HE said I should think before I speak, my life’s woes were none of his business. HE just didn’t want to know.

HE said he understood my request for an open relationship but then changed his mind.

HE was either my lover exclusively or a therapist shagging some random girl.

HE has been standing over my shoulder, breathing down my neck before I was even born.

HE defines my role, my character, my options and my path.

HE’s not allowed into my life anymore but still, he lingers.

HE’s on my TV, on my street, in my dreams.

HE is always the same; it doesn’t matter what colour he is or how tall he might be.

HE is patriarchy and HE oppresses me.

The Atheist Delusion

I was 5 years old the first time I entered a mosque. As with every other situation in my young life, I wasn’t given a choice or informed about this new experience, I was simply led to this new building and I did what I was told to do. I learnt Arabic and Urdu, I wore a burqa and I memorised the last 30 surahs of the Quran. I didn’t exactly pray 5 times I day but my early years were spent in preparation for this. Even when I was asleep I would dream that one day I would do a pilgrimage to Mecca and all would become clear, I was somehow chosen and enlightened and my faith would get me through this, my living nightmare, because God knew and only He could make it go away.

My grandparents were staunch Muslims, or at least their definition of it. When I think about some of the cautionary tales told to me as a kid and how hungrily I lapped them up, I am amazed at myself that I am now a ‘non-believer’. Hellfire was a common feature. For the first decade of my life, I believed I had an angel on each shoulder, documenting all deeds good and evil. I was told we had to cover our hair was because otherwise Satan would urinate on it. I was told I couldn’t cut my hair because our religion forbade it. There were a million and one reasons to control every aspect of my life and I guess this is why I rebelled.

One of the first things to occur to me was the number of non-believers destined for Hell. I couldn’t understand why God, all knowing and omnipresent would condemn a large portion of his creation to destruction, in this way. What a waste of His time.  And if they merely existed to serve as reminder to us, the Chosen Ones, of how we must not stray, well, how is that even fair? Born to die for our sins. That’s just weird isn’t it? And the worse my life got, the more my innocence was chipped away, the less afraid I was to challenge God and seek answers. If it was God that created me then He created this desire for the truth and I didn’t believe God to be so tempestuous as to admonish me for needing to know. Anyway I was angry, he’d made me a girl and apparently girls weren’t worth a helluva lot.

I left my faith at the door of the last mosque I would ever attend. Aged just 10 I’d had enough of the Imam and his inappropriate use of my body. I was glad to be free. I would endure weeks of hurtful comments and physical abuse because I’d rejected my teaching, my family were none too happy about this. I was expected to memorise the whole of the Quran and bring praise on my family but I’d done the opposite. But I didn’t care. I was beyond all of it.

As an early teen, I’d sneer at the Muslim boys. I’d happily feed the little racists group about how I was more in control of my life as an atheist (though it was many more years before I would actually feel this way). That period of my life reminds me of Richard Dawkins. Smug, free, privileged, hurtful, bullying. I had this new found feeling of superiority, I’d cracked the God code and I was gonna laugh at everyone too stupid to figure out the truth. Except, I was a kid and I grew out of that phase. I met more people and realised the world was too big a place with too many different shades of everything to just conveniently slap one label on them all. I met Muslims I actually liked! And get this, Catholics! And all the other religions and ways of life. Because people, all the people on this lonely planet, are full of good and bad. Being atheist doesn’t give you a get out of jail free card, like somehow you can’t be hateful and controlling because it’s righteous hate and control, check yourself and your privilege and take it down a notch or ten.

Muslims slaughter their animals by slitting their throats? That’s common practice in non halal UK abattoirs. Yes, the animal is stunned first but stunning isn’t always accurate and are you telling me those animals don’t know they’re going to die? (Watch the series Kill it, Cook it, Eat it). And how dare one person killing and eating an animal tell another person their method is not to their liking? They’re all killing and eating animals, why is one worse than the other? Is it so convenient to tell half a truth to a sycophantic audience? It’s downright dangerous and he knows this.

