Archive for the ‘Sex’ 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.

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

 

Reflections On Love, Part I, II & III

Reflections on LoveThe day is ending, and mercifully cooling. The afternoon was so hot that everyone was short of patience and quick to temper, but with the gentle cooling of the evening has come cooler heads at last. Our dogs, which are so important to Hilke and Judith, were utterly exhausted by the heat today. The moment we got back from town we got their harnesses and coats off and they shot out into the garden to cool off under the garden sprinkler. Now here I sit out on our lawn under the shade of the maple tree watching our youngest. He is six months old, naked and discovering new and fascinating things in the grass. Sissi, Judith’s guide dog, is watching him from the shade, she is a dog with a natural mothering instinct and will keep an eye on him at all times. Somewhere in the bushes and vines to the side of me Hilke, Nicky and one of their friends are devising some new game, I can hear them arguing out the “rules” !

Reflections  On Love Part I

Across the lawn on the green wall, where she grows salad produce Judith is picking salad leaves with Mariakse, our three year old, the first born of my womb. Those leaves will go into the bowl to go with our meal this evening. She grows an amazing range of herbs and leaves there, many of which have a medicinal quality but all of which go to make some beautifully fragrant salad combinations. She is wearing one of her white linen summer dresses that mark the line of her slender frame so nicely. I am reflecting on the beauty I see. Mariaske is sitting on her shoulders to reach leaves at the top of the wall. I could hear Judith giving her instructions, always so very patient with the children, to me it is part of her beauty. The dipping evening sun was shinning through that white dress showing another aspect of her beauty. The funny thing is that I can see her naked form any time I wish but as I watched her there the covering of her long white dress seemed to be all the more erotic. I know that many couples on becoming parents feel a loss of their sexuality but watching that lovely form I wondered just how that could be because for me becoming a mother has enhanced the sensuality in my life. The more I watched the more I wanted to slip upstairs with her for a few minutes, and with those rather tantalising thoughts in my head I dozed off in the evening sun.

Reflections  on Love Part II

Reflections on LoveAfter school yesterday we had collected the children and taken to the park for some games. It had clearly been a long day in stuffy school classrooms because both Nicky and Hilke were very irritable with each other, nasty irritable. Hilke has an especially sharp tongue which she can use to slice and dice to good effect and was doing so liberally with Nicky. Judith and I watched from our park seat when just as the mutual abuse reached a pitch Hilke’s legs gave out and she pitched face first to the ground. It is a characteristic of her Spina Bifida that sometimes the signals down her spine misfire and take her legs out from under her. Judith was about to jump up and rush across but I stopped her and watched as Nicky dashed back to help his sister as Jos (Hilke’s guide dog) fussed about her. As we watched all trace of anger at her had vanished from his face as very gently he brushed some leaves and dirt off her face and checked her for injury as he had been taught. All the anger and frustration with his sister had left his body language to be replaced with………………………complete concern. The spinal misfire had also caused her to loose bladder control briefly. He could have have easily teased her about that in revenge for her savage tongue, but instead he reassured her and helped her cover her embarrassment. Later at home, all cleaned up, she came to her brother as he sat at the big table doing some drawing and wrapping her arms around him gave him a kiss. They exchanged no words or signing, but all nasty words of earlier were wiped away. It was a moment that makes all the hard work of being a parent worthwhile. As they grow up they will always have their disagreements but the understanding they have of each other’s worlds as shaped by their respective disabilities has given them a bond and a deeper love.

Reflections  On Love Part III

Reflections on LoveYesterday, despite the sun having set it was still hot and the air still. We had set up beds out under the patio vines so that we could all sleep outside with the hope that a good sleep in the night air by candle light would help re balance everyone. All the children were restless and having trouble trying to sleep in the still humid air. Our youngest, Joost (six months old), was the most discontent. Just after midnight he tucked up beside me on the double hammock that Judith and I occupied and I put my breast to his mouth in the hope that he would finally fall asleep as he suckled. Initially he was just as restless at my breast as he had been before, but slowly he started to draw on me more deeply and soon I felt his little body relax against me. I will never cease to be amazed by this incredible thing we call motherhood. As he had suckled and my milk let down I felt my love for him surging through me as my milk flowed out. It was as though all my own frustrations and annoyances of the day were being sponged, perhaps sucked is a more apt expression, away. This wonderful sensation was of course the hormone Oxytocin. It is an amazing and incredible feat of nature, with Joost latching onto my nipple the hormone was released into my blood stream further sealing the mother /infant bond and causing another hormone, prolactin, to kick in and stimulate my breasts to make milk. I knew that this amazing dance of chemicals was going on inside me to produce these feelings, but it did not matter. I was away on a cloud of love, remembering the icy winter night of his birth, remembering the way his little body had filled mine both physically and spiritually before bursting forth orgasmically into the dim light of dawn.
The more he drew on my breast the greater my recollection of my complete rapture upon seeing him in those first few moments of his life. By the time I was reaching down between my legs to pick him up and hold him to me I was wondering how much love was needed to actually stop a human heart because mine was so full at that moment I was sure it would stop at any moment. At my breast Joost was utterly content, maybe even enjoying his own recollection of loves first moments perhaps, I would like to think he was. In the end I do not know which of us fell asleep first.

My absent parents thought parenting was a matter of throwing money and goods at their child was a good way to raise them while leaving out time, attention, love and affection. When I was a teenager I had made my mind up that I was never going to inflict the experience of childhood that I had on by never having children of my own. I was very certain of that, rock solid certain. It is funny how chance encounters can so completely change you but I am so very glad a chance encounter I had changed me because I would hate to have missed out on all of this.

Author: Nina.