Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

What Is Rape To A Woman

A few days ago in india a young woman was very publicly gang raped then thrown naked off a bus onto the street and then left to die while the public and police walked around her.

This poor young woman has been the victim of three major crimes. Firstly the gang rape, secondly the fact that not one citizen came to her aid during her rape and sodomisation with implements and thirdly she was the victim of attempted murder by a society that just wished she would die in a ditch out of sight and mind so that they could continue in their delusion that rapes did not happen in their world. Her injuries were made far worse by the loss of the trauma medicine golden-hour as the public and even cops stepped around her naked, bleeding form for nearly sixty minutes until eventually forced to summon medical aid because the presence of her body was disrupting traffic. As a result that poor young woman will be left with life changing,  health wrecking injuries inflicted by indian society, by rape, and by neglect coupled to judgmental indifference .

Now india must come to terms with its collective crimes against women.

Note**: If you are a Survivor and experience Flashbacks I respectfully you do not read any further.

 

Introduction to “What Is Rape To A Woman ?”

A few years ago I wrote a piece for a women’s group at their request. It was widely circulated at that time and eventually I was asked to put it into English so that it could reach a wider audience. In it I tried to impart what rape was to the survivor, not from the criminal act point of view in this instance but from the personal one.  In posting this I wish to be clear that I am not inviting discussion about the social and criminal aspects, this is not about those. Nor am I interested in reading any pathetic bleating from any male about women raping men, or women making so-called false rape claims – both of these are so statistically insignificant on their own as to be nothing more than a pointless diversion  taken against the holocaust of rape being committed by men on women.

 

What Is Rape To A Woman

Rape is death in so many ways. Rape is the death of safety, rape is the death of self, rape is the death of security and power and control over one’s destiny. Rape is the metaphorical destruction of a woman who existed before a rape and the birth of a woman who exists after a rape. Women who have been raped look back to a person who existed before the violation of self and they see themselves in a hazy, ill-defined half-light of memory. That hazy figure becomes an icon to them, like a perpetual gravestone, chiseled, inscribed, and planted by the sadist who attacked her. The greater the degree of physical injury, the greater the mutilation, the greater the physical scars left, the deeper the depth of the words chiseled into the stone. The day a woman is raped is the day a woman dies.

I am not talking about a physical death, though that does happen all too often, I am talking about a metaphorical death, but make no mistake about it, rape is still a death. Rape is a revelation, an epiphany, rape is pain, rape is change, rape is destruction and horror and nightmares. Rape is the memory seared into a woman’s brain that will forever hearken her back to the face, the smell, of her attacker, as he leaves his mark on her soul. It can be a mark that for too many takes years to overcome, if it is ever conquered at all because a part of ourselves exists forever in that moment. Rape is our sex, our sexuality, being used as a weapon to destroy our sense of self.

Law defines rape so simplistically as “forced intercourse or penetration” but make no mistake about it; the scars of rape do not label themselves as ‘forced intercourse or penetration’. The scars of rape are seen in mutilated bodies, disabilities, eating disorders, depression, dissociative disorders, flashbacks, screams that can cut steel plate, nightmares that can congeal blood, stress related disorders, addiction, and self harming.

Rape creates a most profound and lifelong wound. It is a wound that cuts so deeply that the victim can and will have a lifetime trying to apply whatever they can find to force it to heal. When a rape survivor self-harms and cuts herself she is trying to bleed the filth of her rapist from her body, but there is never enough blood inside us to wash it away though many will try for decades. When we have flashbacks and nightmares our brain is trying to bleed the memories from our minds but memories are with us for life.

The Hours Of The Wolf; Trying To Live Again

How many people would question or argue at a someone who was paralyzed from the neck down if they stated that they wished they had died? Would any of us be surprised if they wanted assistance in ending their own lives? How many of us would be self-righteous enough to stand there before that person, with our fully function body and tell him that they was overreacting by wishing the whole of his body had died as well?

Many of women, do manage to move past it. We look down at our grave while throwing a handful of dirt and placing flowers and with the help of family and loved ones we move forward with hesitant steps into the rest of our lives, but make no mistake, we are forever changed.

