Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Mistaken Assumptions & Muslim Swingers

We have a friend, well not so much friend but acquaintance. She used to the civilian clerical assistant at a medical centre Nina’s midwives used. She is a Dutch muslim lady, married with two almost teen children. She and her hubby were not what I would call devote in their religion but still followed it. She always wore a loose headscarf but would remove it amongst women. Her hubby did not have a full beard but just some sort beard arrangement. This said they always took an opportunity to espouse the value and piety of islam. To be honest while I found her pleasant enough her hubby I was always uneasy near, so was my guide dog Sissi, she would always nudge me away from him like some little tug boat attending to it’s liner (not saying I am built like a ship !)

A few years ago after her hubby had come to pick his wife up from work he learnt Nina and I were married. Later at a St Nicholaas event he approached Nina and asked if she and I would be interested in joining him and his wife for “a night” ! Nina, eyebrows raised signed to me what he had just asked and I fully expect her to do her usual upon getting such a request. On this occasion she was very restrained and declined, more or less politely and he escaped without his gonads being crushed. When Nina asked what on earth possessed him to even think it was appropriate to ask such a thing his response that as we were lesbians we were promiscuous and would welcome such a request from such a, and here I quote him “fine couple like us” !

Interesting that to him “lesbian” = promiscuous.

I grabbed Nina’s hand and we walked away but I know that later Nina told the lady that if her hubby ever showed his face in the base clinic again she would have the MPs arrest him.

Yesterday in town we ran into her in a store and during the usual pleasantries she said to us that she and her hubby would still be interested in us joining them. Now while I missed exactly how it had been said because I was not face on to the lady and so could not clearly read her lips I could see Nina flex her back in that way she does just before she belts someone so I quickly intervened and asked how it was that she squared casual sexual encounters with other married couples to her religious beliefs.

Her answer surprised me, a lot.

“You are not muslim so you do not count” unquote.

MMmmmmmmmmm………………………………………

Now I am not saying that HER interpretation of islam is one that is mainstream, certainly not, but it is reflective of a degree of exceptionalism that I have noticed before amongst jews and Christians as well. It strikes me that when it comes to getting one’s end away ALL followers of religions will find justifications – just ask the Duggers !

Before I sign off I will answer the question I know is in your minds………………………. NO

(we have standards you know !).

What Is Rape Part II : Violence

In light of the recent gang rape of a young woman on an Indian bus and her subsequent poor and negligent treatment by society I recently re-posted “What Is Rape To A Woman”. I was also asked if I could provide some sort of idea what my own recovery from violent sexual assault has been like. I hesitated to do this initially.
It is now some thirteen years since the attack on me when I had just turned twenty years of age and time has moved me on to a point where I am not the same person – I no longer get irritated when people mention the word “Recovery” – any Survivor will tell you that you never “recover”, you just learn to live for another day.

Here goes……………………………………..

Today

I am many things. I am a wife. I am a mother of four children, two with special needs who we adopted and two of our own. I am a sister. I am a daughter. I am a physiologist. I am a humanist. I am a feminist. I am profoundly deaf. I am partly sighted.

I am also a Survivor – of rape.

Before My Death

I had a very happy childhood. My parents are farmers, owning an estate of a number of farms. I had a wonderful childhood able to run and roam the countryside, and lucky enough to have parents who did not believe in teaching their children what to think, but how to think.and think freely for themselves. After school at eighteen i joined the military. I wanted to see something of the world while continuing my education so a military medical career was a logical choice. In just two years i completed my first degree, a course that would have taken three in the civilian world. Even after two years service I got to see aspects of life I would never have otherwise been exposed to. Just after qualifying i was posted to a military hospital in Germany on an exchange programme with other NATO countries (ten years ago NATO was not the tool of American imperialism it is today).

My Death

One night while i was on call at the hospital I was posted at. At about three am a male civilian worker, a janitor, broke into my room and attacked me with the clear intent of rape. I fought back.

