power and control

Sex abuse is synonymous with power

CN – Sex Abuse

Another day, another slew of reports on sexual predators facing justice in our criminal justice system, and how some of them evade it. The use of scare quotes for eg can suggest the reporter is scornful of the information being relayed or that it is has struck a chord with them, and is throwing it out there for the reader to make up their own mind. By introducing an element of doubt, by questioning the use of particular words they cast shadows on the validity of the interviewee’s opinion. The mainstream media don’t so much as report the news, or uncover grave injustices, they shape it, they can fashion it out of thin air. How would you know otherwise, unless you were there at the time? You don’t believe everything you read, do you?

20181115_183758‘Committed paedophile’ PC Ian Naude was convicted today of raping a 13 year old girl in the back of his car and filming the attack. He also pleaded guilty to 31 other offences including misconduct in public office and grooming of other teenage girls, one of whom threatened to kill herself. What’s particularly harrowing about this case is how Naude was due to start as a junior officer in 2017 but the process was put on hold when an allegation of rape was made against him. I believe them, and the authorities perhaps should have done too but no further action was taken and the recrutiment process was continued.

Thinking back to my work as a support worker for women fleeing male violence, the standards that must be satisified in order for a case to make it to the CPS are as much about whether or not a victim is telling the truth as they are about evidence against the perpetrator. Surely PC Naude would have been required to undertake a CRB check before he was permitted to interact with members of the public? They take a while to process for non police related professions, about 3 months, but the police have access to multiple systems including POVA and other registers for the protection of vulnerable children and adults they can check before the official papers come back. Odd then that the police authority failed to notice the two child grooming allegations naming him reported to Staffs and West Mercia police in 2017.

A persistent and ‘committed paedophile’, Naude was able to bypass security checks that should have flagged him up as a concern before he was ever recruited. He should never have been allowed to interact with members of the public least of all vulnerable minors who were looking to him for protection. He is not the first and he won’t be the last. The police should just stop expecting the public to trust in them when they cannot guarantee our safety in their presence.

Who can we trust? We can’t trust the police, who seem disproportionately represented in sexual and domestic violence statistics, they offend at a rate 5 times higher than the national average. We can’t trust the media, they spent decades watching and covering up Britain’s nasty treasures, and crawled out of the woodwork post Savile to confirm they had seen it all unfold but that stopped rather abruptly when we turned on them for being such useless complicit witnesses to horrific child abuse. I would suggest it’s one of the reasons they stay focused on Asian grooming gangs. The racist outrage and plots for revenge are all consuming, there’s no space to think about anything else. With propaganda focused on predatory savages, the police, media, government and all their collaborators got a get out of jail free card.

I suppose Lord Lester is so self assured in this scheme he can approach Asian survivors of violence like Jasvinder Sanghera (an inspiration to many women like myself) who founded the Karma Nirvana project in 1993 to provide culturally specific support to women experiencing domestic violence, and promise her a peerage if she slept with him. He groped her and chased her around his kitchen, after offering a place to stay when she missed the last train home. They had been working on changing the law to make forced marriage an offence, back in 2006. I remember that project, I too was involved in a small way when the Asian refuge I was working in invited members of the house of lords to come see the crucial work we were doing with women who had no recourse to public funds. I am utterly disgusted by the revelations that one of ours was being harassed and assaulted by the very people we were appealing to for social justice.

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I believe Jasvinder Sanghera. I am not at all surprised however that there are people including Lord Lester himself, saying she is a liar. What kind of a world do we live in when a trusted and upstanding member of a network that protects victims is being framed as dishonest? “I was acutely aware of the power imbalance”, she said “If I’d said anything, who would believe me?” She felt all the same things all victims do, even with her CBE and many awards and accolades. She has waived her right to anonymity because she continues to stand for all women, in every way she can.

She is going to need support, especially as it seems the establishment are doubling down. How on earth do we contend with the all powerful, those with such a blatant disregard for common people, who use their punitive powers to cast aspersions on victims and survivors? Jasvinder herself has said she feels as though she “has been victimised all over again”. Power has asserted itself.