After the rape we are irrevocably changed, but we start a new life. In this new life we realize just how precarious safety is, we know just what vulnerabilities lay just underneath societies surface for our sex in a way we never knew before. We carry scars both physical and mental and sometimes they even heal, but scars are scars, they are always there. Even when we move on, many will always harbour secret hopes of death, especially in the darkest hours of the night when we wake from a nightmare of the breaking bones, and tearing flesh of rape. When we wake with the taste of our attacker on our lips and the feel of his weapons, both flesh and steel, inside of us. When we wake it is to find that the dark corners of our room contain the terrifying form of our rapist. As our hearts pound and cold sweat freezes on our skin we fight a mental battle to regain our minds and understand that we are safe in our bed, our loved one struggling to reassure us we are safe and that it was only the same nightmare, the nightmare that has consumed us nightly for months, and on and off periodically for years. The same nightmares that leave us  awake during those long night time hours over the years and decades that we survivors call ‘The Hours Of The Wolf’’.

I believe that a woman who has been marked by sexual violence and who contemplates or attempts suicide is never acting ‘irrationally’, to her it is an entirely rational decision based upon circumstances. It is because her secret wishes for physical death are never out of place or overreacting because to her half of her is already dead. Half of her was killed by the man who assaulted her body, who ripped and tore his way through her flesh and left his filthy seed within her, who marked her forever.

Rape is a death and if a woman desires death for her physical body to match the death of her spiritual body, it is in no way an ‘overreaction’. A woman, her body ripped, and bleeding internally as her soul cries out in agony for someone, anyone, to destroy her completely, to end her torment has the right to feel whatever she feels.

Men who are the almost the sole perpetrators of rape (99%) telling women, who are the primary victims of their violence (20% of ALL women will be raped), to “stop overreacting”. Men tell women “You will get over it, your still alive”, men actually TELL women how to feel about a violation so fierce that some of them actually loose internal organs, have senses completely destroyed and go on to kill themselves! Men who are telling women how to feel about a loss that, for the most part, a man will never experience. I find it interesting and quite telling that often it is men who claim to be ‘experts’ on what a woman should be feeling. They claim to be authorities; they comment as to how appropriate a woman’s emotions are over violations of her body and soul, over violations that they will most likely never, ever be concerned with.

Rape is an invasion that most men can afford to be entirely ignorant to, never having to even think about it unless they live with a victim. It makes me angry beyond incandescence that some men have the gall to suggest a woman should feel whatever way they [the man] think is appropriate about a crime which they will most likely never have to face (men stand more chance of facing it as a rapist than as the raped), which targets women as its primary victims. It is staggering arrogance beyond my ability to express, but then it is no new phenomenon for men to assume they can tell women what they should or should not feel. It is any wonder therefore that men feel they have a right to our bodies as well as how we think!

So please do not try to bluster your way out of it, rape is largely a crime of paternalistic, misogynistic societies backed up by paternalistic, misogynistic religions and presided over by law enforcement agencies who are often the very embodiment of sexism topped off with a judiciary that barely even pay lip service to women being half of every population! Men have no right to feel hard done by when women cry out ‘en masse about attacks upon them when it is a situation of their own making, the blood pouring down between our legs from torn vaginas, ruptured wombs and perforated bowels proves it. If the men who read this feel they are being unfairly portrayed suggest that they try being a victim of rape or sexual assault going through the legal system THEN you would learn the true meaning of “unfair” !

Rape Ripples

Rape doesn’t ‘just’ affect the victim of such a crime. Rape ripples outwards, waves in a sick and perverted misogynistic pond. It affects the victims entire family, her children both alive and those to come, it affects friends, it affects lovers/husbands/wives/mothers/fathers/grandmothers/grandfathers. Rape ripples out to touch family, loved ones and friends.

