Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Feminism’

People with Mental Health Issues are at the Forefront of Self Control

That might be a strange title but people who are aware that they have any kind of ‘mental health’ issue (be it anxiety, depression, stress, cognitive disorder, anti-social, fear of being around others or mixed mental/physical dis-ease) are people who have to face the struggle of gaining or re-gaining self control and to a much more enduring level than ‘regular’ people. (Bear in mind most people will experience mental health ‘deviance’/issues at some point in their lives or at least know someone who will.) This ever increasing number of people are constantly struggling to be in more control of themselves and at peace and positive – ‘peace and positivity’ sounds very zen/yogi doesn’t it? Well it is. Yoga practitioners/healthy living fans are not the only ones trying to achieve self control, mental health sufferers are more on the level of initiates trying to achieve a level that sometimes seems superhuman or divine. Why is that? For sufferers it’s because they’re seen as dangerous or a threat and start believing it themselves with intrusive thoughts and stigma which turns into self-harm and/or introverted-ness, much public perception sees them as linked to criminal behaviour and that’s a common yet extreme stereotype. For spiritual practitioners and religious people who are not Masonic/club members the ethos is that we can’t control our surroundings or society but we can control ourselves and we reach within ourselves to be at peace with the space without. Gaining or re-gaining self-control doesn’t mean that you’re dangerous to society, no one thinks that of priests/equivalent public/civil figures that way until they realize the scale of molestation, punishment and discrimination that goes on in most organized religion not to mention that religion is constantly used as a tool/excuse for resource grabbing and ethnic cleansing i.e. war, they are seen as the forefront of and to spirituality. Gaining or re-gaining self-control just means you’re trying to achieve it consciously rather than unconsciously e.g. trying to modify or get rid of a habit or addiction such as food, smoking or alcohol. But unlike spirituality (‘positive mental health’ where people are happy or comfortable being aware of and perhaps reaching out to people and places we can’t see) people with ‘negative mental health’ (where they’re being overwhelmed) struggle an every day battle with every thing; they might love something/one very much but have horrible thoughts about them or feel propelled to do something they don’t want to do so are constantly fighting it, trying to make peace with it, trying to control the ‘urge’. The point is they know they don’t want the pressure/’desire’ to think/do these possible things and so they’re constantly trying to be stronger to make sure they don’t, perhaps even making it so that they can’t do those things.

Terms I use:

(Obviously ‘mental health’ just means your mental health but it’s become a phrase that mean problems with your mental health and associated with illness.)

Positive ‘mental health’ – people who are ok with being called and/or calling themselves psychic, medium, spiritualist, priest, very religious person (meta-narrative believer), person who hears/feels comforting presences, person who purposely trains/opens themselves up to be aware of more (a part of Hinduism and Buddhism for example).

Negative ‘mental health’ – hear/feels/sees presences and/or thoughts that are not welcome.

Both are the same thing, both are aware of something else or a deeper part of consciousness whether mental, physical or both (imo they’re interconnected, I don’t believe the body is just temporal or merely a ‘suit’, I believe it to very important and capable of memory/consciousness, I don’t think it’s all in the brain where many think the mind is based, I think the mind is all over) but both don’t have the same effects for people.

There’s also the problem of ‘fantasy’ – believing in something that differs from general sensory reality such as believing in miracles and miraculous people/beings in religions or having a psychosis on an individual basis doesn’t mean it’s all fictitious. It’s easy to say ‘oh that’s their belief’ or ‘that’s their psychosis’ and the more time that passes and if the belief system becomes normalized we are able to see it as less threatening (remember when most religions or new branches of religion comes into being there is conflict and usually bloodshed). It’s part of their fantasy, it didn’t really happen, it doesn’t happen, they’re paranoid, susceptible, gullible, open to persuasion, a somnambulist etc. With one label the whole experience can be discredited or made easier to ignore, we assume that we understand their situation because we associate them with the things we’ve come across but that isn’t necessarily fair.

It’s a quandary; public opinion is becoming more informed and slightly more tolerant of people who hear voices for example (and many people do and will hear them at some point in their lives, not constantly but will hear a voice now and then and rationalize it ‘oh I thought I heard something, must have been this or that’, put it down as one of those strange experiences and possibly forget it) so the name ‘schizophrenia’ for example is met with a bit more compassion. However in the medical industry the labels and even diagnosis of ‘schizophrenia’, ‘multiple personality disorder’ and such are being discouraged with the general term ‘psychosis’ preferred partially because there’s so much about the mind and consciousness that we don’t know and that can affect us all in different ways. There are overlying patterns but it has to be seen on a more patient by patient basis rather than a one-size-fits-all model. But the word ‘psychosis’ hits a fear trigger in public, it’s compared with ‘psycho’, ‘socio’, ‘off-kilter’, ‘problem’, ‘dangerous’ etc so there’s a conflict between public and medical/associated institution perception which doesn’t help sufferers. That’s a factor of labeling in general and affects everybody in some way, we all fall into groups and classifications but ‘psychosis’ is pretty controversial in public even if common in healthcare.

I was told specialists that my sympathy and empathy are a ‘gift’, “a really beautiful gift that can’t be developed or learned easily, it’s not a talent in people it’s something you just have or don’t, a beautiful gift” (because I’m an easy crier and very easily relate to people and am able to get them to relate to each other) but when it’s taken advantage of such as in my situation it can be detrimental to me [or/and not to those who’d benefit]. That’s not to say I shouldn’t be but it has taken over. Another told me “what you’re going through is no judgement on you, you have to constantly remember that, it’s not judgement on you, this is not who you are or what you’re like, it shows, it really shows that it’s the opposite of you, these things playing out so horribly shows that you care so much about everybody and everything and that you have so much love.” I innately know that but it means so much to be told. My psychosis takes needing to know that I’m still a good person and a beautiful person, always have been and always will be to another level – it’s such a deep trauma and hurts so badly, like I’ve known nothing but war and home invasion my entire life and I just need respite and my privacy respected and to know that I’m not a bother, a burden nor an embarrassment and I don’t need to be hidden away either. I know how terrible it is for people to feel awful, in so much pain and in practically a merciless/pitiless position over physical beauty and identification let alone how I feel most of the time. This whole situation with ‘William’ (in regards to older blog posts) has made me feel like I need to be reminded that I’m actually a really likable person, I make people laugh, feel better about themselves, I want to know about them, to comfort in a deeply humane way and can easily understand their frustrations and am willing to in the first place. The problem with ‘William’ is that it was a romantic scenario and so has left the usual chasm of needing to be loved/knowing that you’re loveable, that ‘he’ should have loved me but didn’t. Ironically I didn’t need or want it to begin with and then I gave too much and he didn’t actually show me any love me at all, quite the opposite and tried to make it so that I couldn’t talk about what was/is going on. I’ve also been told by specialists that my case is “exceptional” and “extraordinary” (not in a good way), extremely frightening for me but not in a way that reflects badly on myself (something that ‘William’/his ‘people’ have done to/made me feel as if I’m bad, dirty, disgusting, ugly, ignorant, cybernetic/nothing but a tool, a ‘mark’ etc). My case is even harder to explain than ordinarily but not singular in a way that makes me more of a ‘threat’ – as society is led to see us – than one of the many other people in similar undiagnosed ‘psychoses’.

To transition on a slightly satirical note: I recently came across an automated system that asks you “if are terminally ill or have less than 6 months to live please press 1 otherwise please press 2” and in the circumstances it was just so insulting that I had to bitterly laugh and thought “no but I’d like to be so just so I don’t have to put up with this anymore”. That’s no disrespect to the terminally ill or prescribed as close to death but when you’ve got ‘mental health’ (that should actually mean you’ve got good health because you’ve got a healthy mind, our language is backwards because instead it sounds like you’ve got something contagious and bad) you are put behind those with ‘physical [ill] health’ and not seen as as much of a priority though we have similar and the same horror stories about dealing with institutions as those with ‘physical illness’ as a norm plus ‘physical illness’ causes ‘mental illness’ and vice versa. Come on when so much ‘mental health’ leads to self-destructive thoughts and vulnerability aren’t we eligible for the whole ‘living and possibly dying with dignity’ debate as well?

Insanity as a symptom of humanity?


Nepal: It’s now a criminal act to force women into menstruation huts

Source: RT, Thu, 10 Aug 2017 21:28 UTC © Prakash Mathema / AFP

Nepalese women sit by a fire in a chhaupadi hut.

Nepalese women sit by a fire in a chhaupadi hut.

The Nepalese government has made it a criminal act to force women into cowsheds while they’re on their periods. The ancient Hindu tradition sends menstruating females into the sheds to keep so-called “impurity” out of the home.

Although the practice – called ‘chhaupadi’ – was banned by the Supreme Court in 2005, it remains common in Nepal’s remote west.

However, the government has now made the practice a criminal act that could come with jail time.

“The parliament has a passed a new law that makes chhaupadi a criminal act,” lawmaker Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, who headed a parliamentary panel that finalized the legislation, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Anyone forcing women into seclusion during their period can now be sentenced to three months in jail.”

The new law will come into force within a year, according to Pokharel, as authorities want to spread awareness of the legislation before cracking down on offenders.

Some Nepalese communities believe they will fall victim to misfortune such as natural disaster if females are not sent into isolation while menstruating.

However, the practice – which exposes them to rape by men and attacks by wild animals – has led to the deaths of several women.

Just last month, a 19-year-old died from a snake bite while she was staying in a shed in the district of Dailekh. In December, another girl suffocated to death in a poorly-ventilated shed in the Achham district.