They can frame it however they like, the mainstream media and politicians, we know different. They’ll print an article here, and another there, news they can’t afford to ignore but they won’t join the dots to expose the network, not like they do with Asian grooming gangs. There’s no middle page spread on the privileged establishment old boy networks running through the centre of all public services, because they run all the papers too. They’ll throw the odd working class monster to the dogs, for balance, but won’t ever report on the pervasive and far reaching sickness of familial child abuse, the most common of all sex abuses in the United Kingdom. You are more likely to be raped by your father or brother or uncle than you are ever to come in contact with an Asian grooming gang.

The problem is too huge to take care of one sector at a time. Instead we need a class war and survivors must take the lead.

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An Open Letter: To the racist next door (well, upstairs)

We haven’t met yet, I tend to avoid the stairwells at home time, in fact most of the time because I rarely go out but I frequently hear you come home after a relatively short day at work. The landlord says you’re a teacher and this was meant to prove your suitability for the flat above me, the walls are thin and I knew the last couple far too intimately, although I hadn’t met them either. Whilst it’s true there haven’t yet been any all night raves as yet, I am getting used to the drone of your very boring self important expressions. I don’t think this is your natural speaking voice but an affectation of what a teacher should sound like. You sound very male and very entitled even when I can’t make out the words, you frequently talk over your guests. When you’re not enunciating for the whole street you’re belting out Lloyd Webber classics for Britain First’s Got No Talent so it’s fair to say you like all the attention being you gets.

It is with this growing irritation that I peeked out of the peep hole when I heard your voice bellow loudly as you trudged up the stairs this afternoon. I caught the back of your head, looks like you don’t have any hair, and you seemed as tall as the door to the next floor. A shorter man with brown skin followed behind. He didn’t pique my interest as much as the words you were saying to him though. You said “whilst women in India are oppressed at least they get an education. In Pakistan they don’t even have that.”

Oh really? I’m even more pumped to meet you now, can’t wait to look at all your photos of Pakistan and hear about your best and worst adventures. Of course as an educator of future generations I assume you must have the information to make a statement so matter of factly, so I’m going to believe you when you say anything, otherwise why would you? Unless say, you were just repeating a thing you’d always heard and just assumed to be true because you’re a thickheaded arrogant racist (cos white supremacy runs deep even with the ones who don’t appear outwardly fascistic) and why should you care about whether things are factual or not, it’s not like due process is a thing poc even understand in their own corrupt countries so why would they expect it here, or something?

In my large family most of the graduates are women. My grandparents had a focus on educating the girls because they wanted us to be independent and not reliant on a husband who could do with us as he pleased. They saw education as freedom from patriarchy, which certainly confused me growing up being as my family weren’t lacking on the patriarch front. I think it was a latent desire to keep “our women” free from the clutches of western patriarchy, to increase our value as women in the western world where we are seen as servile and disposable. This attitude was prevalent in the community I come from. These were the poorest of Pakistanis and many married their girls off young but the suitors were always turned away at the door for us and my aunts. “They’re too busy with their studies” was the blanket response my gran had for anyone suggesting we were ripe. This remained the case forever, at least with regards to myself. I’m still unmarried, in my 30s, and still learning, at my own pace.

This isn’t the first time a person in a position of power has espoused dangerously problematic opinions with regards to the natives of my fledgling motherland. Another teacher, older than the racist upstairs and also a devout Christian asked me once whether it was true there was a whole village of imbeciles somewhere in Pakistan, where the IQ was nominally the lowest in the whole world. I didn’t even know what to say to that.

This kind of jarring ignorance has become commonplace in the wasteland of post recession Tory Britain, it’s breathtaking because it was not the norm for me, at least not growing up in my multicultural town with my multicultural friends and teachers. It was perhaps always there but cleverly disguised because at one time people believed in power of laws which forbid racism, I know I did. The various authorities inadequate response to racism has allowed for that attitude to seep into wider society because the racists know the cops are on their side. Whiteness trumps justice. In fact racism is condoned by the people occupying seats of power at the very top, for example when they call Cobra to deal with an unprecedented death of a white soldier on British soil even though that sentence is untrue in its entirety.