I was found minutes after he fled with his own few injuries. My own injuries were extremely extensive as he had been armed with a knife, hammer and a sense of entitlement to a woman. The trauma department medical team were summoned and worked on me on the floor of that room until i was just stable enough to be moved to the operating rooms where i spent the next sixteen hours in what was to be the first of some twenty six major surgeries and twenty seven lesser ones over the two years that followed. When found I had already almost bled out and before I was even moved to surgery it was estimated they had replaced my entire blood volume.

To summarise my injuries but skipping the details:-

  • Fractured skull
  • Brain damage.
  • Fracture jaw.
  • Multiple fracture to facial bones.
  • The first two resulting in the complete loss of my hearing and damage to my visual cortex.
  • Punctured lung.
  • Six broken ribs
  • Broken right wrist.
  • Seven broken fingers.
  • Multiple lacerations to my back, my upper and lower abdomen, my chest and breasts..
  • Right breast almost severed.
  • Shattered pelvis resulting in a complete rebuilding, plating and bolting.
  • Ruptured Uterus, torn uterine arteries resulting in hysterectomy.

My stay in ICU totalled  five months, six weeks of that was in a coma, my total time in hospital was twenty four months. It took me eighteen months to learn how to talk again, and eighteen months to learn how to walk once more. I entered hospital as a patient two days after my twentieth birth and came out two days before my twenty second.

People think that it is the actual attack that is the worst aspect of rape, it is not, it is just the start of a long journey that starts in violence, continues through degradation, makes several stops at humiliation, through betrayal and finally, assuming the wheels stay on, brings you to a place you can once again live. People think that once you are in hospital you are safe from harm, that you will be “OK now”, they are wrong. Hospital is pain, it is more trauma and when your injuries are extensive it is so unrelenting that it hospital becomes a form of torture, a fact that is only now being recognised by the medical profession. People think that powerful opiates will relieve all  pains, they do not, even when pumped constantly and directly into your spinal cord (intrathecal).

I was in a coma for some six weeks after the attack so was not able to help with the investigation of the attack. When i was out of the coma I could not hear, talk or even write. Communication was limited to me pointing at a picture board the nurses held up in order to express myself. After my first interview with the  military police investigators I immediately realised that it was I who was the subject of their investigation,not my attacker. They had little interest in catching my attacker because they thought he had been a soldier in their military and that actually identifying him and putting him on trial would be a major embarrassment to them. Their investigation was already based on the assumed fact that I had invited a man to my room and that at some point our liaison had turned violent. This despite the fact that the door to my room had been kicked in, despite the fact that the room itself was totally wrecked and blood soaked, despite the fact that I made no secret of being a lesbian and having zero sexual or romantic interest in the male of the species. It took me a week with a cognitive specialist my parents brought in for me to tell my story and even then the police did not believe me and tried very hard to persuade me to change my memory of events to suit their design. I refused, fortunately being mute and largely deaf helped make non-cooperation easy. There is a reason so few women ever report being raped to the authorities, it is because across all countries, across all cultures it is the victim who comes under suspicion. Social scrutiny, scrutiny by the media even scrutiny and often condemnation by local religious authorities. Most societies and religions are inherently misogynistic so the men in it seek to mitigate the awfulness of what another male has done to a woman by looking for excuses as to why the women might be at fault, either in part or in whole. Despite the sheer scale of my injuries the American Military Police took the approach that “I might have sent confusing signals to my attacker” even in the face of evidence of my room being broken into, despite the fact that he had obviously come equipped with knife and hammer. This attitude remained until the German Federal Police showed that my attacker was in fact a civilian Turkish immigrant cleaner. For a while the US military continued to stick to their idea of what had happened. Their sexist view was eventually changed when new evidence emerged, sadly it was the kidnap, rape and torturing to death of a German girl that was the price of American enlightenment.

Some weeks after the attack on myself a German girl was kidnapped in another part of Germany. Her body was eventually found. She had been raped and then tortured to death. DNA recovered from her showed that her attacker was my attacker. The German Federal Police no longer had to tolerate obstruction from the American military and the lax investigation by the american military police. The German authorities were fantastic, they got me out of that hospital and into one where the military police could not keep harassing me to change my story, in fact the German Investigating Judge expressly forbid they had any further contact with me. Within five days they had identified the man, a Turkish immigrant worker, but unfortunately he had fled back to Turkey and vanished, though the Germans continue to make every effort to return him to Germany.