If you doubt what I say ask the partner or parents of a survivor, each one will have an account; finding their wife still in the shower after six hours, washing her vulva with bleach, using a scrubbing brush until they are removing skin to clean away the filth of sodomy. The parents coming home to find their daughter has squeezed herself into a kitchen unit when she heard the front door open and fearing another rapist is coming. The husband finding his wife cowering in a dark loft space, her children clutched tightly to her shaking body. Few spouses are left unaffected on seeing their love fighting her rapist once again in her sleep, her pitiful screams and cries waking the rest of the household. Making love becomes a minefield, one false move and emotion detonates with a blast big enough to wipe out a marriage in one flash, or one flashback! Most marriages end in divorce within a year of rape. Husbands left confused and feeling guilty, children cast adrift as their mother comes apart and tries to cope with the world while half dead inside.
Friends who have had to watch helpless as their best friend stands rooted to a spot in the shopping mall because a man with the same cologne as her tormentor wore has just walked past and triggers a flashback of the attack and her body immediately begins to tremble as she fights with herself to keep reality in focus and her sanity gripped. Speak to a survivor’s siblings whose sister is vanishing in front of them because she is determined to kill off the old, vulnerable ‘her’ who was raped until she completely changes her personality, in an attempt to distance herself from someone she may view as being weak and ineffective. I have worked in ER departments, seen the disgust and disdain with which most staff treat survivors who have taken a knife and started gouging deep grooves into their own body in an effort to bleed out the filth they feel is still inside them, they “just don’t understand” yet they of all people should.

You Could Rape Us Too

So maybe as you read this you are of the opinion that rape is not something we, the survivors of rape, have a right to have these feelings over. Whether you realise it or not if you do think this way it means you could, maybe even would, do it to us too. It means you don’t think we have a right to our feelings over anything. and that you think you do have that right. This tells us just how dangerous you really are.

Don’t call us frigid or cold when we treat you like a possible criminal, because we of all people have been given that right by the actions of those of the male sex. When one in five of every woman in the western world will be raped at some point in her life at least once, when the most likely rapist is a husband, boyfriend or family member – that makes men inherently untrustworthy.

Just remember that rape victims are a direct product of YOUR husbands, YOUR sons , YOUR brothers, YOUR grandsons, they are the ones raping 20% of all women, forever altering our lives.

So…….?

“What Is Rape To A Woman?” – if you have read all I have written perhaps you now know, and I hope that you never have to learn it for yourself.

N.B**: I have deliberately not spoken about the law enforcement or judicial aspects other than a couple of very brief touch points, because they are another subject  all in themselves. In fact in most countries and cases they effectively constitute a second rape, usually metaphorical but sadly all too often literal should a woman choose to actually try and make a criminal complaint.

_______________________________

Judith van der Roos – Survivor.

Christian Support of Torture

I was reading the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life(1) of a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press illustrates differences in the views of four major religious traditions in the U.S. about whether torture of suspected terrorists can be justified. The study found that of those good american christians who attended church on a weekly basis 73% answered that the use of torture can be justified. That 73% was made up as Often / Sometimes / Rarely justified. 

I found this staggering.

Abu Ghraib torture instruments

Abu Ghraib torture instruments

In the New Testament the word “Witness” is the proper translation of the Greek word for Martyr, specifically someone who suffers for speaking out. In the mythology of the christian bible Christ was martyred on the cross for speaking truth to power & authority. The imagery of Christ nailed to a cross should be a constant reminder to christians of what torture really means. For us atheists we should always keep in mind that bearing witness is the fundamental tenant of what we today call Human Rights.

In the latin Vulgate translation of the bible in John 19.5  Pontius Pilate utters the words “Ecce homo” as he presents the tortured (by the scourge) Christ to the crowd – “Behold the man”. Given that this heritage is so deeply embedded into the christian bible I find it utterly stunning that anyone thinking themselves to be christian can in anyway condone even the merest thought of torturing a fellow human being, no matter what their supposed crime(s) might be. Shame on them.

In the west we think ourselves as Human Rights cultures (even though the evidence of our hypocrisy is all to evident – ref 3), so what has gone wrong ? I think Human rights in our liberal cultures has shifted away from witnessing the rights of our fellow individuals to institutionalising human rights into a larger term we call “democracy”. By making this shift some very clever people in power have accommodated the concept that individual human beings maybe tortured when it is part of preserving the so called “greater cause” of democracy because that is “the big picture of human rights”, it is seductive, especially to the non-thinkers, the mere followers, in society, but it is the road to hell because it is a Lie.

Human Rights (2) start and end with how each one of us bear witness to our fellow individual human beings. When we stop doing this the gateway is opened up for authority to commit whatever evil they wish and justify it as being something for the greater good (defence of the state/democracy/freedom). But the only effective way to achieve a greater good is for that greater good to be made up of many small goods, the good of the individual act of bearing witness.