I have come to conclude there is no right or wrong in society only power and control, that is to say I believe there is a moral compass and most certainly a version of life exists for some where doing the right thing is the noblest and happiest way to live but for the majority of people it really is about what you can get away with in any given situation. These opinions white people have, where they deny the humanity of others and speak of them as aliens without any direct experience of the people in question is a narrative that is centuries old. Racism is most prevalent in the UK in the areas where there are actually no people of colour, so when you’re trying to reason with a fascist that they are wrong about all Muslims, you may as well be speaking to a shit brick wall. There is no reasoning with those who are devoid of reason, education, experience yet exist in a suit of white skin that elevates them to a state of enlightenment where they can make damaging untruthful statements about other humans without batting an eyelid or challenge.

They’re teachers and I left school at 16 so they’re right and I’m wrong, or at least that’s the version some of you allow yourselves to believe.

More slut shaming

“I wish I could assume all submissives out there were strong courageous self-thinking types. But sadly many are just weak people.”

Sigh. Ok. Y’all know me and my penchant for, er, dissent. Some people think of me as antagonistic, others are just a little frightened of the unknown. I’m on meds so that makes me an unpredictable fruitloop. What you see online is mostly me irl but there are parts of my personality that I protect, for the simple reason that it is exclusive to those I actually trust, and there aren’t many of them. It’s a privilege and something that must be earned.

My name is Sam Ambreen and I have a confession; I sometimes enjoy being submissive.

*world implodes and feminisms cease to exist*

As an eldest child it was my responsibility to keep the others in check. Naturally I was the first one to experience things and so I had a hand holding role and spent a lot of time encouraging the others, being brave and generally giving bullies an arse whupping if they fell out of line. I had to order the pizza (I still do), I had to fight back the bullies for my younger siblings (even if I was scared myself) and it’s not very different to who I am now. Here’s the thing though; I sometimes get very tired of this scripted role that was handed down to me. It’s exhausting always being in control or fighting for control and I am exceptionally privileged that I have friends and lovers around me who understand that you don’t have to be one or the other ALL OF THE TIME, that even the most formidable among us need a break.

I am not weak because sometimes I don’t have the brain space to make all the decisions. I am blessed that I can hand the baton over on occasion, safe in the knowledge that the person I am handing it over to will not use it to bash me over the head with. They recognise the immense privilege it is. In this respect, I am still in control. I don’t have to be submissive for the duration of whatever the activity is, I can switch. How does this make anyone weak? Is it not the opposite and in fact a very empowering thing to be in possession of, if you are lucky enough to experience it?

Statements such as the one above are meant to shame people, specifically self-identifying women. Well feminisms has been fighting so hard for us to behave like dominant men that we’re somehow letting the side down if we behave in a way that is considered ‘feminine’, for that makes us weak. It’s probably why, as queers we get a lot of stick from the dominant brand of white cis feminism; “porn is bad, nudity is bad, why aren’t they as focused on genitals as us, however else will we win the binary war?”

I can sum this up succinctly; it’s none of your fucking business and before you look outwards and judge other people on their intimate practices, ask yourself why it pisses you off so much. You do not gain power by pointing out what you think are weaknesses in others, you reveal more about yourself that you cannot access consensual submissiveness where you will not be taken advantage of. I am sorry for you.

White Power and Control

Say you’ve written a piece about intersectionality or experienced yet another oversight from the mainstream white feminists and it garners the support of most of your peers, PoC or otherwise yet there is one lone voice of colour the white fems put on a pedestal as though your lived experiences can be rejected because this one says it’s not so; how to begin to understand why the person in question is so blinkered to the kyriarchal structures of power and control. It’s simple really; it comes down to self-awareness and the privilege of having white friends, ones that are completely honest with you.

As a small child I very quickly became aware of the stigma attached to my roots. The word Paki made me feel dirty which is ironic considering Pakistan means ‘The land of the pure’. Of course when they’re saying dirty paki and you’re four and don’t yet know the meaning of the word then this is how it’s going to make you feel. My mum wouldn’t cross the road at a pelican crossing if the driver was white because of the time one of them had revved his car towards her and then laughed at her when she jumped back, her four small children in tow. Once, I convinced myself that it wasn’t me the young white girl was calling a paki, but my younger sister on account of her slightly darker skin. For many years I would tell myself that I was ok, I was white enough to go unnoticed. I had witnessed racist abuse but never been victim to it myself. I just wasn’t like all the others. So much so that I thought I wasn’t even going to get periods, being as I wasn’t a girly girl. I think I became aware of my position in the world very early on and rejected it because I thought better of myself than the labels the world was putting on me. I could reject them and pretend they didn’t even exist. Of course they do and learning these injustices were still being perpetrated against me was heart-breaking and almost too unbearable to accept.