Side Note**: Several years after my attack I met the parents of the murdered girl, Sabina. I cannot imagine losing one’s child, but to lose them in the way they did had left them devastated with memories of her last days that no one should have to ever face. My wife and I met them when we had all travelled to Berlin to meet with the Federal Prosecutor some years after my attack. The German Government were applying yet again to the Turkish Government to have the man extradited back to Germany to stand trial. Nina, my wife, was pregnant with our first pregnancy at that time, just entering her second trimester. We already had adopted two children, so this was to be our third child.  When my wife gave birth to our first baby girl we named her “Mariaske Sabina “ after their daughter and asked that they be her god parents. Every June 15th they join us for the day as we celebrate Mariaske Sabina’s birthday.

Surviving Death & Becoming A Survivor

(This is a very sanitised account of recovery)
I was exceedingly fortunate in having a close family who fought for me every step of the way, they even learnt sign language (NGT) before I did so that they would be ready to help me. In all my time in hospital there was never a day when one of them or another was not there. I was blessed to have friends who went to enormous lengths to keep in touch, write, and visit. Without all their big hearted efforts i would never have recovered at all, how any rape survivor manages without a supporting network around her I do not know.

Coma & Brain Injury

Brain injuries are extremely difficult to recover from. Coming out of a coma is not like the scenes you see in movies where the character, perfectly made up, hair brushed and fresh looking flutters their eyes and says hello to those waiting beside the bed. It can take days to surface as the doctors reverse the drugs. Time has no meaning to you none at all. Dreams are all nightmares filled with pain you are experiencing even through the opiates. You cannot see as you wake, the muscles in your eyes simply will not respond. I could not form any words, the connections between my cognitive self and my vocal cords were gone, in addition to my jaw being wired up. I could not move much below my waist, and to try was simply to send shards of agony lancing up from deep inside my pelvis and bowels into my chest. My arms and hands were pinned and wrapped in dressings. Just moving my torso produced burning pains across my back and chest. Worst of all was that my sense of balanced had been destroyed, every single movement of my head produced wave after wave of nausea. This was just waking up.

After waking the real nightmare began. You have to learn so much all over again, be it holding a fork, talking or remembering your own name. My brain had to learn how to use a sense of balance all over again after the destruction of the balance centre on one side by a hammer blow. In order to function again after injury your brain has to rewire itself and that takes a staggering amount of energy and resources. One hour spent with a speech therapist might seem a small effort for a normal person to make, but when your brain is rebuilding itself it takes four, five, even six times the amount of energy so as a result you can suddenly hit an energy brick wall and your ability to continue to function just collapses. Your brain is literally not firing properly, drug side effects strip many chemicals and elements you need out of your body and disrupt normal hormonal function. You do, in every sense, lose yourself, your very sense of self, of what it is to be you.

Plastic Surgery

During my time in hospital I was either recovering from a reconstructive surgery or preparing for the next. The first repairs done on my shattered pelvis had to be taken apart when it was realised that the way they had been made the first would not allow me to ever walk again so all of that had to be re-done. I have four metal plates, two bolts of the type normally found in trucks and some two dozen screws holding me together there. My jaw and face were put back together by a wonderful US Army plastic surgeon. She also did much to do the cosmetic repairs to my vulva and vagina which had been repeatedly slashed with a box knife. My right breast had been almost completely severed by a knife blow that had been aimed at my heart but had hit my sternal bone and skidded off along my ribs and under the breast. It was saved by some careful surgery. To my joy my breasts have gone on to nurture each of our four children.

Nutrition

My sister realised early on that the nutrition I was getting in hospital was appalling so my family talked with my cousin, and our family doctor Tyjardia. She did much research and in doing so completely changed her own approach to medical care. The result was that I was fed not by hospital provided food but by food designed to be easy for me to eat yet containing all the minerals and trace elements I needed. Oddly hospitals and doctors are incredibly ignorant about nutrition and even if they were better informed because they would not be able to feed you the one thing you really need but be forced by medical dogma to use pharmaceutically approved foods, they have become dispensers not practitioners of healthing in so many ways.