[Sott] Comment: Nepali teen dies from snake bite in ‘menstruation hut’

In addition to sending females into isolation, some communities also ban them from drinking milk and feed them less food while they are on their periods.

The law against banishing women to cowsheds has been praised by the National Alliance for Women’s Human Rights Defenders, a local Nepalese activist group, which has called the practice “inhumane.”

The group’s head has called on community members and activists to “remain vigilant and report any case of chhaupadi.”

“Such vigilance will force the government to strictly enforce the law,” Renu Rajbhandari said, as quoted by Reuters.

The ban comes after the United Nations joined up with the youth-led organization Restless Development Nepal in April, in order to push for an end to the practice which the organization said subjects women to “cold and isolation, often at risk of illness and animal attacks.”

The ancient and ongoing demonization of women is something else; I knew females were banned in temples and from even doing home pujas, even touching religious iconography at home but thinking natural disasters occur if they’re not shamed/isolated from the community and basically warning the entire community that they’re on their periods? And from one of the most spiritual places on Earth with some of the most enlightened learning and on the flipside fighting. It just highlights the hypocrisy and elitism of learning of the initiated. Hinduism and it’s later offshoots such as Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism are linked to vast amounts of knowledge on consciousness, how we function biologically, nature, space, how to live etc and yet these places somehow have and still have complete depravity, degradation and domineering behaviours. How are the rest of us supposed to cope if they can’t get it right?

It reminds me of people around the world who used to think it was bad luck to have females aboard a boat and blame misfortune on them and yes it included storms, hurricanes and being sunk. People are insane, what passes for ‘normal’ is based on how many of us are doing the same thing at any given time.

Burkinis – Attitudes towards them are extreme like wearing a niqab, burka or chador…

Or having to cover your head as many people and mostly females of many cultures do worldwide.

From one extreme to another:

I don’t actually mind burkinis, I really like them. I’m not religious or faithful to one culture but I have always had an issue with ‘modesty’ or ‘dressing appropriately for the situation’ (so that doesn’t always mean ‘modest’ because I ‘dress up’ too) and the weather. I personally don’t like revealing all or being too revealing. It’s usually two body parts (face and hands, and I often wear a hat and sometimes gloves even lace Summer gloves anyway) – I’m strange, I both like and dislike the sun, I think I’m partly Goth. My point is that I’ve always had a problem with swimwear; to me it’s just like going out in your underwear especially bikinis and they just get skimpier and skimpier. Waterproof underwear but still underwear, tankinis and two-pieces with shorts i.e. hot pants, or a tiny frill on a one-piece don’t help – they’re just like tokenism to ‘modesty’ and are more like ‘being girly’. It’s not my thing and I hate the hair removal process that goes with baring any skin for a female as well which if you don’t do you’re subject to additional public shame and humiliation. Somehow body hair on a female = dirty and an inability to be clean unlike men who can supposedly stay cleaner than us.

So over the years I’ve researched burkinis and found I like them as an alternative to normal Western swimwear. They do remind me a little of Victorian swimwear but they’re waterproof and a bit like wetsuits without being as heavy, however attitudes towards them are very Victorian. For example:


Brit tourists in burkinis made to do humiliating walk of shame out of Algarve pool as swimwear deemed ‘not acceptable for pool’

[Written by] Danya Bazaraa

Maryya Dean and her sister-in-law Hina claim they were told they could not wear their burkinis in the swimming pool while on holiday in Albufeira, Portugal.

They say they were told they ‘must wear a bikini to follow Portuguese culture’, during the incident on July 21 that left them horrified.

The family members were also outraged after a maintenance worker at the pool allegedly made Maryya’s nine-year-old daughter stand up to provide an example of what they should be wearing – a regular swimming costume.

Marrya, who suffers with bipolar disorder, says the week-long trip was supposed to be a getaway for her – but they were all affected by what happened.

They had booked a private apartment which had a pool shared with other flats in the complex.

Maryya, who was on holiday with her four children plus her sister-in-law and other relatives, told the Mirror Online: “Given my cultural background I was wearing a burkini.

“I was approached by the building security manager as someone made a complaint that I was not wearing a bikini and therefore not appropriate to be in the pool.

“I was compared to my nine-year-old daughter who was told to stand up out of the pool to see what she was wearing which I found completely rude – I was told I should wear that to swim.

“I was not allowed to wear swimming gear that I am comfortable in and that was actually made for women like me to wear.”

She said she asked the worker to point to a sign which said only bikinis could be worn, but there were no signs in sight. Maryya, 36, from Chessington, added: “The man then started making cultural references and said that Portuguese people wear bikinis and so should we.

“We were embarrassed as we came out of the pool with with four children and people were watching us like we’d committed a crime.”

Marrya’s sister in law, Hina, 31, was also in the pool wearing a ‘covered swim suit’.

The pair of them were not wearing full burkinis.

Hina described her swim suit as three quarter length leggings with a top which had sleeves down to her elbows, but it was water proof and designed for use in a pool.

She said Marrya’s was a regular swimming suit that also came with three quarter length ‘leggings,’ made for the water.

The kids were all in regular swim wear.

Hina said she spotted a gentleman speaking to Maryya’s younger sister, who was sat on a sun lounger at the time.

She claims he was pointing and said it was apparent there was an issue.

Hina went over to see hear what the problem was, as she said it was intimidating being pointed at.

She heard from the member of the maintenance team that they had received a complaint from a resident about them using the pool.

Hina said: “He said it wasn’t possible for me to be in the pool with clothes on, and said I must wear a bikini.

“We told him it was swimwear but he said ‘you have to wear a bikini or shorts. In Portuguese culture, it’s not acceptable.’ He said we had to abide by Portuguese culture if we were in the country.

“We told him we didn’t wear bikinis because we weren’t comfortable in them. It was a confidence thing.

“But he kept repeating ‘you have to wear a bikini’. We were feeling really humiliated.”

Hina said they wore more modest swimsuits for a mix of reasons – religious, cultural, confidence and comfort.

The sisters-in-law said they were the only family using the pool at the time but that people watched the incident from their balconies and they said it was “embarrassing”.

Maryya said they didn’t feel they could use the pool for the rest of their holiday after what happened, despite it being “baking hot”.

She said: “I keep thinking about it. We had to do a ‘walk of shame’ back to the apartment, it was disgusting.”

Firstly it’s just some man not even a lifeguard complaining about them, secondly he’s telling them they have to wear a bikini or shorts like he tells women what to wear, and thirdly he acts like he doesn’t even know what a one-piece if – why a bikini? Men wear t-shirts and/or proper shorts all the time on the beach or a proper shorts and/or a vest in pools. They have the choice to wear more risqué pieces but they have the choice.

I’d wear a burkini and I don’t give a damn, but then I usually wear a leotard with full sleeves and proper shorts in pools anyway (not that I like public pools and chlorine) or full lycra leggings (or shorts with a sarong) on a beach and people have not harassed me yet. That said I’ve not bothered with hair removal at times either. I still get compliments like “little mermaid” even though I’m more obviously dressed for aerobics than swimming but lycra is waterproof and people better not start with me.

Note – not all burkinis have a head covering and I’d think many Western women would find them cute too:

Either way, they look like and are sportswear and if women who wear them don’t mind or at least don’t ban or put down women who wear practically nothing as normal then why should we mind them being ‘decent’ as normal?

We’re finally used to seeing pregnant women on beaches (Madonna being the first obvious public example which sparked a trend years ago, though she has always been an extreme trailblazer in sexuality and gender politics – and I’m not a fan) and in clothing that isn’t too different in style from what they’d normally wear, we’re getting used to breastfeeding women (gawd we do sound backwards as a species don’t we) so why do we have to fight so much about what women wear to swim? As long as they’re not likely to drown (t-shirts banned in some places because of the way they swell in water) what’s the problem? We still see barely any clothing on women in tennis, figure skating or gymnastics for example and I remember judges looking down on me for wearing shorts in gym competitions because everyone else would wear leotards only including low cut, high leg ones even though we were children whilst the boys were allowed shorts and leggings – what is the bloody problem in dressing comfortably? I’ve seen volleyball playing with sticky tape on their arses (kinesiology) for crying out loud – just wear shorts they’ll give you support and don’t act like women’s volleyball and much of women’s televised and most popular sports aren’t about ‘the babes’.

Also remember that not all religious or very culturally minded women wear these and probably never will, many wear regular Western style swimwear and are fine with that and that’s their business but for some of these women if it wasn’t for swimwear like burkinis they wouldn’t be able to go in the water or to a beach at all.


International Women’s Day

Venus Female Symbol Sky

Picture Credit: iStockphoto

The symbol for ‘female/woman’ stands for ‘Venus’.

Most people don’t realize that Venus is actually represented by a Black woman (even wild rice or Black rice is called Venus).

Reminds me of:

BlackSheba-Conrad Kyeser c. 1405 Prague

BlackSheba-Conrad Kyeser c. 1405 Prague

I have more to say on the subject but I’m too tired, maybe I’ll fill this in at a future date.