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References
Reference One

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life.
<http://www.pewtrusts.org/news_room_detail.aspx?id=51580>

Poll question wording: Do you think the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information can often be justified, sometimes be justified, rarely be justified, or never be justified?

http://pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/The-Religious-Dimensions-of-the-Torture-Debate.aspx

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Reference Two

United Nations Convention Against Torture

Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

— Convention Against Torture, Article 1.1

Ban on torture and cruel and degrading treatment

Article 2 of the convention prohibits torture, and requires parties to take effective measures to prevent it in any territory under its jurisdiction. This prohibition is absolute and non-derogable. “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever” may be invoked to justify torture, including war, threat of war, internal political instability, public emergency, terrorist acts, violent crime, or any form of armed conflict. Torture cannot be justified as a means to protect public safety or prevent emergencies. Neither can it be justified by orders from superior officers or public officials. The prohibition on torture applies to all territories under a party’s effective jurisdiction, and protects all people under its effective control, regardless of citizenship or how that control is exercised.Since the Conventions entry into force, this absolute prohibition has become accepted as a principle of customary international law.
Because it is often difficult to distinguish between cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and torture, the Committee regards Article 16’s prohibition of such treatment as similarly absolute and non-derogable.
The other articles of part I lay out specific obligations intended to implement this absolute prohibition by preventing, investigating and punishing acts of torture.

Ban on Refoulement

Article 3 prohibits parties from returning, extraditing or refouling any person to a state “where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture”. The Committee against Torture has held that this danger must be assessed not just for the initial receiving state, but also to states to which the person may be subsequently expelled, returned or extradited.

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Reference Three
CIA Training Materials:

“Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual-1983”
“KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation-July 1963

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Reference Four

  • It allowed brutal and horrific tortures, including sexual torture, to take place over many months in Abu Grabe, tortures that including beatings, hangings, anal rape, starvation, sensory deprivation, dog attack, electrocution, hot boxes, water-boarding, drugging, walling, facial holds, facial slaps, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation (11 days), it allowed brutal tortures at Guantanamo Bay -sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, electrocution, hot boxes, water-boarding, drugging.
  • It allows it to continue today at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan – insects placed in a confinement box, beatings, hangings, anal rape, starvation, sensory deprivation, dog attack, electrocution, hot boxes, water-boarding, drugging, walling, facial holds, facial slaps, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation.
  • CIA Black prisons around the globe.The CIA seem to favour stripping prisoners naked, strapping them to a bed, in a very white room which is air-conditioned to be very cold – Cold Cell Torture – where a prisoner can be left for up to three weeks. They also use Sweatboxes and coubarils.
  • It allows countries that should know better to detain people without trial and cut off from family and friends for many years because this is just another form of torture. I could go on and on with examples but I hope you see my point.
  • It allows The use of Cold Cell torture in US prisons (Miami/Dade, Florida, 9th floor) and sheriffs stations (Sheriff James Cannon of Charleston County, South Carolina.).The US Military brigs, both in Charleston and Quantico, have entire wings of temperature controlled hypothermic torture chambers. At night Private Manning was (may still be) stripped naked and locked onto a cold metal slab. The air conditioning units blew 45 degree air into the cell at great speed. Private Manning curled into the fetal position and shook violently all night long. There was no way to sleep when the body sustains that level of pain. Torture.

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USA’s TSA Workers Getting Cancer While TSA Launches Cover-Up

Those of use familiar with human physiology and the effects of radiation exposure knew this was going to happen, its a real “I told you so” situation.  

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents reveal how “large number of (airport) workers have been falling victim to cancer, strokes and heart disease”

Back scatter Scanning

Back scatter Scanning

Fearful of provoking further public resistance to naked airport body scanners, the TSA has been caught covering up a surge in cases of TSA workers developing cancer as a result of their close proximity to radiation-firing devices, perhaps the most shocking revelation to emerge from the latest FOIA documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

American Federation of Government Employees Union representatives in Boston discovered a “cancer cluster” amongst TSA workers linked with radiation from the body scanners. Then the TSA sought to downplay the matter and refused to issue employees with dosimeters to measure levels of exposure, while accusing the union of being “Unpatriotic” – the modern US equivalent of being a heretic.

The documents obtained indicate how, “A large number of workers have been falling victim to cancer, strokes and heart disease.” Radiation exposure increase heart attack and stroke risk factors by causing damage to blood vessel walls. The TSA acted just like most government departments, rather than acting on it, or explaining its position seems just dismissed them. Negligent to say the least.