Doctors & Idiot Doctors

At first doctors told me I would never walk again and that I should start to learn to live in a wheelchair. I refused. They went on to obstruct me in trying to walk again by refusing access to physiotherapy, so I crawled out of bed one day and dragged myself to a wheelchair and wheeled myself to physio and demanded assistance. When I returned to my ward a doctor told me I was not to do that again so I told him that I had managed to stand and take two steps (granted I had then plunged very painfully to the floor gaining the first of a great many small physio injuries), then I kicked him in the knee. I was still in the military at that time so he put me on a charge, but he made the mistake of still standing in range of the one foot I could kick with, so I kicked him again. The next day the nurses left a wheelchair next to my bed and again I spent over an hour getting myself to to physio. After a few days of this I started to notice various nursing, lab and portering staff “just going my way” and so pushed me there – when some of the doctors found out they were not happy. In my time in the three military hospitals I was in I was put on a charge sixteen times after being abusive to doctors, throwing things at doctors and generally being a total bitch. None of those charges ever went anywhere, and I never targeted the good doctors, just the idiots.

After eighteen months of unbelievable pain and a great many falls that left me intimately acquainted with a great many floors I was walking unaided. Two months later I had the morphine stopped. The strange thing about opiates is how you do not become addicted to them when you have chronic pain, just dependent on them for some quality of life. When you decide it is time to stop you can – which raises some interesting questions regarding so-called addiction. For all the difficulties I had with medical staff to their credit they always managed my pain to the best of their ability and that of the drugs and when I wanted to stop them they supported me in deciding the time was right.
During my hospital stay I had to see several psychiatrists, one of those occasions being a blatant attempt by the military police to have me labelled mentally unstable, it failed. There are many occasions after rape where a woman realises just how misogynistic society is, even in the west. It is so deeply ingrained into society that a lot of the time we do not see it for what it is until we are raped. It also highlighted to me just how far up their own arse the medical profession was, but that is a whole other discussion. The first shrink I was sent to was male, he had no idea how to communicate with a woman, let alone one with wrecked hearing, and no idea how he was going to communicate with me given that I was unable to talk at that time. Our interview lasted less than fifteen minutes during which he had not understood one single thing. Despite this he wrote a report on me running to six sides, all of it just subjective opinion, yet on the basis of his report people in authority were deciding things about me, some of which influenced the military police in how they conducted their investigation.

Flesh Wounds

As time went on and I moved hospitals things did improve and once I was in a Dutch speaking military hospital attitudes shifted noticeably. I was tended to by female staff only, a simple but sensitive step. Before doing anything to me they would take the time to ask me first by writing the request down on a pad. This sounds like a small thing to you reading this now but when you have no control over what is happening to you it matters, when your own brain can barely control your own limbs or formulate your mouth to speak that little bit of self determination matters. Dressing changes on my wounds were hell incarnate. The ones on my back alone took an hour to just remove, changing the dressings over my vulva left me in tears and peeling away the dressing on my breast would leave me soaked in sweat. Once the dressing changes were complete I was left feeling like the last jelly on a plate, and just to round off the experience would come the realisation that tomorrow it would start again the next day. I refused to look at myself in a mirror for a very long time, it took the careful and tender coaxing of my lovely plastic surgeon for me to finally look at my own face again, that was eight months to the day after the attack. When the repairs on my pelvis reached the point where I could once again control my own bladder I wept with joy, for days after I would go to the wc and pee, stop, pee, stop, pee, stop just reveling in joy of having that bit of control once more – I doubt that you reading this could ever appreciate that pleasure !

Womb Loss

For me the real loss,and the one I grieved over for a very long time, was the loss of my womb. During the fight with my attacker he had at one point kicked me so hard that the blow lifted me a meter up a wall. My recollection of the attack is hazy at best but that part I do recall well, I felt the moment my uterus tore and in the instant knew I lost the chance of children of my own. When the medical team found me it was the torn uterine arteries that were going to kill me first, the head injuries would have as well of course, just more slowly. A very brave USAF trauma doctor opened me up there on the floor resecting my uterus enough to clamp off the arteries, he saved my life of course but killed a part of me. Later in surgery I had a partial hysterectomy and that was that. I had always wanted children.