I had to stop and take note when the girls I hung out with at lunchtime called the Asian boys ‘Husseins’. The slur of choice at my school in the mid-90s was “Bosnian refugee”. I remember seeing the genocide on the news and feeling then that it was deeply problematic and inappropriate but what could I do? As an early teen it served me well to laugh along. Being one of a twin the comparisons between us went beyond the pretty one or smart one, the slight difference in our skin tone meant that I was a white wannabe. It might have been the Goth makeup as well but we’re pretty much identical, unless you’re deciding which one you’d prefer to be seen with. My friends were white, hers were mostly brown. I sometimes wonder whether I made a conscious decision (beyond anglicising my name) to only like ‘white’ things. I saw my last Bollywood film around the time I cut all my hair off and starting wearing a fashion cross, aged 13. I’d seethe in fury at the Asian kids piling on the bus home, the looks of disgust on the white pensioners faces made me feel ashamed to be part of their group. When I left Birmingham at 16 and joined a school in London I was relieved to make some new white friends, racist as fuck mind but once again, they were sure to reassure me I wasn’t like all the others, especially when I agreed they were dirty Pakis.

I met many other PoC who felt like me, secretly disgusted by their heritage. I’ve lost count of the number of South Asians who feel they have to make you aware of their mixed heritage; even if it 1/16th Greek by way of marriage. When you’ve spent your life listening to the moaning white majority about how our food smells, how our clothes don’t match, even how hairy we are (ffs) then these things become ingrained and you either reject them and become an oppressor yourself by denying the unfair systems that dominate the narrative (because you are not like the rest of them and this will serve you well comparatively) or you believe you are incapable, unworthy, disgusting. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and you deserve the inequalities you are made to suffer. So you do, without question.

I was lucky. I had some white friends who balked on my behalf. I was quite happy to sit there and listen to their parents question what kind of curry I prefer or confirm their reservations on forced marriage and that weird Islam but my friends did not like it. It was they who prompted me to question why the tone of my skin should mean anything. I hadn’t been a Muslim for many years so why was I still answering those questions, were they incapable of seeing of me as an individual with other dreams and passions? They could just as easily ask me about art or politics but they don’t because they see a brown beigey person and they assume that means Muslim. That’s racism. It took me the best part of my 20s to get to grips with that. I don’t wear a headscarf; I don’t have to leave the room five times a day for prayer. I eat and drink what I want; I haven’t had a homemade curry in years. I sometimes wear shorts. Yet still I come off as Muslim. Then they say Islam isn’t a race and Islamophobia cannot be racist.

See, the reason I believe my white friends when they say something is racist is because they are white and other white people really let themselves go in their presence. They are better placed to identify microagressions because they know where they are coming from. My white friends rejected their supremacy and fight a constant battle to remind themselves of their privilege. There are white people who are appalled at their own murderous pillaging history and cannot abide seeing it being perpetrated in this day and age. Then there are also those who have the same take on that history but positively revel in all things empire because that is all they have; seriously lacking in wit and intelligence or anything of any personal worth just the propaganda spewed out by the state every time they go an invade a country in the belief that they are somehow better because they are white. That’s power. Telling you you’re somehow the only chosen one; that’s control.

I can see why you’d want to identify with the white majority, I know I did. Heck, I was even engaged to a white man in the RAF. It was he who gave me the most valuable lesson of all; it doesn’t matter what you do, how you speak, who you love; middle England, the Daily Mail lot, the majority of white Britain might speak to you if they have to but you’ll always be a Paki to them. We split shortly after this especially when he reassured me I was alright now I was on the ‘white side’.

Racism, it’s not in my head, but yours.

Happy International Menz Day!

