24 June, 2010

And there was great rejoicing!

Australia has a female Prime Minister.

I'm going to repeat that because I'm still having trouble believing it.

Australia has a female Prime Minister!
The Honorary Julia Gillard became the first woman to hold the title of Prime Minister of Australia earlier today. She was sworn in by our first female Governer General.
I'm still having trouble believing that this actually happened!!

Today I am not listening to people who make sexist jokes at her expense. Today I'm not listening to people who say our country is now doomed. Today I'm not listening to people who say she not fit because she's childless, or atheist, or unmarried.
Because today I weep for joy.

I stuck her photo on the staff room cupboard with the words "Gillard Newe PM" cut out of the newspaper. I wrote a message on the whiteboard in my room so that everyone could see my joy. I bought cake and chocolates for my coworkers so we could celebrate together. Because I am so unbelievably happy right now.

I tried to explain it to one of our students. She wanted to know why this made me so happy; all my coworkers did. I looked at my room full of toddlers and babies. My room mostly filled with children presumed female.
And I said, these children are growing up in a world where a woman can be Prime Minister. It's not a dream, or a hope, it s a fact. That is the world these children are growing up in.

I couldn't keep the break out of my voice, or the tears from my eyes. Because today it became a reality.

Australia has a female Prime Minister!

And I can't help but weep with joy.

17 June, 2010

Creating an Equalist Playlist

Please suggest me songs!

This is just the start! More songs will be added as people suggest them. Yes, I am actually buying these songs and adding them to a playlist.

Jill Souble: I Kissed A Girl (lyrics)
Lily Allen: Fuck You (Lyrics)
Lily Allen: Knock Em Out (Lyrics. Warning for some ableist language in this song)
Lily Allen: The Fear (Lyrics)
No Doubt: Just A Girl (lyrics. There's a popup on this site)
They Might Be Giants: Your Racist Friend (Lyrics. Warning for some ableist language in this song)

My definition of Equalist can be found in my profile, visible at the side of this page.

10 June, 2010

When she was twenty-two...

MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNINGS!! Warning for talk of abuse, self harm, sexual assault...

And this is just the stuff i can remember.

"You're too young to be depressed."
"Why are you so sad, you've got your whole life ahead if you?"
"What could have possibly happened to make you this way? You're only..."
"You're too young to know what real suffering is like."
"You're too young..."

I've heard it all before. Since I was a child, people were telling me that I had no right to feel bad, no right to be depressed. After all, what could have possibly happened to me? I was only 6, 10, 13, 15, 17, 18, 22...

The earliest I remember feeling depressed is when I was six. I tried to explain it not my mum. I didn't have the words. I told her I felt sad, listless, like I couldn't care about anything. She said "You mean you don't care about God or Jesus or your family? That's a horrible thing to say!". Not horrible that a six year old would feel like that... That I was a horrible person, as if my inability to care about things meant I didn't love my family. Because that's how she interpreted it.

How was she to know I was depressed? I was only six. How was I to know? I don't even know why I felt that way, my memories are far too fuzzy. I only remember guilt, and shame, a fear of my bath, a fear of rape.

When I was ten, I was sexually abused by someone I trusted, an adult who was so much a part of the family that we called him "Uncle". A good, upstanding Christian man. He groomed me first. He bought me treats, and sweets, was kind to me, did anything I wanted. When he touched me, he made me believe that it was an accident, that it was my imagination. When he rubbed my back, he said it was just friendly, he was just helping. My mother scolded me, telling me I was never to let a man touch me like that again.

When he pulled my pants down, he made it seem like an accident. He was just playing. When he put his hand down my nickers and grabbed me, he grinned and apologized for being so rude.
He left me feeling, to this day, that the assault was my fault. That I had caused it. Didn't my mother warn me? Why did I let him do that? Did I make him do that?

When I was in school, I was subject to a never ending tirade of abuse. From shunning to insults to people who pretended to be my friend just to see me cry when they insulted me. It got to the point where I would rather die than have to face school again.
When I had "friends" who beat me up at fourteen, I thought, at least they're paying attention to me.
When I had "friends" who made clear how much they hated me at fifteen, I though, at least they arrant beating me up.

I was thirteen when i started hurting myself. I would tear out chunks of skin with my fingernails. I would heat up a spoon with boiling water then hold it to my skin until it burned, leaving huge blisters on my hand. I would punch walls with bare fists as hard as I could, leaving my hands covered in scrapes and bruises. I would scratch at my ankles and thighs with sharp scissors, going over the same mark again and again and again. I would out peroxide and tea tree oil on my cuts just to feel the sting. I would snap rubber bandcs on my hands repetitively, hard enough to lessee welts. I would snap rubber bands on the burns I'd given myself, on the cuts I'd given myself.
I call myself a "former" self harmer, but I don't feel I can fully claim that title. The last time I hurt myself was last year, and I've thought about doing it a Hell of a lot since then.

When I was 15 I moved out of home. My parents tried to make me move back, and threatened to cut off all support, financial, emotional, unless I did what they asked. I won that battle, but at a terrible cost.

When I was sixteen, I was living with a friend of mine who emotionally abused me. She didn't mean to, and she did and does love me, but the scars she left still hurt. Still have me doubting myself and my feelings.