Bananarama – Venus (Lyrics)

Goddess on the mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
The summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name

She’s got it
Yeah, baby, she’s got it
I’m your Venus, I’m your fire
At your desire
Well, I’m your Venus, I’m your fire
At your desire

Her weapons were her crystal eyes
Making every man mad
Got what no one else had

She’s got it
Yeah, baby, she’s got it
I’m your Venus, I’m your fire
At your desire
Well, I’m your Venus, I’m your fire
At your desire


She’s got it
Yeah, baby, she’s got it
I’m your Venus, I’m your fire
At your desire
Well, I’m your Venus, I’m your fire
At your desire

Goddess on the mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
The summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name

She’s got it
Yeah, baby, she’s got it
I’m your Venus, I’m your fire
At your desire
Well, I’m your Venus, I’m your fire
At your desire

Venus was her name

Yeah baby she’s got it
Yeah baby she’s got it
Yeah baby she’s got it
Yeah baby she’s got it

Black is beautiful, terrifying and mystifying. The oldest still living (in culture) ‘dark/Black’ Goddess the Earth has: Kali (meaning ‘Black’ and ‘Time’) notice over time she has become Blue and light skinned as part of the incorporation into the later patriarchal post-Vedic Hinduism and the dominance of the male triad (who become the male singular in monotheistic religion).

Kali Maa Black Goddess

The Goddess en:Kali, 1770 Print by Richard B. Godfrey, Indian Art Special Purpose Fund – Wikipedia.


Blood Lust – Technologically Forwards Socially Backwards (it’s all about programming)

Medieval Torture, we haven’t come a long way.

Remember (for example) the next time you get on a plane and fly over airspace that is being used for war that whilst you’re off on a business or leisure trip there are people, animals and land being ripped apart in some of the most brutal ways right underneath you that you might never have heard of or forgotten even if it’s on the news everyday. Weapons of war get more ‘sophisticated’ from biochemical warfare to cluster bombs and ones that release masses of tiny blades to cut up everything in reach leaving survivors to take remains of loved ones and those around in carrier bags.

Many of the methods below don’t occur anymore but quite frankly if/when people could/can get away with such things, they do and can’t you just imagine those who would want to. This is why I aspire to pacifist yet we live in such a violent world.

Medieval Torture Devices

The Scold’s Bridle or Branks Bridle – I remember reading husbands used this to silence ‘nagging’ wives and it could even be heated up – it also has a plate that fits onto the tongue.

England, Wales and Scotland

First recorded in Scotland in 1567, the branks were also used in England, where it may not have been formally legalized as a punishment. The kirk-sessions and barony courts in Scotland inflicted the contraption mostly on female transgressors and women considered to be rude or nags or common scolds.[3][4]

Branking (in Scotland and the North of England)[5][6] was designed as a mirror punishment for shrews or scolds; women of the lower classes whose speech was deemed “riotous” or “troublesome”;[7] — often women suspected of witchcraft — by preventing such “gossips or scolds” from speaking. This also gives it its other name ‘The Gossip’s Bridle’

It was also used as corporal punishment for other offences, notably on female workhouse inmates. The person to be punished was placed in a public place for additional humiliation and sometimes beaten.[8] The Lanark Burgh Records record a typical example of the punishment being used, ” Iff evir the said Elizabeth salbe fund scolding or railling… scho salbe sett upone the trone in the brankis and be banishit the toun thaireftir” (1653 Lanark B. Rec. 151).


During the 1500s it spread to some other European countries, including Germany. Some bridles even had a bell on top of them to draw more attention to the wearer, thus increasing their humiliation. It continued in use until the early 1800s as a punishment in German workhouses.[9]



The post below is from: Feminism and women’s rights

A call to feminists to remember the history and sex-based nature of women’s oppression

writing by renee

Trigger warning: feminism, women’s rights


The real brilliance of patriarchy… it doesn’t just naturalise oppression. It sexualises acts of oppression. It eroticises domination and subordination. It institutionalises them as masculinity and femininity. So, it naturalises, it eroticises and it institutionalises domination and subordination. The brilliance of feminism is that we figured that out. – Lierre Keith

In recent months, so much legislation has been passed or proposed in the U.S. and elsewhere to indicate a frightening escalation in the war – yes, it is a war – on women. The Russian parliament just voted 380-3 to decriminalise domestic violence. This is in a country where an average of 40 women per day – 14,000 women per year – are murdered by male partners. The United States, where over 1,000 women are murdered by their partners per year, has of course just elected a president who boasts that “when you’re a star, they let you do it, grab them by the pussy”, and has been involved in pornography and sex trafficking. He plans to eliminate funding for 25 domestic violence programmes, and is ordering female staffers to “dress like a woman”. Texas is now looking to remove voting rights from women who have had abortions; Arkansas, to enable rapists to sue women for having them.

All of these advances rest, of course, on a long established notion of women as male property. The stigma on abortion rests on the idea that women do not create human life through a ten month process of gestation and labour; men ejaculate life into women, and women, as state-regulated incubators, are obligated to carry it to term. Domestic violence, the porn and prostitution industries that fuel sex trafficking, dress codes – these all rest on the same principle of male sexual entitlement. No wonder commentators are calling the current coming to life of Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale; a new era of more orthodox, strictly designated rules and roles for women in the West. All justified through myths that women are biologically predisposed to such roles and rules.

Given the situation we face, it is alarming to confront the reality that the left is equally as ill-equipped and unwilling to discuss women’s oppression as the conservative right. Nowadays, notions of “gender identity” for instance, are threatening to swallow women’s collective understandings of sex-based oppression whole. A “gender identity” ideology claims that gender is a personal matter of identification, and one’s biological sex can be switched and changed at will. “Cis” is a word women are increasingly adopting to signal they understand the “privilege” of having a gender identity that matches their biological sex. At the same time, of course, women are being pressured to swallow the idea that biological sex itself isn’t real.

The thing is, being female is very real, and being gendered as a woman as a result is, too – and it is not a form of privilege. It is a form of oppression women have resisted since the creation of patriarchy. By offering a potted history of the cancerous, globalised, Western system of sexual objectification we live under today, I hope to offer a small reminder of that here. This essay tracks the development of sex-based oppression from its roots, through the witchcraze, slave trade, pathologisation of women’s bodies in gynecology, and backlashes to feminist uprising up to today.

Matricentry, and the creation of patriarchy

Despite the orthodox insistence that male rule simply reflects the “natural” order of things, patriarchy is only a relatively recent development in human history. For 99% of our existence human beings have not lived under patriarchal rule. Feminist author Marilyn French calls the horticultural, subsistence, matrilineal kinship groups that existed widely before the development of patriarchy matricentric; Audre Lorde writes about reverence of goddesses like Afrekete, Yemanje, Oyo and Mawulisa; Max Dashu’s film Woman Shaman explores the art and archaeological finds that remain from these matricentric cultures around the world.


Source: Max Dashu

French’s History of Women and Gerda Lerner’s The Creation of Patriarchy are incredible texts on the historic processes by which men created the patriarchy that forms the basis of Western society. This happened over the course of about 2.5 thousand years, from around 3100 B.C, during the agricultural revolution. According to Lerner, the transition from subsistence living to agriculture meant that children became an economic asset, a labour supply – and women became the first form private property.

French shows how male dominance was first asserted through paternal claims to ownership and naming rights of children. The murder of firstborn children was common in early patrilineal groups, when men wanted to ensure a wife’s firstborn was really his ‘own’. The fact that abortion is still in New Zealand’s Crimes Act is a contemporary expression of this presumption that human life is made and owned by men. In 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) also sanctified men’s ‘rights’ to children through a new policy declaring failure to find a sexual partner a ‘disability’.

With the appropriation of control over children, the institution of marriage increasingly became a practice that commodified, disempowered and isolated women from their families and communities. To put this in perspective, rape within the context of marriage was not made illegal in New Zealand until 1985.

With the institution of marriage came dowry, and the main value of having daughters became their potential as brides; “bride stealing” and “ritual defloration” was commonplace, as it still is today, for instance in Kyrgyzstan. Kidnapped “brides” are often children, and today an average of 15 million girls each year are forced into marriage. In 2013, an eight-year-old Yemeni girl died of internal bleeding the night she was married to a man five times her age. This is what patriarchy does to girls.

One of the practices that best exemplifies commodification through marriage was the Indian suttee, only legally banned in 1829. This practice involved the burning of female widows, including girls kidnapped as child brides, alive on the funeral pyres of their husbands. A myth that girls and women lost husbands as a result of their own bad karma underpinned the practice. As this was supposed to be a “cleansing” ritual, men typically avoided burning women while they were menstruating [my comment: menstruating women are also considered dirty to this day and not allowed in temples], and waited two months after the birth of a child if she was pregnant. Countless women could be burned after the death of a single, royal male.

After men appropriated control of women and the domestic sphere, the status of women was further institutionalised and codified into law through the building of monotheistic religions, the state, and development of commercial prostitution. If anyone tries to tell you that prostitution is the “oldest profession”, they are being condescending and essentialist: as Max Dashu shows, medicine women were practicing long before men figured out how to objectify and profit from women through prostitution. Lerner discusses how the burqa, the veiling of women, was designed to help men distinguish between the “respectable and non-respectable” among us; between wives and women in prostitution.

As Moana Jackson writes, colonisation always comes with a takeover of historical memory, plundered so that vast silences proliferate. “Sometimes that silencing is described as a “social amnesia”,” says Jackson, “in which the past has slipped from the mind in the kind of almost accidental and blameless forgetting that occurs with the passage of time.” What really happens though, he says, is that stories are consciously redefined in a way that “flies in the face” of the political and social realities of the colonised. The same applies to women. Today, few of us know our history – either that of our oppression or of our resistance to it, since history is told by the patriarchs. But we can reclaim it.

The witch burnings and gynecology


The “pear”. During the witchcraze, torturers heated this tool in a fire, then pushed it into a woman’s vagina, screwing its parts open.