I’d like to spend today thinking about all the special menz I have to thank for my fierce feminism. Sure the menz in my family will dominate a thought or two but there are also all of the others. I want to commemorate the dude I shared a house with once. He wanted to get in my pants, would slap my arse as I walked past. Once, when I’d made it clear I’d rather have herpes, he stood in his bedroom doorway at the top of the stairs with a pair of clippers. I needed to walk past him to get down the stairs but obviously couldn’t what with this Neanderthal threatening to shave off my hair. It was a little while before the third housemate came home. I think he deserves an extra big pat on his back for being such a strong, brave manly man.

There’s also that judge whose face I’ll never forget. He ruled that my client was sexually assaulted by her husband but he was under duress due to the fact that she had involved another man, a friend of the perpetrator’s, to protect her from the domestic abuse she had been suffering and so he could be forgiven for thinking she’d had an affair. The perp got away with it. The judge took into account his rather special job and didn’t want it to look bad on his record or something. We continued to support her post trial and defeated, she often asked why she’d bothered going through the system. It simply didn’t make sense to her that a judgement of guilt wouldn’t result in some support for her. She also felt ashamed and embarrassed at the insinuations made by the defence lawyer, that she was promiscuous and had caused her husband to react in way where he would claim what was his. I kid you fucking not. She remained married to him. I wonder where she is now and if she’s still alive. I’ll be knocking back a vodka or ten to toast the judge tomorrow. Without International Menz Day, men might stop being judges and lose all control.

But you don’t have to be a judge to celebrate #IMD. You could be the guy I inevitably have to avoid eye contact with when I leave the house today. You might be walking ahead of me and turn back every few steps so that you can look at me, your eyes sizing me up. I hope you’re wondering about the slim chance that I might be a black belt but really I’m already beginning to think the worst. You guys, you really are the best. You need International Menz Day to remind you that you need to man up, be strong, be silent, beat a guy up if the need arises, ALWAYS get the girl *chest bump* You’re the dudes that might as well be talking about corpses when it’s just you and the boys talking about how many girls you would if you could. I’ve been part of the privileged inner circle of the male world and it’s bad. I think it’s probably even worse without me there. On International Menz Day, why not go all the way and just say how you really feel. It is your day after all.

I won’t lie, the thought of all the good men, nice guys crawling out the woodwork for this momentous occasion is quite nauseating but then, it’s not like we haven’t had a day like it before.

Take yesterday for example.

A Little Respect

English was not my first language. It’s true that I was born in Marston Green but I don’t recall leaving the house much as a small child so there was probably no use for it. Any memories I have or what I understand to be memories are spoken in another language, the Mirpuri dialect my mother spoke. But as soon as I started nursery the memories very suddenly change and I remember giggling at my white reception class teacher for employing two Punjabi phrases every teacher needs when dealing with little ones; “line bunaow” make a line, and “chup kar” be silent. There were a large number of us without English as our first language but personally, my grasp of English has never held me back.

I’ve always been fascinated by the way words translate cross language and how so much of what we mean when we say a word is reliant on how it makes us feel. Certain words lack gravity in some cultures whereas in others they are taboo. Words like ‘cunt’ and ‘Paki’ for example. On a very basic level, these two words say very different things to British and American people, cunt being somewhat acceptable in Britain due to its overuse and Paki in America because their Asians are oriental. It doesn’t have the same gut wrenching impact as it does over here but then I became aware of how ‘cunt’ made my American (and some British) Twitter friends feel. I cannot knowingly use this word around people who are affected by it. I have to think of better words.

I have this focus on language because it is so important to understand the way it makes us feel and how it shapes our ideas. Language everywhere in the patriarchy is designed to make us feel a certain way. It controls us. It maintains the status quo. Take the word ‘Izzat’ for example. It means honour, respect, personal worth to some. I would push ego in there too. It’s a reflection of one’s self worth, and suggests the person has a reputation that needs protecting. The women in the family carry the burden of Izzat, although it is a thing shared by all those in the unit. As a child, I was often commanded to speak with Izzat, with respect, as were my siblings, whether male or female. But Izzat came to mean another thing too. For a while I believed it had something to do with the physical act of getting naked because of when it was said. The family sat round watching the latest Bollywood hit and then the villain would tear the starlet’s clothes from her. Amidst the scramble for the remote whilst we little ones cowered behind cushions, I was accustomed to hearing the phrase “Izzat looti”. Stole her honour. Stole her respect? Self-respect? Whose respect? Whose honour? What was I missing from behind my safety guard? Of course Bollywood cinema was heavily censored so I never understood what it was until I became a young teenager myself. Then I guess the older women would speak about it to give us some idea of what to expect. Cringing with shame they’d share stories about women who had been raped. But then the word changed in meaning again. This time it was being used in conversations about young girls running away from home. The families they’d leave had no Izzat left; their fathers too shame faced to lift their eyes from the ground.