I've always had to tiptoe around my father. For as long as I can remember. I never knew when he would start to rant and rave, when he would throw things. One minute he was my father, the next he was a ball of barely contained fury. I would hide in my room until he stopped shouting. I would bring him a cup of coffee after he finished, hoping against hope that he didn't turn his rage on me. It was a nightmare. One minute I would be talking to him, the next it was as if something snapped, and all I can remember is the rage.

When I was 17, I had someone follow me home because they couldn't take no for an answer. He refused to leave until a friend of mine pulled a knife on him.
At 18 I had someone I didn't know follow me home. He asked for directions, I didn't know the way, he followed me home. This was ten at night, everything was closed, I was terrified and alone. When I got home, I thought I was safe, until he rapped on the window.

I was terrified growing up. Scared of my father and what he would do if I was bad. Scared of being raped. Scared of my mother blaming me for the sexual abuse. Scared of hell... Fuck, I'm a Pagan and I'm still terrified of Hell.

I'm still trying to stop myself from blaming myself for everything.

So tell me, at what age am I allowed to have experienced this shit. At what age am I allowed to be upset by it? When you tell me I'm only young, I've had a short life, yes. I am young. My lief has been short. But I was abused at ten. Young means diddly squat. Young doesn't protect you from harm. Young doesn't stop older men abusing you. Young doesn't stop you abusing yourself. Young doesn't mean that you haven't experienced some horrific fucking shit in your life.

And writing off my experiences because you think I'm too young to understand? Is a fucking shitty thing to do.

03 June, 2010

I don't owe you anything

Warning! this post is a rant about victim blaming and street harassment. It will be upsetting. I know because it's upsetting me right now.

Last night I was having dinneer with some friends of mine. This is not unusual, we do this nearly every Wednesday night. We play laser tag together and then go to the same restaurant for food, because it's good and we've gotten to know the people there.

Last night I was engaged in what I though was a very productive discussion about the differences between objectification and physical attraction. We talked about where they overlapped, and that the main diffence is how you view the person you are physically attracted to, and where you take it from there.
The discussion shifted and changed, as discussions are want to do. We talked about douchebags and people who Just Dont Get It. I mentioned thoses people who refuse to take no for an answer when you're trying to read.

And that's when it all went to shit. Someone decided to chime in at that point: "Don't you get on your high horse when you don't even have the decentcy to politely say 'i don't want to talk to you'".
Um... What? Weren't we just talking about douchebags who won't take no for an answer? Douchebags who pester you regardless of what you're doing, whether you have earphones or are reading or are otherwise quite obviously ignoring them?

I said as much. Actually, truth be told, I shouted. I shouted that if I was reading then you had no right to talk to me. I shouted that even saying no isn't enough for some people. I shouted that I don't know whether the person talking to me is going to take a polite rebuff or uses that as a way to keep talking to me or uses that as an excuse to start shouting at me and threatening me. Because you know what? All of thesse things have happened to me while I've been on the train.
Normally at night, when there aren't any witnesses. Because I am a very slight, small woman, and I look like I'd be easy to intimidate. It's true, I am easy to intimidate.

One of the people, the person who I normally consider to be a sexist douchebag but who was actually engaging fully in the prior discussion, actually supported me, and said that since I'd explain my experience, my reaction was warranted.

But that did stop other people jumping in to attack me.

I told them I was scared whenever I was out on my own at night. I told them about my keys and my deodorant and my empty headphones used as a way to deter people and protect myself. I told them about the people who had shouted, threatened, followed me home.

And I got the questions. Why didn't you ask someone for help? Why didn't you go to someones house or to a shop? Why didn't you scream or run? Why why why why why didn't you stop these men when they decided you weren't worth squat to them?

And that's when one woman said that, well, I was just whining. After all, she managed to kick two rapists out of her home, and she's the same size as me! But she's helpful, really, she'll show me how to defend myself, but the difference between us is that she took action and I just whined about it.

You know what? Fuck you! Fuck you all!!!

I was asked directions by a man while walking home one night. I politely said "Sorry, I don't know". And he proceeded to follow me home, right up to my houser, and started rapping on the window.

I was asked for change. After refusing, he started getting in my face and shouting at me, abusing me. Mybfriend pulled me away, tried to protect me, so he started in on her. With multiple people looking on. I asked the people standing around for help but they refused even to let me borrow a phone to call the police.

Someone yelled "Hey sexy!" to me on the street. When I ignored him, he followed me down the street shouting that I was a bitch and a cunt and stuck up and I thought I was so great but really I was an ugly bitchy cunt!

I was on the train, reading a book. Someone asked me about it. I said, "it good", then turned away and ignored them. He pressed. I didn't answer. He pressedd more. I said "excuse me, I'm trying to read". He said "well fine, bitch, I was just trying to make polite conversation. God, you women are so full of shit, and you won't even give me the time of day".


These are men who's opinion of women is so low that they think they have the right to treat me like shit.

Guess what? You don't have the right to talk to me. You don't have the right to me. You don't have the right to conversation, to see me smile, to holler at me. Your rights end where mine begin, and I have the right to be left the fuck alone.

You know what? Leave me the fuck alone!!!!!