Medicine women continued to practice widely in Europe up until the so-called “Enlightenment” period. Between the Roman Empire and that time, the witchcraze and its “myth of feminine evil” resulted in the slaughter of 9 million people, nearly all women, over 300 years. History remembers this 300-year effort, if at all, as a sort of freak superstitious episode (think of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible). Yet feminist writers like Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin and Max Dashu offer a different account.

Dworkin writes how many women deemed witches were medicine women, a truth that still exists in our cultural memory, only in distorted and corrupted form, in the frogs-and-cauldron stereotype. But these were not green-faced, evil women. According to Dworkin, it was as midwives, especially, that learned women really offended the Church.

The witches used drugs like belladonna and aconite, organic amphetamines, and hallucinogenics. They also pioneered the development of analgesics. They performed abortions, provided all medical help for births, were consulted in cases of impotence which they treated with herbs and hypnotism, and were the first practitioners of euthanasia.

Anna Göldi is said to have been the last woman executed as a witch in Europe. She was a maidservant to a physician, who accused her of having placed needles in his children’s bread by supernatural means. After attempting to escape trial, she was captured and beheaded in Switzerland in 1782.

In her book Gyn/Ecology, Mary Daly points out how gynecology was established as a practice governed by men after the time of the witch burnings. 1873 marked the publication of Dr. Robert Battey’s invention of ‘female castration’: the removal of women’s ovaries to “cure insanity”. Male gynecologists have since routinely pathologised, and medically and surgically tortured and injured women and women’s bodies through violent childbirth practices, radical mastectomies and hysterectomies, electro- and hormone “therapy”, and lobotomies.winckel1

By the 1890s, there was a mad interest in wood and glass prosthetic or mechanical “wombs” (“artificial mothers” or “child hatcheries”) – technology that attempted to challenge the indispensability of women’s bodies. In these incubators we see how the present push by transactivists to neuter and dehumanise the language of pregnancy and childbirth, and sever the connection to women’s bodies and women’s health, has echoes through history.

Daly points out that the male takeover of women’s health after the witchcraze was not coincidental:

Many feminists have noted the significance of the fact that the massacre of the wise women / healers during the witchcraze was followed by the rise of man-midwives who eventually became dignified by the name “gynecologist. Gynecology was slow to rise. Man-midwives of the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were under fire from woman midwives, such as Elizabeth Nihell, who described their instruments as “weapons of death”. Nevertheless, the nineteenth century saw the erection of gynecology over women’s dead bodies.

The compounding of abuses

J. Marion Sims, “the Father of Modern Gynecology,” used African-American women in slavery to conduct his surgical experiments. Sims medically experimented on black women for research into illnesses like cancer – without providing anesthetics or other pain-numbing medicines. If a woman died from complications or excessive bleeding, Sims simply replaced her with another slave, and his practice was completely legal.


The compounding of oppressions on black women is the topic of Angela Davis’ Women, Race and Class. In it, Davis discusses the experience of black women during the slave trade; including Harriet Tubman (pictured), who rescued over three hundred people through the Underground Railroad and was the only woman in the U.S. ever to lead troops into battle.

Black women, says Davis, had to work as steadily on plantations as men, performing the same tasks, despite the myths that patriarchy perpetuates about women.

Women were not too “feminine” to work in coal mines, in iron foundries or to be lumberjacks and ditch diggers. When the Santee Canal was constructed in North Carolina, slave women were a full fifty percent of the labour force.

Women were sex slaves in addition to this labour. “If the most violent punishments of men consisted in floggings and mutilations,” Davis writes, “women were flogged and mutilated, as well as raped”. White men also saw Black women as “breeders”:

During the decades preceding the Civil War, Black women came to be increasingly appraised for their fertility (or for the lack of it): she who was potentially the mother of ten, twelve, fourteen or more became a coveted treasure indeed. This did not mean, however, that as mothers, Black women enjoyed a more respected status than they enjoyed as workers. Ideological exaltation of motherhood – as popular as it was in the nineteenth century – did not extend to slaves. In fact, in the eyes of the slaveholders, slave women were not mothers at all; they were simply instruments guaranteeing the growth of the labour force. They were “breeders” – animals, whose monetary value could be precisely calculated in terms of their ability to multiply their numbers.

Since slave women were classified as “breeders” as opposed to “mothers”, their infant children could be sold away from them like calves to cows.

queeriodsThis is another reason we should look sideways at the introduction of terms like “menstruators” and “incubators” into the language of women’s health, pregnancy and childbirth as a result of transactivism today. These phrases have a history, and are tied especially to the dehumanising treatment of black women in sexual slavery. The documentary Google Baby shows how women are currently forced to tolerate life treated as “incubators” in surrogacy clinics in India, often giving birth to white babies in through the use of both egg and sperm donors.

The production-line treatment of women who give birth to babies in surrogacy clinics is spine chilling, yet the surrogacy trade sees 12,000 foreigners per year coming to India to hire the wombs, usually of poor women, in an industry worth an annual $1 billion.

An expression of racist, patriarchal colonisation as painful and brutal as the surrogacy clinics in India would be hard to find, if it wasn’t for the oldest oppression: prostitution. Today, 80% of people used in prostitution are women, as are 98% of sex trafficking victims. Almost all johns are men, and sex trafficking generates men U.S.$32 billion a year. An increasingly violent porn industry accrues about US$97.06 billion, which is more than the combined revenue of the top 10 web technology companies combined. The latest ‘trend’ in porn is for women to be raped anally until they suffer rectal prolapse (“rosebudding“). Nevertheless, Amnesty International has signalled its support for this industry, buckling under pressure from influential pimps.

As Cherry Smiley points out, indigenous women are disproportionately affected. In New Zealand, 15% of women are Māori. In our country’s fully decriminalised sex trade, 32% of prostituted persons are Māori. There is a narrative gaining traction in New Zealand, no doubt fuelled by the white man running programmes at the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC), that it is “racist” to critique prostitution because of the Māori and Pacific women within the industry. Remember that demand for this industry comes from wealthy, white men. In 2017, liberals are still being coached to believe that indigenous women are somehow innately predisposed to being subjected to the abuses of wealthy white men.

Angela Davis’ book points out not only how black women have been affected by the compounding of race, class and sex-based oppression, but have also had to fight the hardest for political representation, even in resistance movements. Her book explores the intersection of the abolition movement to end slavery, and the first wave of feminism; neither of which sufficiently represented the plight of black women. Sojourner Truth stood up to the white feminists of the first wave, just as bell hooks to those of the second wave. Today, we again see a white, middle class liberal movement, marketing ‘sex positive’ identity-based liberalism as women’s rights. This has happened because the backlash to each feminist wave has ensured that mainstream feminism has come out the other side domesticated, whitewashed and sexualised.

Sexology, pornography and feminism

In her essay Sexology and Antifeminism, Sheila Jeffreys describes how the “discipline” of sexology was founded as a backlash to the first wave of feminist suffragists.

This period, immediately after World War I, was a time in which many women had considerably more freedom and independence than they had had before. The fact that large numbers of women were not marrying, were choosing to be independent, and were fighting male violence caused considerable alarm. This alarm is apparent in sexological literature.

Many women had little interest in sexual intercourse, and moreover, thought that “no woman should have to do sexual intercourse” (this was, of course, many decades before second wave feminists fought to have marital rape criminalised). In response to this increased resistance and independence, and to defend the status quo of women’s oppression, women’s sexual subordination being naturalised in sexology. Havelock Ellis, the founder of sexology, argued that male sexuality was absolutely and inevitably aggressive, taking the form of pursuit and capture, and that it was normal and inevitable for men to take pleasure in inflicting pain on women. Women’s sexuality, he said, was passive. Women were supposed to be captured and took “delight” in experiencing pain at the hands of male lovers.

Sexologists also invented the concept of women’s “frigidity”: “frigid” women were defective, and had to be sent to gynecologists and psychoanalysts.

Hot off the heels of sexology came the pornography industry that we know today. By the conclusion of World War II, there was big business in the promotion of this objectification of women. Businessmen-pornographers like Hugh Hefner (Playboy) Bob Guccione (Penthouse) and Larry Flynt (Hustler) began grooming the market to make porn socially acceptable. By the 90s, bunny merchandise was being consumed by girls everywhere – the bunny branding everything from stationery to pyjama pants. Cosmopolitan’s publishers, Bauer Media, have been involved in this global sex trade lobbying, and once owned the publishing license for Germany’s Playboy.

“It was a very different world,” says feminist writer Gail Dines, “after Hefner eroded the cultural, economic, and legal barriers to mass production and distribution of porn.”

It is now even considered up for debate now whether pole dancing is the best after school activity for 8-year-olds.

How did this shift to the mainstream happen? The answer is simple: by design. What we see today is the result of years of careful strategising and marketing by the porn industry to sanitise its products… reconstructing porn as fun, edgy, chic, sexy, and hot. The more sanitised the industry became, the more it seeped into the pop culture and into our collective consciousness.

Second wave feminism recognised and resisted the abuse and normalisation of pornography – but the university Women’s Studies departments in which a lot of this critique could be made are no more to be found. Even the books are now under threat. The discipline that usurped Women’s Studies is queer theory, and according to feminists, queer theory is to the second wave of feminism what sexology was to the first: a backlash. Sheila Jeffreys states how this backlash has come from sexual liberals on the left – in particular, from men – and from a large part of the gay male movement. That is where the backlash is coming from, but it is being represented within feminism as well. [My comment: most people forget that feminism/anti-sexism was the umbrella that incorporated and supported homosexual rights and what is now LGBT but for a long time it was all about gay men, lesbian woman were also called ‘gay’.]