 

Coming To My (Remaining) Senses

Sound

“Would you rather be deaf or mute?” is a question you hear sometimes. I have been both and I can tell you it is better to be deaf. Personally I think if a mute person kills anyone they should get an automatic pass on any conviction because you have no idea, no idea at all, just how stupid, insensitive, impatient, rude and insulting human beings are until you are mute. When mute you are treated like you have had all your brains shovelled out of your skull with an ice cream scoop. Prejudice and discrimination start from the very moment they realise you cannot talk, you are effectively dismissed from their presence and mind, you become a shadow in the world. The day I learnt to say my own name again………….it was the most wonderful high I experienced in my life up until then, with the return of my ability to say my own name I started to feel like I was regaining something of myself. In time some of my hearing did return on one side but its return also came with a warning from the audiologist, it would at some point almost certainly fail and fail beyond any point at which it could be rescued and that I should be prepared for that, as if you could. In the end it lasted three more years, just long enough to hear the first words of our first (adopted) daughter. We use sign language a lot in our household. Our oldest son is profoundly deaf since birth so for us sign is our first language. I also lip read, though this is a very imperfect thing, even the best lip reader will identify little more than thirty percent of the spoken words, much of the rest we fill in by reading face and body language. Sign language is a thing of beauty, wonderfully expressive in ways the spoken words cannot always achieve.

Vision

The attack also caused some damage to my visual cortex. This came to be much more of a problem after another injury just a few years ago which resulted in another intra-cranial bleed. I now have no low light vision (dusk), I have no sight in my lower right quadrant and some blind spots in my main field of vision. The decline in my sight does seem to have stabilised for now. I can function perfectly well in places that I know such as the city I live. I have an assistance dog who is trained to be my ears and my sight but when travelling I need an escort as well as my very faithful dog Sissi. With my remaining sight now in decline I have been taking lessons on how to manage with reduced sight in and around the home and out in the world. I am also learning how to read Braille in case my sight declines o the point where it is needed.

Surviving & Living

Of course leaving hospital was not the end, recovery is on going and eventually becomes management of those damaged and impaired areas of my body.. While in hospital I started another degree, this time in physiology. I knew the amount of damage to my body meant I was going to have to manage myself very carefully for the rest of my life so I resolved to learn all I could to maximise my chances. The value of the right nutrition had already been very emphatically shown to me. This study was also good exercise for my brain. Over a decade on I still have to manage my body carefully through diet, exercise, yoga and meditation.

I also learnt the power of love. Love of parents, siblings and family, love of friends, love of strangers wanting to help in any small way they could. Something I learnt in hospital is that lonely people die. I also learnt that communication is everything, so if your ability to communicate is impaired you have to pour all your effort into develop new ways. Sign language, draw, paint, write act, anything but keep communicating or even in the most crowded room you will become the loneliest of all creatures.
Rape and sexual assault are never, ever “deserved” under any circumstances. When you read or see something about an attack on a person never just swallow what the media tell you, engage your own brain and think for yourself. Look at who is saying what and question their motives, the more influential a person is who is saying something question them most of all.

As I have already alluded to, a few years ago following an accident I had another head injury and during my hospital stay it was found I still had one functioning ovary, complete with eggs. We had those eggs harvested. At Nina’s insistence she became a surrogate mother for my child. Nina give birth to my son Joost Karl on Jan 1st 2010. Just let me write those words once more……“My Son” because it is still so special to me to be able to say this. In a family no one child should be more special than another, each are special in their own right but Joost is special. Special because we thought I would never have a child genetically mine, special because my wife gave her womb, her entire body to bring him into the world, special because a dear friend was happy to donate sperm, special for all the medical staff who seeing how much this meant gave their time to help it happen and special for all my family who supported us every step of the way so that I could hold my son to my breast in our bedroom on the night he was born and cry for the death of the person I used to be before a so-called man decided he would impose himself upon me.

Rape reaches deep into the lives it touches in profound ways, if we are lucky we survive it but many do not as they are crushed by their rapist, by police, by the legal system, by the media, by society, and religions.