This word Izzat has many layers and is not as simple as a foreign practice incomprehensible to the civilised West. It expresses many feelings and ties that are not dissimilar to our white brethren. Izzat or honour as the West refer to it is an emotion felt by the person in possession of it. This is usually men. 70% of the world’s population experiences violence and/or sexual abuse at the hands of the patriarchy. Perpetrators justify their actions by using a variety of excuses. At one time the defence “she made me do it” would have probably got you a pat on the back from the local police as they left you to resolve your own “domestic” (translate: not public, nothing to do with us) but with changing attitudes towards accountability and an understanding of power and control dynamics, better education and training for public authorities, we no longer buy that crap. Or at least there are some who don’t.

We are struggling to identify abuse and inappropriate behaviour because of racism. Physically harming a person, regardless of the excuses the perpetrators dream up is unacceptable in all its forms. When a white man knocks back 10 Stellas and beats his wife/girlfriend for winking at another man, he is responding from his own bruised ego, his own honour. He feels he has been disrespected and the only way to claw back respect is by force. Every action has a reaction and fear in the victim can be interpreted as respect by the perpetrator. How is this different to brown men abusing brown women? It isn’t. It is merely used as an excuse to avoid helping often the most vulnerable and marginalised women in our society. Because racism.

Whether in the East or West, women are property. They are required to adhere to a strict code of conduct. Deviating from this results in coercive force to intimidate the woman into behaving in the way patriarchy sees fit. Now, whether this comes in the form of forced marriage or alienating a woman from her friends, the intention is power and control. They are essentially the same. The only difference is the way in which we view colour. Black/brown, they are already viewed with suspicion. Throw in a cultural practice that is not unlike our own a century or two ago (and really, how old are the former colonies? In their infancy) and you have an unknown entity threatening the very fabric of our society. It’s a creeping Shariah. The fear this evokes in people is not a gender issue but one of race.

We can only move forward once they acknowledge this.

There’s no point in online feminism if it’s not intersectional

Since we’re looking for the least privileged woman in the world I’d like to nominate my mother. True, she lives here in the West and has never gone hungry (well, at least for no more than a coupla days) but I think she’s somewhere near the bottom and a good a place as any to start.

My mother was born in a village in Kashmir. She was the fourth of 10 children and 1 of 8 girls. Her father was a community doctor and so earned a reasonable enough wage but with that many children they were never what we might think of as well off. So much so that Granddad worked hard to save enough money so that he could give his daughters a decent enough dowry. The plan was to marry them off as soon as they hit puberty thus lessening the burden on the family as a whole.

She was barely 16 when she was packed onto a plane ready to begin her new life in Great Britain. She had barely enough of an education so that she could read letters sent to her in Urdu by her mother, my nan. She was just a child. But one my grandparents couldn’t afford to feed. And so she was palmed off on the first willing man to take her on. My father was 10 years her senior and didn’t want to get married. Or at least he did, but not to her. He was in love with a woman of mixed heritage and his mother, my paternal gran was determined it wouldn’t happen, she hadn’t brought her boys to this new land only for them to mix it up. She and my grandfather had a way of ensuring their children did as they were told, mainly through violence and coercion. My great grandparents had been Muslim scholars, feared and revered by the community in Pakistan. They had a reputation to protect and this came at any cost. My grandparents were the product of an extremely insular and strict manifestation of Islamism. As a child I heard my paternal great grandmother was beaten to death barely a few months after the birth of my granddad’s younger brother. This, because she had sat on her brother’s bed, whilst he lay recovering from an illness. It was too much for great granddad’s male ego and honour. “That’s just the way they did things” was the reply I got when I protested my family legacy through tears. “I’ll show them,” is the mantra I’ve had my whole life. I will be a feminist for all my foremothers; I will take back what was stolen from the women who came before me. A life, namely. An education. Bodily autonomy. Sexual freedom.