Lierre Keith illustrates the representation of this backlash within feminism:

As early as 1982, Ellen Willis invented the term “sex positive” to distinguish herself from radical feminists – because we’re so negative, us radicals. Rape, rape, rape – it’s all we want to talk about. Well, I’ll make you a deal – if men stop with the rape, I’ll stop talking about it.

Keith also points out that the search term “torture porn” results in 32 million online hits. It is worth noting that the aesthetic, the tools and the practices of modern pornography and BDSM endorsed in “edgy” and “sex positive” queer theory and ‘kink’ stem back to the witch trials. Max Dashu’s essay Reign of the Demonologists shows how the torture of witches was sexualised, through fetishised torture routines and equipment and forced confessions of grotesque sex with devils. An interview with Audre Lorde in Burst of Light critiques sadomasochism for similar reasons.

Sadomasochism is congruent with other developments going on in this country that have to do with dominance and submission, with disparate power – politically, culturally and economically… Sadomasochism is an institutionalised celebration of dominant/ subordinate relationships… Sadomasochism feeds the belief that domination is inevitable and legitimately enjoyable.

Feminist Susanne Kappeler offers us a reminder for when we find these kinds of practices accepted and celebrated as groundbreaking in academia.

As feminists, we would do well do remember and highlight the fact that the history of liberalism, of libertarianism, and libertinism has been a history of gentlemen advocating liberty and license for gentlemen – liberties to which the rights and liberty of women have routinely been sacrificed.


Copy of a 1515 “witch porn” drawing by Hans Franck.

Commodification and “choice”

The production of sex robots is a contemporary, further entrenchment of the objectification of women that disciplines like queer theory allow to slip by, and even celebrate. Eating disorders and demand for cosmetic surgeries like labiaplasty are only two examples of the impact of escalating objectification on women. We are seeing other bizarre inventions on the market, too: the penis FitBit, a mouthpiece for blowjobs.bowjob-mouthpiece

One way that the sex trade lobby gets under women’s skin, sucks confidence, encourages competition and fosters dependency like an abusive partner or a pimp, is through media, through women’s magazines. 70% of women report experiencing guilt and shame after three minutes of browsing these kinds of magazines. It is well known that publishers and their advertisers feed off insecurity – and abuse. Most models in these magazines weigh 25% less than the average woman, and are in the anorexia weight range. Now, in the U.S. and EU, 50 million women suffer from eating disorders, and girls as young as six are increasingly expressing anxiety about their shape.

Bauer Media publishes Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day and teen magazine Dolly. It also currently profits from online porn, and used to hold publishing licenses for a range of German porn magazines: the German Playboy; Das neue Wochenend; Blitz Illu; Schlüsselloch (which means ‘keyhole’); Sexy, Praline and Coupé. Bauer Media also own one third of the famous private T.V. channel RTL II, which airs pro “sex work” reality shows almost daily. It’s not surprising to see the latest issue of Cosmopolitan offer advice on invasive cosmetic treatments from brow tattoos, to lip filling, laser treatment and light therapy.

Labiaplasty – surgical reduction of women’s labia – is another Western trend on the rise that has connections to more brutal practices, in this case that of female genital mutilation (FGM). According to the WHO (who actually endorsed this practice in 1958) more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated. These practices can see girls having their clitoris or labia removed; in Somalia, there is a practice of sewing up the labia, leaving only a small hole. Somali woman Hibo Wardere says urinating through such an opening feels like “an open wound rubbed with salt or hot chilli.” Feminism needs to work to end genital mutilation, not get busy glorifying new, commercial varieties as sex-positive “choice”.

Patriarchy mines and cuts up women’s bodies whilst women’s worth is undermined. From the tenth century and for ten centuries of course, Chinese patriarchs saw to it that girls and women would never run around, by binding their feet, and fetishising this act of crippling women. Today we see trades in woman’s hair, our eggs, breast milk and wombs rented through surrogacy. While surrogates are normally poor women; egg donors are usually young, educated women screened for heredity diseases and not warned of the implications or possible side effects of egg harvesting.

Mainstream, white feminism will today frame labiaplasty as something women ‘choose‘. Like immolation was ‘chosen’ throughout the practice of the Indian suttee. Like mothers ‘chose’ to bind their daughters’ feet, ‘choose’ to cut out their clitorises; like women ‘choose’ to be prostituted and even trafficked, to wear the burqa, to wear stilettos, to not eat, to bind their breasts flat. Not only are these practices so often marketed and claimed as ‘choice’, but altruism. [My comment: a lot of women enable these practices to continue by a) endorsing them (like middle and upper class White women who claim university campus rape is a part of culture and girls shouldn’t moan about it) and/or b) not standing up against it, many think they went through it therefore the next generation has to and there’s plenty of cases where women are behind it. If they had stood up a long time ago things might have been different… But that’s wishful thinking. However there are also women who believe that mutilation is a form of protection against non-acceptable males (‘acceptable’ being the ones generally forced on them via marriage or ‘favour’/obligation and that includes one’s boss if you work). It’s all brainwashing.] Prostitution, surrogacy, and immolation have all been called ‘atruistic’ practices. Women, obviously, want to be able to choose and to contribute. And what choices does society allow us to make? These. So we claim to have made these choices ourselves. But feminism needs to acknowledge what Meagan Tyler does – that yes, “we make choices, but these are shaped and constrained by the unequal conditions in which we live.”


NZPC markets prostitution as a woman’s “choice”.

When it comes to modern trends like transgenderism, we cannot separate the male desire for access to women’s spaces and for uterus transplants, from a history of patriarchal appropriation (including “prosthetic womb” imitations). We cannot separate this movement from the entire history that precedes it, of the simultaneous mining of women’s bodies and undermining of women’s worth. We also cannot separate men’s desires to stifle and appropriate the discussion and capacity of women’s ability to create life from a history of the same. The white, male establishment has worked to appropriate control of women’s bodies and ability to create human life, and to stifle feminist dissent, since it came to power. In this Trump era, that history continues.

Conversely, we cannot separate women’s manufactured desires for male privilege, and women’s “choices” to undergo breast ironing and binding, mastectomies and invasive surgery from a history of oppression, demonisation, mutilation and self harm.

We cannot separate any discourse on gender from the realities of sex-based oppression – that’s if we ever want freedom.




The 25 Most Unimaginable Medieval Torture Devices!

March 30, 2015 at 14:10PM


ByAnna Olvera, writer at Creators.co Writer, Filmmaker and Horror Geek at MoviePilot. Like and Follow me at Screaming for Horror on Facebook and @Raging_Rain on Twitter.

During the Medieval Ages mainly nobles and royalty had pretty much power over society. Although when it came to “justice” it wasn’t any different. Most people with low resources such as peasants, labor workers and farmers, had little to no rights, when it came down to the “law”. The dark age torturers and executioners that created these devices, were really imaginative when it came down to torturing others and apparently it payed off because millions of people suffered the unimaginable when it came to their deaths. Most of them highly painful and very slow, while others were used as means of interrogation. Unfortunately many people died when these devices were used, but the ones that didn’t still suffered a great amount of pain and were scarred for life. Next I’ve put together a list of the 25 worst medieval torture devices.

NOTE: NOT ALL torture devices are listed here.



In this method, the victim is hung upside down, so that the blood will rush to their heads and keep them conscious during the long torture. The torturer would then saw through the victims’ bodies until they were completely sawed in half. Most were cut up only in their abdomen to prolong their agony.



Also known as the Judas Chair, it was a terrible, intimidating torture device that was added to dungeons in the Middle Ages. Used until the 1800′s in Europe, this chair was layered with 500 to 1,500 spikes on every surface with tight straps to restrain its victim. Made of iron, it can also contain spaces for heating elements beneath the seat. It was often used to scare people into giving confessions as they watched others being tortured on the device.



Is a torture device consisting of a rectangular, usually wooden frame, slightly raised from the ground, with a roller at one or both ends. The victim’s ankles are fastened to one roller and the wrists are chained to the other. As the interrogation progresses, a handle and ratchet mechanism attached to the top roller are used to very gradually increase the tension on the chains, inducing excruciating pain. By means of pulleys and levers this roller could be rotated on its own axis, thus straining the ropes until the sufferer’s joints were dislocated and eventually separated. Additionally, if muscle are stretched excessively, they lose their ability to contract, rendering them ineffective. One gruesome aspect of being stretched too far on the rack is the loud popping noises made by snapping cartilage, ligaments or bones.



Known in another form as the Iron Spider or simply the spider, was a torture instrument mainly used on women who were accused of adultery, or self-abortion. The instrument was designed to rip the breasts from a woman and was made from iron, which was usually heated. The tool was used popularly in the Free State of Bavaria, a state in Germany, in 1599, and in parts of Germany and France until the nineteenth century.



Looking like an over sized pair of scissors, it could effortlessly cut the victim’s tongue. Their mouth would be forced opened with a device called a mouth opener, and then the iron tongue tearer would uncomfortably twitch the tongue with its rough grippers. Once a firm hold was maintained, the screw would be firmly tightened and the victim’s tongue would roughly be torn out.



This torture device consisted of an iron cabinet with a hinged front and spike-covered interior, sufficient enough to enclose a human being. Once inside its conical frame, the victim would be unable to move due to the great number of steel spikes impaling them from every direction. The interrogator would scream questions at the victim while poking them with jagged edges.