I have been exceedingly lucky.

Author: Judith van der Roos.

– – –

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.

Business; The Jacob Marley Perspective

As the wealthy, politicians, lobbyists and business men skulk back to whatever comfortable and warm lairs they inhabit for a brief holiday of further excess and hollowness before resuming their assault next year on what they perceive to be “the burden of social programmes” I hope they can take a little time to recall some words:

 

In his wonderful novella A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens masterfully delivers his message through his well written prose. Time and time again he efficiently delivered his message, that the wealthy must change, at how avaricious and blind they have been. Thus enlightening the wealthy members of society with this allegory.

Allegories have been written throughout the course of history, but few deliver their message as well as a Christmas Carol. Christmas Carol is cherished because of its simplicity and impact, while it is commemorated for it’s moral message. At the time of its writing the use of Ignorance and Want effectively delivered message that a moral change was needed by the wealthy, today we have reached the point where the modern wealthy and that new class of creatures we have allowed to develop that we can usefully call “the political class” need reminding again.

 

Wealth, power and position is not a right, it is a privilege afford to so very few and with it comes duty towards all others and the earth you live on. Should they fail to live up to those responsibilities correctly then they may rest assured that history will repeat itself and that those two children of mankind called Ignorance and Want will yet again remind them.

 

 

A Christmas Carol
The speech between the ghost of Jacob Marley and  Ebeneezer Scrooge.

Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed,’ cried the
phantom, ‘not to know, that ages of incessant labour, by
immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity
before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed.
Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in
its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life
too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that
no space of regret can make amends for one life’s
opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!’

‘But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,’
faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

‘Business!’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again.
‘Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my
business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence,
were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but
a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my
business!’

The full book is available here for free:

http://www.planetpdf.com/planetpdf/pdfs/free_ebooks/a_christmas_carol_t.pdf

Judith.

My Garden, Sensuality & Sex

Part I

It has been a long hot summer’s day, but now with sun set and the evening starting to cool it I  meandered through the summer paradise that is our modest walled garden in the heart of old Maastricht.

 

 

Botticelli's Primavera

Botticelli's Primavera

As I walked through my nigh time paradise my mind drifted to thoughts of that beautiful painting by Botticelli of spring called Primavera. In it Venus, precious and beautiful, is standing in the centre of the picture, set slightly back from the other figures. The figures of the Charites, also called Three Graces, are elegantly dancing a rondel. The garden of Venus, goddess of love, is guarded on the left by Mercury. It is a beautiful, wonderful, lovely painting full of symbolism and telling a story, as all pictures of that period did.

The painting contains images of nearly two hundred plant species. One, the myrtle plant that surrounds her is a plant that represents sexual desire, marriage, and child bearing. From the right, Zephyrus, the god of the winds, is forcefully pushing his way in, in pursuit of the nearly naked nymph Chloris clad only in a diaphanous gown. Chloris gave her name to chlorophyll, the substance that gives all plants their green colour. Next to her walks Flora, the goddess of spring, who is scattering flowers. Flora tells how she was once the nymph Chloris herself, and breathes out flowers as she does so. Aroused to a terrible fiery passion by her beauty, Zephyr, the god of the wind, follows Chloris and forcefully takes her as his wife, raping her. Regretting his violence, he transforms her into Flora. He makes his gift of contrition to her a beautiful garden in which eternal spring reigns. The painting actually depicts the two separate moments in the narrative, the erotic pursuit of Chloris by Zephyr and her subsequent transformation into Flora. She is beautiful with a rich flower garland on her head and delicate spring blooms erupting from her dress, arms full of flowers. Chloris/Flora, nymph, lover, mother, giver of life, force of nature. It is a painting that resonates with me on a number of levels.

One summer evening when I was in my very early teens I was in my grandmother’s sprawling garden. As we wondered arm in arm down her rose tunnel her lovely, lyrical, aging voice spoke a verse I had never heard before…

“Spring-time and Venus come, And Venus’ boy, the winged harbinger, steps on before, And hard on Zephyr’s foot-prints Mother Flora, Sprinkling the ways before them, filleth all, With colours and with odours excellent.”