In an email sent to Heather Callahan the deputy federal security director at Boston Logan International Airport, union representatives express their concern about “TSA Boston’s growing number of TSA workers that have thus far been diagnosed with cancer.”

Personally I have little problem with people who choose to help impose a police state on American citizens by taking jobs with the TSA developing serious illness. What troubles me are the travelling public who are routinely FORCED to be blasted by potentially lethal radiation or face the prospect of being sexually molested while being treated like a criminal..

The documents obtained via the Freedom Of Information Act by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, reveal that the TSA, and specifically the head of the Department of Homeland Security Janet_Napolitano “publicly mischaracterised” (that means that she lied through her evil, amoral teeth)  the findings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NSIT), in stating that NIST and Johns Hopkins school of Medicine had positively confirmed the safety of full body scanners in tests. In citing both NIST and the Johns Hopkins school of medicine to claim that the body scanners are safe, the TSA has also deliberately misled the public on the dangers posed by the devices.

Airport DNA Wrecker

Airport DNA Wrecker

In fact the scanners have NEVER been properly tested in proper trials, the only trials done were on specially set up pre-production machines by the machine makers themselves who did not allow independent verification of the results. President Obama’s Science Advisor, several University of California professors also complained of how, “There is still no rigorous, hard, data for the safety of x-ray airport passenger scanners.” The scientists noted how the safety tests for the scanners were carried out exclusively by manufacturers, and recommended an immediate moratorium on use of the devices until the health risks can be independently studied. The  Department of Homeland Security then classified all information regarding tests in the name of “national security”. Documents obtained by EPIC show that, far from affirming their safety, NIST warned that airport screeners should avoid standing next to full body scanners in order to keep exposure to harmful radiation “as low as reasonably achievable.”

It gets better because a Johns Hopkins study actually revealed that radiation zones around body scanners could exceed the “General Public Dose Limit,” contradicting repeated claims by the TSA that Johns Hopkins had validated the safety of the devices. Can anyone pronounce “Liars” ?

In 2010 a study by Dr David Brenner, head of Columbia University’s center for radiological research, found that the body scanners are likely to lead to an increase in a common type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma, which affects the head and neck. Never have so many millions of people been exposed to radiation millions of people without proper oversight or study, a point raised in February 2010 by the influential Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety. They warned in a report that the scanners increase the risk of cancer and birth defects and should not be used on pregnant women or children – better to sexually molest them with “pat downs”. Pregnant women and children should not be subject to scanning, according to the report, adding that governments should consider “other techniques to achieve the same end without the use of ionizing radiation. Children and passengers with gene mutations – around one in 20 of the population – are more at risk as they are less able to repair X-ray damage to their DNA. The Committee pointed to the IAEA’s 1996 Basic Safety Standards agreement, drafted over three decades ago and to which the USA is a signatory, that protects people from radiation. Frequent exposure to low doses of radiation can lead to cancer and birth defects, even the very flawed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concedes this fact. Dr Brenner said recently “If there are increases in cancers as a result of irradiation of children,  they would most likely appear some decades in the future. It would be prudent  not to scan the head and neck,’ he added. He recently aired his concerns to  the Congressional Biomedical Caucus in the US – members of Congress who meet to  exchange ideas on medical research. Dr Brenner urged them to look at his  concerns but said it was important to balance any health issues against  passengers’ safety when flying, but it looks like the motion is going to be slow played due to pressure from the US Federal Government.

Michael Chertoff, former head of the TSA and the man responsible for bringing in the scanners into US airports is now heading the company that is selling the full body scanners to the government. Conflict of interest, corruption, lies, deception and total disregard for human health, it is what the US Government is all about. The most likely risk from the airport scanners is a common type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma, a rise in those will signal a rise in other cancers as well.

Mean while here in The European Union, MEPs accept that body scanners would enhance aviation security, but ask Member States “to deploy technology which is the least harmful for human health” and addresses privacy concerns. Due to health risks “scanners using ionising radiation should be prohibited in the EU”.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/en/pressroom/content/20110705IPR23378/html/Airport-body-scanners-MEPs-demand-strict-safeguards

Would I go through an airport scanner in America based on my medical knowledge – NO, absolutely not. Would I believe one word that comes from the mouth of any US official any more – NO, absolutely not.
Author: Tyjardia
Tyjardia

Tyjardia