One of the most notorious forms of executions, the guillotine was made of a razor sharp blade attached to a rope. The victim’s head was placed in the middle of the frame as the blade dropped, severing the victim’s head from the body. Since the decapitation was considered to be an instant and painless event (at least less painful than the other torture methods), it was often considered the most humane method of execution.



Also known as the Sicilian Bull, it was designed in ancient Greece. A solid piece of brass was cast with a door on the side that could be opened and latched. The victim would be placed inside the bull and a fire set underneath it until the metal became literally yellow as it was heated. The victim would then be slowly roasted to death all while screaming in agonizing pain. The bull was purposely designed to amplify these screams and make them sound like the bellowing of a bull.


9.- BOOT

The term boot refers to a family of instruments of torture and interrogation variously designed to cause crushing injuries to the foot and/or leg. The boot has taken many forms in various places and times. Common varieties include the Spanish boot and the Malay boot. One type was made of four pieces of narrow wooden board nailed together. The boards were measured to fit the victim’s leg. Once the leg was enclosed, wedges would be hammered between the boards, creating pressure. The pressure would be increased until the victim confessed or lost consciousness. Newer variants have included iron vises,sometimes armed with spikes that squeezed feet and metal frames employed red hot.



During medieval times, the penalty for high treason in England was to be hanged, drawn and quartered in public and though it was abolished in 1814, it has been responsible for the death of thousands of people. In this torture technique, the victim is dragged in a wooden frame called a hurdle to the place of execution. They would then be hanged by the neck for a short period of time until they are near-death (hanged), followed by disembowelment and castration where the entrails and genitalia are burned in front of the victim (drawn). The victim would then be divided into four separate parts and beheaded (quartered).



The Strappado is a form of torture in which the victim’s hands are first tied behind his or her back and suspended in the air by means of a rope attached to wrists, which most likely dislocates both arms. Weights may be added to the body to intensify the effect and increase the pain. Other names for strappado include “reverse hanging” and “Palestinian hanging” (although it is not used by the Palestinian Authority) It is best known for its use in the torture chambers of the medieval Inquisition.



One of the torture devices during the Spanish Inquisition and medieval ages, this is probably one of the most gruesome of them all. The victim is put astride, naked, on a donkey-like apparatus, which is actually a vertical wooden board with a sharp V-wedge on top of it. After that, the torturer would add varying weights to the victim’s feet until finally the wedge sliced through the victim’s body.



The pear of anguish or choke pear is the modern name for a type of instrument displayed in some museums, consisting of a metal body (usually pear-shaped) divided into spoon-like segments that could be spread apart by turning a screw. The museum descriptions and some recent sources assert that the devices were used either as a gag, to prevent people from speaking, or internally as an instrument of torture.



The victim would presumably be placed in the waist harness above the pyramid-shaped seat, with the point inserted into their an*s or v*gin*, then very slowly lowered by ropes. The subject is tortured by intense pressure and stretching of the orifice, eventually succumbing to tears in muscle tissue that could turn septic and kill from infection, or simply being impaled.



Principally practiced in antiquity, though it remains practiced in some countries today; it is one of the most well-known execution methods due to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is a deliberately slow and painful execution where the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until they die, which usually takes days.



Humiliating and painful, this punishment was something of an endurance test where the victim would be hooked into a neck device, either made of metal or wood, which prevented the victim from adjusting into a comfortable position. The cruelty of this punishment lie within the fact that they were unable to lie down, eat, or lower their head for days.



The device was placed between the breast bone and throat just under the chin and secured with a leather strap around the neck, while the victim was hung from the ceiling or otherwise suspended in a way so that they could not lie down.Usually the Heretic’s fork was given to people who spoke the lord’s name in vain, blasphemers, or liars. This way, the punishment made it nearly impossible for them to talk. Also, a person wearing it couldn’t fall asleep. The moment their head dropped with fatigue, the prongs pierced their throat or chest, causing great pain. This very simple instrument created long periods of sleep deprivation. People were awake for days, which made confessions more likely.



Was a torture device used for capital punishment from Antiquity into early modern times for public execution by breaking the criminal’s bones/bludgeoning him to death. As a form of execution, it was used from “Classical” times into the 18th century; as a form of post mortem punishment of the criminal, the wheel was still in use into 19th century Germany.



is a form of rigid irons whereby the wrists are locked in front of the bound person by a hinged board or steel bar. It was originally used in the 18th century as a way of punishing women who were caught bickering or fighting.



The most preferred torture technique in the Middle Ages was known as coffin torture. This method involved placing the victim inside a metal cage roughly the size of the human body; hence the name. The torturers also forced overweight victims into smaller cages to heighten their discomfort as they hung from a tree or gallows. Generally, they would be left there until the crows came to feed on their remains.



Is a type of torture instrument, consisting of long, sharp iron spikes curved so as to resemble claws. It was often attached to a handle, or else used as an extension of the torturer’s hand. In this way it was used to rip and tear flesh away from the bone, from any part of the body. It was also used as a weapon. This device was commonly used on thieves and unfaithful wives. Most who were tortured in this manner died not at the time, but afterwards. Especially with the Cat’s Paw, the device would cause infections as the device would cut so deep. The prongs were nearly never washed, so the chances of these infections were very high.



The knee splitter was a form of torture used mainly during the inquisition. It was created from two spiked wood blocks, placed in front of, and behind the knee. The blocks were connected with two large screws. When turned, the blocks would close towards each other, destroying the knee underneath them. This method was used to render the knees useless. The number of spikes on the blocks would range from three to twenty, depending on the captive.



This metal device featured a plate that sat below the victim’s jaw, which was connected by a frame to the head cap. As the torturer slowly twisted the handle, the gap between the head cap and plate decreased in width, causing crushing of the skull and facial bones, including teeth and jaws, and ultimately inducing death; even if the torturer stopped before death, permanent damage to the facial muscles and structure would occur. The victim’s head would slowly be crushed, killing the victim, but not before the victim’s jaw had been crushed, and their eyes had popped from their socket.



Is a torture instrument which was first used in medieval Europe. It is a simple vice, sometimes with protruding studs on the interior surfaces. The victim’s thumbs or fingers were placed in the vice and slowly crushed. The thumbscrew was also applied to crush prisoners’ big toes. The crushing bars were sometimes lined with sharp metal points to puncture the thumbs and inflict greater pain in the nail beds. Larger, heavier devices based on the same design principle were applied to crush feet and ears.



Given his name, it should come as no surprise that this was the most favored method of execution by Vlad the Impaler. In 15th century Romania; the victim was forced to sit on a sharp and thick pole. When the pole was then raised upright, the victim was left to slide down the pole with their own weight. It could take the victim 3 days to die using this method and it has been said that Vlad once did this to 20,000 people all while enjoying a meal.


The above posts show that there is something seriously wrong with humanity; we’re deeply cruel, traumatized and haunted to the point of normalized atrocity and apathy.


What not to look forward to on Valentine’s Day

Today is ‘International Puzzle Day’ (yes I try to do a jigsaw and a wordsearch at least, every day) but here’s a good puzzle – why do people find vampires appealing? Physical, emotional and psychic?

Here’s an example of a very common type of human vampire that the media have always pedaled as attractive (much like Rhett Butler’s rape of his wife and her apparently liking it the next day in one of the most popular films of all time, ‘Golden Hollywood”s Gone with the Wind (1939) – and yes it was ‘legal’ to rape your wife in the UK up until 25 years ago and still is in many parts of the world – and the gang rape in Saturday Night Fever (1997)) and people just eat it up. Buying into this just keeps the abuse going.

Apparently the first book was so badly written it was a wonder as to why it became a bestseller and neither the book/film did anything for connoisseurs of S&M actually annoying and insulting many and yes even anti-feminists agreed. So why the follow-up and why on V-Day? What type of gift is that? “Me caveman, you woman, here come and let me beat you then rape you and make you say you wanted it.” Yeah… No thanks, and die while you’re at it.

And Fifty Shades Darker? Excuse me, darker? Who would fall for that ‘man’ unless under hypnotism/coercion? How is it romantic to watch this? At least in Pretty Woman (1990) (a film I didn’t like and couldn’t see the point in its popularity other that it was a typical boy/girl from different sides meet story) they showed that prostitutes get raped and are human with interests/hobbies instead of glamorizing it. Sidenote – Julia Roberts has done a lot of great feminist films, one in this category being Sleeping with the Enemy (1991).


My comment: See how they’ve made her look sultry instead of manipulated?



National Center on Sexual Exploitation

The #FiftyShadesIsAbuse campaign is a global campaign led by London Abused Women’s Centre, Canada, Collective Shout, Australia, and Culture Reframed and The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) and joined by many other groups around the world.

Hollywood is portraying the Fifty Shades trilogy as a risqué, passionate romance. The second film in the Fifty Shades franchise, Fifty Shades Darker, is set to be released on Valentine’s Day. But is this a love story?

Christian Grey, the male lead, exhibits the traits of an abuser through possessive, manipulative, and coercive behaviors, including frequent stalking. Having introduced a younger, inexperienced college girl to the world of sadomasochistic sexual abuse in the first film, in 50 Shades Darker Christian becomes obsessed with his latest sexual submissive and proposes marriage.

As in the first film, Anastasia Steele, his “lover,” is consistently isolated, threatened, and manipulated, yet she comes back to Christian and agrees to marry him because she thinks her love can change him. As the story progresses, Ana, who was first fearful and disturbed by Christian’s dark and violent sexual practices, gradually comes to desire rough sex.