She smiled as she told me that some of her best times with lovers had been in gardens. My Oma was famous for the long string of male and female lovers she had had in her life. Walking with her amidst stories of her lovers I found I was seduced by her garden, it was the first time I was aware that a garden could seduce you, but it was not the last. Ever since that lovely evening, I have been a prolific lover of gardens. In my time I have flitted from one garden to the next enjoying every brief liaison, and in some I have even indulged my own passions and lusts and given myself over freely to the botanical and the human delights with equal abandon.

Part II

This night I was wondering through my garden as I often do on summer nights, naked. I had shrugged my nightshirt off my shoulders as I left the hardness of wooden deck and stepped onto the cool grass. As my feet touched down on the soft, cool carpet of grass the first caress of the garden came and touched my feet, tickling little teases of grass between my toes, cool and soothing. The air of the night wrapped itself about my naked body pushing away the fog of the warm indoors and breathing freshness over every part of me with a caress as sensuous as any lovers kiss. Away from the house lights I was now blind, my sight no longer functions in low light, but it did not matter, I know my garden so well I do not need my now failing eye sight. I fancied I could almost navigate by smell alone. Turning left I could smell is the clematis along the Roman wall, turn right the first burst of Honeysuckle by the first border. I turn right to walk alongside the big stone and flint wall and my guide dog Sissi walks past me brushing my leg just enough to tell me that she is there watching over me like my own Zephyr, then she wanders off to take her own pleasure in the garden’s scents. Imagine if I had a dogs nose, how wondrous my garden would seem then. I could smell every tiny little bud, every mote of soil. I wondered if she could smell ladybirds, do caterpillars have a smell ? Does she see the smells of my garden as a haze of intermixing colours in the air?

 When you work your garden every day you can walk it by memory alone, I marvelled at how well I could move about despite not being able to see. Under foot I could tell where I was on the grass paths by the feel under my feet, by reaching out I could place my location by the feel of the plants that came into my hands. The Foxgloves filled my hands with their tall bell like structures so I had to be alongside the wall. I gently felt the separate little fox bells in my fingers and feel their delicate little structure as carefully as though I had my fingers in other intimate places.

Then I turned towards the long wildflower grass and stepped lightly into the patch and enjoyed the caressing of thigh high grasses and wild flowers. As I pushed through the light sea of grasses the lush smell of them washed about me, while all over my thighs delicate thin fingers tested and teased their way up. I bent forward and pushed my hands down into the gently rolling surf of grass and meadow flowers, the little strands and stalks between my fingers, crisp tight heads of grasses popping past me. The swaying heads played against my breasts, naughty little fingers reaching up to tickle and tease until I felt the familiar warmth of milk starting to let down. It felt like grass and meadow flowers were growing out of my legs, as though I was becoming Flora, how wonderful would that be, to breath out sapphire cornflower heads and golden Marigolds, sowing my garden afresh with each exhalation !

Then Sissi has circled back to me and pushed her muzzle into my right hand, the message for me to look about and pay attention. I looked and coming towards me silhouetted against the light from the house was a very familiar shape indeed. My very own Chloris clad in a diaphanous gown of fine white linen. In my mind I could make out the roll of her hips, that gentle swaying saunter she has that exudes sensuous sexuality. Wading through the floral surf she reached out and put her hands onto my hips and pulled us together. I smiled to myself as I realised her scent was Flowers a vivid mix of Jasmine, sweet pea and rose. I reached under the edge of her nightshirt and traced her nakedness underneath with my fingers, from the smoothness of her thighs, across the curves of her waist and across the flatness of her belly. Exactly a year before that wonderful belly had been great with child but now it was back to its normal gentle curvature while from womb to home our baby now slept soundly in the house. I un-did the buttons on her shirt and pushed it off her shoulders. As it dropped to form a white pool amid the darkness of the grass about her feet I stepped back . Chloris was naked before me. She took my arm and we walked the night time paths of our garden past Amethyst, Summer Sorbet, Wisteria and Akebia.

Author: Judith van der Roos.

 

Judith

Judith