I don’t like Richard Dawkins because he is just as bad as the fundos with their beards. He is in a position of great power and he uses this to control. How dare he try and define trauma for victims of sexual abuse? I’ve never heard a single survivor use the word ‘icky’ to describe a sexual violation. They haven’t just trodden in dog poo; they have been physically/sexually harmed. He is the voice of patriarchy and patriarchy is white and middle aged.

I don’t want him to speak for me.

Monotheism and the War on Women

“..Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you” Genesis 3:16

The Church of England is procrastinating whether women deserve equal promotion to senior clergy, initially proposing legislation that would mean “it would have enshrined in law the very prejudices against which supporters of female bishops have battled so long. It would, they say, create a two-tier system in which not only female bishops, but men who ordained women or who had themselves been ordained by women, would be considered second-rate.” Meanwhile in Afghanistan, Taliban tribesmen are using ‘Sharia’ law to execute women ‘accused’ of adultery. Religions the world over proclaim peace and equality whilst consistently using their beliefs to promote power and control of women.

As someone who was indoctrinated into an Abrahamic faith from a very young age, I have my issues with religion and whether it can ever be considered supportive of the feminist cause. God is masculine. His first human was male. His first female wasn’t designed exclusively of her own flesh and bone; she was created from one of man’s ribs. In another tradition, Eve is described as being the second wife of Adam. Lilith was God’s first female creation, an equal; she refused to ‘sleep or serve under him’ and was banished for knowing her own mind. This version of events is not in any of the holy books. When God is a man (and a blond blue eyed one, at that) and all the prophets, disciples and saints (more or less) are also men, as a woman you face one of two choices. Accept that man is wiser; pure and blessed, and revere him as the creator and administrator of the life force OR open your eyes, revel in your ability to create fullstop and accept you might have been a little duped by the men holding the pens who, 2-3000 years ago orchestrated the abomination that is the subjugation of women through ‘original sin’.

Several thousands of years of being so tempting to poor, pure man that he cannot control his own impulses and only because he is so gullible and naïve; when confronted with an apple, he cannot control the urge to take a bite. Eve might have presented the apple but she didn’t force Adam to eat it. How old is Adam? Small children and perpetrators of abuse often bemoan “they made me do it!” And apparently God, the highly strung sleep deprived parent took Adam’s word for it and grounded Eve! Loving and understanding and forgiving God gave Eve pain. What should be a joyful miracle of creation marred forever more by Eve’s seductive ways. Obviously I don’t really believe this. Evacuating a fully formed human out of your body takes a lot of effort and is going to be extremely painful. Not punishment but rather basic human physiology.

Allegorically, the Old Testament is anti-feminist. It describes to men the punishment they face if they are swayed by feminine wiles. Did Eve nag Adam into taking a bite? Eve is beguiled by the snake, all slithery and penis like. He tempts her and she tempts him. And then because they know it all, God banishes them from Heaven. Desire is bad. Temptation is bad. It’s all woman’s fault.

Without desire and temptation, one is pure and worthy of God’s affection. Except God made each and every one of us horny! Yet men from all over the world don’t seem to want to own their desires. It’s easier to blame the witches and wenches. What is the value of female life when the honour between two warriors of Allah is at stake?

Is this why religious institutions openly defend their rights to exclude their female believers from more involved roles? There is a belief that they will tempt the holy men of the clergy into debauchery by being so pervasive and goddamn sexy?

We recoil in horror and our politicians condemn the slaughter of a woman whose country they want to pillage for all their natural resources. We’re more ‘civilised’ here in the West, we exclude and eliminate women through proper bureaucratic channels. The centuries old witch trials of burning free thinking women at the stake are a distant memory for many.

If we are all equal in God’s eyes, why can’t they prove it?

When you think like a feminist..


..You draw like one too