The 50 Shades series is permeated with graphic scenes of sex and sexual abuse. Its lead male character exhibits classic hallmarks of an abuser, and yet Hollywood is portraying his relationship with Ana as a sexually titillating Cinderella story.

This movie, and the entire Fifty Shades franchise, glamorizes and legitimizes both sexual and domestic abuse. In real life, women in these situations don’t end up like Anastasia—they end up in a woman’s recovery agency, on the run from their abuser or, sometimes, dead.

Help take a stand against the normalization of abusive relationships and join our Thunderclap to schedule the social media post, “It’s time for Hollywood to stop sending the message that domestic abuse is sexy. #FiftyShadesIsAbuse” and visit FiftyShadesIsAbuse.com to find additional ways to get involved.

You can also donate $10, $25, $50 or whatever you can afford to help the women experiencing the real-life version of Christian and Ana’s abusive relationship. Donations can be made to any domestic violence agency in your area – share that you made a donation online with the hashtag #50DollarsNot50Shades so we can help promote it!

If you are in the United States you can find a list of women’s recovery agencies at DomesticShelters.org. There is even a “wish list” of specific items for which these organizations have need.

A trilogy of this rubbish? A Cinderella story? I’m not one for fairytales let alone their programming (and ‘loving’ psychotic handlers, waiting for princes and vampires are part of human culture/legend/history so Fifty Shades pays tribute to that) but I prefer modern takes on them like Brave (2012) and Malificent (2014) (sans Disney who were/are very much part of the problem and they’re begging the re-surging/upcoming Dark Mother planetary re-consciousness for forgiveness whilst acting innocent with Brave and Malificent).

And here are the ‘new’ vampires:

artificial intelligence robot laws


Today is [Inter]National Hug Day – These Women and More Need All the Support Possible.

An acid attack is predominantly carried out by a man to a woman, usually after he has been rejected/upset in some way; they are common in South Asia (Pakistan, India and Bangladesh) and other parts of the world but the epidemic has been spreading with occurrences in Europe and the perpetrators and victims aren’t always Black/Asian (for the racists out there who think they are). Both a horrific thing to go through and leaves you scarred for life, survivors everywhere are trying their best and need all the support they can get from legal action, support groups, integration back into society to feeling good about themselves again and knowing they’re beautiful e.g. make-up for burns victims.

Despite stricter laws and punishments, the number of acid attacks in India continues to increase. DW examines the reasons behind it and the measures needed to prevent acid violence in the South Asian nation.



Why acid attacks are on the rise in India

Despite stricter laws and punishments, the number of acid attacks in India continues to increase. DW examines the reasons behind it and the measures needed to prevent acid violence in the South Asian nation.

Acid Attack Victim Pragya Prasun After Her Wedding By Male Relative

Acid Attack Victim Pragya Prasun After Her Wedding By Male Relative

Pragya Prasun was on her way from the Hindu holy city of Varanasi to the capital New Delhi days after her wedding, when a distant male relative poured acid on her.

“I initially didn’t realize what was happening. My skin was burning, fumes were coming off it, and it smelled as though a tire was burning on my body,” recalls Prashun, who was only 22-years old at that time.

The relative attacked her with acid because she had rejected his marriage proposal.

Ten years have passed since the assault, which burned 47 percent of her body.
Still, Prasun remains thankful to a doctor who was traveling in the same train as her on the night of the attack. The doctor, she says, saved her life that night.

“She instantly recognized it as acid and requested everyone in the train to put as much as water as possible on me so that the acid gets washed off,” Prasun told DW, adding: “she gave me her scarf to cover my body as my clothes were burned along with my skin.”

Attacks on the rise

Prasun knows the pain that every acid victim goes through in India, where receiving proper medical treatment remains a huge challenge for the victims.

”There are very limited specialized burn hospitals in India and these hospitals are always flooded with burn patients. For that reason, getting admitted to an affordable government hospital is almost impossible for an acid victim,” Prasun said, pointing out that ”the wounds take nearly four to five months to get healed.”

Statistics show a clear increase in the number of acid attacks in the South Asian country in recent years. At least 106 such attacks were reported in 2012, according to the Acid Survivors Foundation India (ASFI). And that figure rose to 122 in 2013 and 349 in 2014. Activists say that figure climbed to over 500 in 2015.

However, Prasun disputes the figure, arguing that many cases remain unreported. She estimates that around 1,000 acid attacks take place in India every year.

There are many unreported cases of acid attacks where victims die, especially in rural areas. Sometimes people try to hide information if the attacker was the husband or a family member of the victim,” said Prasun, who runs Atijeevan Foundation, an organization that rehabilitates acid attack survivors in the southern city of Bangalore.

The majority of acid attack victims are women, reveals a report commissioned by the Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) and published last year.

The victims are attacked over domestic or land disputes, a rejected marriage proposal or spurned sexual advances, according to the report.

Farida from Bangladesh. Acid Attack Victim Violence Domestic Abuse

Farida from Bangladesh.
Farida’s husband was addicted to drugs and gambling. He lost so much money that he had to sell their house. She threatened to leave him. That night, while she was sleeping, he poured acid over her and locked the bedroom door. Farida cried and screamed so loud that neighbors came to her rescue, breaking the door open. – More stories and images on the website’s slideshow.

Network for acid attack survivors

Alok Dixit, the founder of the Stop Acid Attacks (SAA) campaign based in New Delhi, agrees with the report’s findings over the reasons for these attacks. He has established a cafe in the northern city of Agra that is run by acid attack survivors. [My Comment: I agree with Monica Singh in the article below – I’m not keen on cafes for acid attack survivors (remember it’s a fatal attack) where technically they’re in servitude though they themselves and Alok don’t see/describe it that way as it’s a safe place for them to be and feel supported/happy. I think it’s better that they have the option to both feel support from people who’ve been through the same thing whilst not put on display and to mingle in society normally if they want e.g. getting normal jobs. I still respect and very much see the good in this campaign though.]

“We created a network of acid attack survivors in India. Our aim is to make them leaders. It’s not like we represent them, it’s more like they themselves take care of their cause and fight for their rights,” Dixit told DW.

As the cafe in Agra has created a positive impact on the survivors, he opened another cafe in Lucknow recently, and planning to set up two more cafes – one in Udaipur and another in New Delhi – soon. Acid attack survivors will run those new cafes as well, he confirms.

The SAA campaign has been using social media to raise awareness of acid violence since 2013. The campaign was given DW’s “The Bobs – Best of Online Activism”.

“We focus more on social change because we believe only laws can’t stop these crimes. Because these offenses are passion crimes and most of the times family members or colleagues or friends of the victims are involved. It happens out of passion. We need to stop that via social awareness,” Dixit stressed.

His online campaign has grabbed huge attention in India. He collects donations via crowdfunding and his latest request for funding for the surgery of an acid victim met the target immediately after it was posted online.

“People started talking about acid violence in 2013, and very soon we got better laws, better rules and there are better facilities for survivors,” said Dixit. “But even though change is happening in society, it will take a long time to notice it in as big a country as India.”

More needs to be done

But Megha Mishra, a spokesperson for the ASFI, says the Indian government needs to do much more to end acid attacks in the country.

“The very first thing the government has to do is to ban the sale of acid in the retail market. Second, it has to get very serious about punishing the perpetrators. Third, it has to ensure proper medical treatment for the survivors as they still need to fight to get medical support,” Mishra told DW.

In 2013, the Supreme Court of India ordered the government to limit over-the-counter acid sales to people over 18. But Prasun criticizes the authorities, arguing that they have failed to implement the rules governing the sale of acid in the country.

This, in turn, has resulted in acid continuing to remain available everywhere at a very low price, she said. “I demand a complete ban on acid. It is not a commodity which should be available in the retail market. Acid only harms and it has destroyed so many lives in our country.”

DW recommends these other articles for reading:



The above leads to a lady I heard about in December:

Comic-book superheroine to spotlight India’s acid-attack menace


A new comic aims to draw attention to the problem of acid attacks, which disfigure and maim hundreds of women in India every year. The survivors face intense emotional and physical trauma as well as acute ostracism.

Monica Singh author of Priya's Shakti superheroine gang rape acid attack

“Life is too precious to cry,” says Monica Singh. And she simply refuses to see it differently. “I do not insult life by crying about my past over and over again. I am alive and that’s what matters.”

When the young woman looks at her in the mirror today, she sees a different person than the one several years ago. That’s not only due to the fact that she has become older, but also because she now has a new face.

A scarred face that tells what happened to her on this one dark day in her life in the year 2005. When a jilted suitor hurled acid on her in full public glare, causing major burns all over her body. It totally upended her life.
The then 19-year-old Singh, hailing from Delhi, had hitherto been full of dreams and aspirations. She says it will be impossible for her to erase the moment of the acid attack from her memory.

“It’s an unforgettable moment in any girl’s life. Feeling burnt like we never experienced before, yelling for help in middle of the street, all the people witnessing what was going on, being eye witnesses to a live horror show. Horrible. I don’t want to say anything more about it.”

Singh says the perpetrator used to stalk her, pressuring her to marry him and leave her family and education behind.
But when she spurned his advances, he turned furious and attacked her with acid.

In the subsequent years, Monica Singh has been repeatedly hospitalized and undergone numerous surgeries, totaling almost 50. She has received support from her family, particularly her father. Singh’s friends have also been as supportive as they can.

The 30-year old now lives in New York, where she is studying fashion marketing. Furthermore, she has founded her own foundation and regularly appears as a motivational speaker.