But my mother, now divorced and estranged from me, still suffers. We don’t speak because I am alien to her. From a very young age, I believed my emancipation would come from allying myself with the white feminist. I wanted what they had. As a very small child this meant the freedom to dress as I wish and associate with boys. That’s as far as my struggle got through my teens. But as I got older, I continued to behave as my white peers did and this widened the gap between my mother’s hopes for me (she really wanted me to be an air hostess) and my desires for equal rights in a man’s world. She won’t speak to me because she is afraid of what I have become. She won’t give me the opportunity to explain I did this for her.

As soon as I was old enough to hit the men back (15), I dragged my mother away from the community she knew and set into motion the process to divorce her from my father. During this time, I gullibly confirmed to the white workers who were trying to house us in temporary accommodation that the men in my family were savages, bringing with them the patriarchal controls they had back home. When fleeing domestic violence the local authority has an ‘interim duty to accommodate’ and as I rolled out the reasons we were presenting as such, it suddenly dawned on me, I was lucky to be alive. Domestic abuse, child sexual abuse, poverty, homelessness, religious/cultural demons, immigration issues (read racism), disability, isolation, self-harm, eating disorders.. This was not an exhaustive list but my small family had been victim to them all. Sure, I had internet access at the time but I didn’t see it as a privilege, more of a necessary escape. That’s a very silly thing to say Sadie. And it is your privilege that allows you to think like that.

I wish my life had been a little easier. I wish my mother had the right to an education so that she was self-sufficient and might have kicked my dad to the kerb with her dignity intact. But she didn’t. After 20 years of unfaltering duty, irrespective of the abuse she suffered, my father granted her a divorce and gave her £6000 for the trouble. That’s how much she was worth in the end. Her body ravaged by pregnancies she did not consent to, her children traumatised and displaced. She put the miserly amount he’d afforded her towards my younger sister’s nuptials. Because, despite the living hell she’d endured, she was still afraid the community would judge her for her unmarried daughters. This is also where I fell short in my duties as a daughter.  I don’t believe in marriage and who could blame me? But my mother doesn’t see it like that. The patriarchy has controlled her life since forever and although she suffered as a result of it, it still governs her thoughts, she doesn’t know any better.

If I’m a bit mean, frankly, it’s because I’m fed up. Suzanne Moore blocked me on Twitter a little while ago. I can’t even remember what for but I was reminded of it when I tried to RT the fuck outta her tweet asking for James Delingpole to admit he’s a misogynist cock. I joked that it was a shame because even though I had my issues with her, united we would stand in the face of patriarchy. I’m assuming it got back to her because later on that evening I was able to RT with abandon. Why couldn’t Sadie Smith leave well alone? By writing her piece all she’s done is pander to patriarchy. Hell, she even admits to wanting to behave like a misogynist. How is that EVER ok Sandie?

Could it be that privilege allows you some control? The privilege of having a voice or a face that fits so that you can use a platform whichever way you want. “Feminism is not bullying and beating up other women.” Haven’t you done exactly that, Sadie?

As a result of my life, I take pills. There are the ones that keep me on an even keel and the ones that work directly on my spinal cord and brain. When I accused Mary Beard of racism, I was horrified and immediately apologised, but I was made an example of when privilege politics go wrong. I’d unwittingly caught the tail end of a Twitter storm and was held up as an example of ‘stupid’ intersectional feminists using the race card at will. I wish I had the privilege of a clear, sharp mind. I wish I could pick the days when the fog takes over; I could plan my life a bit easier.

If I’m mean or angry, couldn’t you at least try to understand why? That’s what we intersectional feminists do. We understand that some of the stuff that happens in life has profound and lasting effects on people. None of us ask to be born for if we did, I’m sure we’d all tick the white cis gendered box. Nobody would choose an existence where you are overlooked/beaten/murdered for the colour of your skin, or choose to be disabled or *trans.

It’s just how we were born and all we mean to ask is, why am I not as worthy as you?