‘Cultural stigmas’

In the spring of 2016, Monica Singh met filmmaker and producer Ram Devineni when she gave a speech at the United Nations. A few months earlier, Devineni had already met two other survivors of acid attacks. The director was impressed by their strength, and at the same time he was angry.

“What I discovered after talking with them is that they faced the same cultural stigmas and reactions from society that rape survivors had to endure,” Devineni noted.

“How society treated them intensified the problem and their recovery. How they were treated by their family, neighbors and society determined what they did next. Often they were treated like the villains and the blame was put on them,” he added.

Devineni wanted to change this, by raising public awareness about the problem. And to that end, he decided to use a comic, named “Priya’s Mirror,” which was officially presented over the weekend.

In the comic, a group of acid victims fights alongside the female superheroine Priya, a character that helps acid-attack survivors to overcome their fears and escape the tyranny of a demon king. A story ripe with symbolism.

In fact, the character of Priya started with a prequel, called “Priya’s Shakti,” which tells the story of a gang-rape victim who would later gain strength to fight sex crimes. [My comment: Empowering story for a comic and great for what it is but for the living I wish you didn’t have be a victim first, everyone should be fighting against this regardless.]

“Priya is India’s first female superheroine and a survivor of rape. [My comment: AFTER ALL THIS GODDAMNED TIME IN A COUNTRY FILLED WITH GODS AND TONS OF THEM FEMALES AND WARRIOR FEMALES AT THAT – WHY ARE THE GODS/GODDESSES AND MEN TREATED WITH RESPECT AND NOT THE WOMEN!?] She was created after the 2012 gang rape on a bus. [My comment: As you can see from these articles these criminals don’t care about carrying out attacks in public even.] Her mission is to attack patriarchy and create empathy for rape survivors and survivors of gender-based violence,” said Devineni. Priya fights against India’s prevailing patriarchal social norms that encourage discrimination against women.

With over half a million downloads, “Priya’s Shakti” has been an international success, underlined the director. “The main character, Priya, resonated with audiences and was written about in 400 news publications reaching nearly 20 million readers.”

An educational tool

“Priya’s Mirror” is the first comic to have received financial assistance from the World Bank. It is freely available for download on various platforms and in different languages, including Hindi, English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

And it’s expected to be released in other languages as well.

The producers hope it could be particularly useful for educating teenagers and young men about gender rights and respect for women. “Teenagers are at a critical age when they are learning about relationships and developing their opinions of each other. So, this comic book series is a powerful tool to talk about gender issues,” stressed Devineni.

The comic is released together with an app, which offers a possibility to create profile pictures for social networks such as Facebook or WhatsApp resembling the faces of acid-attack victims. The intention behind this is to raise awareness and stimulate public discourse about the issue.

Around 1,500 girls and women across the world become victims of acid attacks annually, according to aid organizations such as Acid Surivors Trust International (ASTI). The real figure could be even higher. “Often, acid-attack survivors do not tell others that they were attacked with acid because of the stigma attached to it. Rather they say they were burned in a cooking fire or something else,” pointed out Devineni. [My comment – like they walked into a f*ckin’ door, fell down the stairs or something when a man/men in their lives beats then.] But others – like Monica Singh – do the opposite.

Ram Devineni Monica Singh Priya's Shakti Mirror Comic Acid Attack Rape

Devineni: ‘What I discovered after talking with them is that they faced the same cultural stigmas and reactions from society that rape survivors had to endure’

A tough task

“I never hide myself, but I definitely understand the feeling of being inhibited, the fear of being viewed as an abnormal person in society,” said Monica Singh. She decided to face off the situation: “I have never allowed myself to be labeled as an ‘unfortunate girl,'” she noted. That’s why, perhaps, Monica Singh is among the few women whose faces feature on the cover of the comic “Priya’s Mirror.”

They were drawn by artist Dan Goldman – not an easy task for him. “Creating the artwork required a delicate hand for my part: I didn’t want to render the acid victims’ scars in any kind of exploitative way, but at the same time, it was essential to show the degree of scarring endured, otherwise the issue we’re addressing loses it impact,” Goldman said, adding: “I struggled with this for some time…”

The artist ultimately found a way out of his dilemma. “I found out that the style was in rendering the women as normal as possible and then adding their scars last. This way, I was able to make them feel whole and give them a kind of poetry as women, rather than addressing the scars first and people second.

“I did send my drawings to them before the book was published to make sure they were comfortable with how I was portraying them and was happy to take any kind of notes from them,” he explained.

“It’s already a very sensitive issue centered on their appearance and violence, and therefore the last thing I’d want to do is portray them in a way that made them unhappy or upset,” he added.

Monica Singh, however, is very content with the response for their work. “Everyone loves this book; we just need references of real-life heroines for girls and young women. And projecting ourselves the way we are is more valuable and impactful.”

Not ‘a victim’

Singh has always remained true to herself, both in the old as well as in the new life. She’s got a different face, but she’s still Monica – the one that will always stand her ground. “My parents say that I have always had this never give up attitude.”

She explains that for acid-attack survivors like her, it’s extremely important that they accept themselves for who they are. If they fail to do it, there wouldn’t be any progress in their lives, she said. Singh adamantly refuses to regard herself as a victim.

“I don’t see the word victim as an accurate description of me. I am a self-confident, educated and strong woman who left her home for a mission in her life, and now she is on her journey… I am more than a survivor,” she said, stressing that: “I am a motivational speaker, fashion designer, stylist, marketing expert, philanthropist and a model, among other things.”

I even walked the runway at New York fashion week, she pointed out.

When asked if she’s happy with her life, she said: “I won’t say I am a happy person, but I am definitely a very funny person. I did learn how to deal with the situation. I know my strength is my confidence and education. If a person has a good heart and knowledge, I believe everyone finds that person beautiful.”

Audios and videos on the topic



It doesnt’ even have to be family/’love’ related, it can be random:

Acid attack injures three girls waiting for bus in India just days after landmark death sentence verdict


Posted 12 Sep 2016, 9:25pm

Three girls in eastern India are being treated in hospital after acid was thrown on them, just days after a court handed down a landmark death sentence verdict to a man found guilty of murdering a nurse in an acid attack.

The teenage girls were attacked late on Sunday (local time) in West Bengal’s Bankura district, as they were returning home from tuition classes and were waiting near a bus stand.

Deputy commissioner of police Satyabrata Bhoi said they were taken by three men in a car where they were attacked and acid thrown on them.

The three men have been arrested, he said, adding that the victims were now recovering in hospital.

“A Bolero vehicle [a four-wheel drive] and three persons have been arrested — a driver and two other persons — and cases have been registered against them,” Mr Bhoi told Asian News International (ANI).

Acid attacks — meant to maim, disfigure or blind — occur in many countries.

They are most common in Cambodia, as well as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.

Most victims are women, injured and disfigured by jilted partners or relatives.

Previously classified under grievous harm, acid attacks became a specific offence in India in 2013 after public pressure forced the Government to improve laws to protect women following the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a New Delhi bus in 2012.

According to India’s home ministry, there were 222 cases reported in 2015 compared to 309 the previous year.
Activists say the number is under-reported as many do not report cases for fear the perpetrators will seek revenge.

Landmark death sentence for fatal acid attack

On Thursday, a man in the city of Mumbai was sentenced to death for a fatal acid attack on a nurse at a busy railway station three years ago in what is seen as a legal landmark.

Preeti Rathi, who was 23 when she was murdered, had just arrived from Delhi to join the Indian navy as a nurse.

Her neighbour Ankur Panwar attacked her after she rejected a marriage proposal.

It was the first such sentence for an acid attack in India.

While certainty of justice and punishment is crucial, regulating the sale of acid is also essential, campaigners said.

“It is shocking that despite the Supreme Court guidelines, acid is so easily available to people like those who did this to these girls,” lawyer and women’s rights activist Abha Singh told reporters.

“The Supreme Court has given very clear guidelines that you cannot easily sell acid over the counter and is it the responsibility of local authorities to do surprise checks to see if acid is being sold illegally.”

India’s top court in 2013 ordered the Government to curb the sale of acid to control attacks on women.

It made it mandatory for anyone wishing to buy the chemical, which is cheap and used as an everyday household cleaning product, to be over 18 years of age and have an identity card.

Remember like other attacks – particularly sexually and family related – not all are reported or even dealt with properly (fairly and considerately to the victim) when they are.

The above article leads to:

Indian acid attack survivor Reshma Qureshi walks the New York runway


Updated 10 Sep 2016, 1:46am

Reshma Quereshi Acid Attack Survivor Fashion Runway Strong Message Victims

Reshma Qureshi, a 19-year-old acid attack survivor and campaigner for the #EndAcidSale movement, walks the runway at New York Fashion Week in what she calls a life-changing experience. Reshma Quereshi hopes to send a powerful message to other survivors.

Since Ms Qureshi was attacked by her brother-in-law in 2014, pinned down by his friends and her face doused in acid, she has become the face of a campaign to end the open sale of acid in India.

Ms Qureshi was invited to take part in Fashion Week by FTL Moda, a fashion production company committed to challenging industry stereotypes of beauty and which last year invited Australian model Madeline Stuart, who has Down Syndrome, to take part.

Ms Qureshi brushed off nerves to stride the runway like a pro in a cream and floral floor-length gown by Indian designer Archana Kochhar on Thursday, the first official day of New York Fashion Week.

“I feel really good and the experience was great,” she said afterwards, speaking in Hindi through a translator.

“I feel as though it has definitely changed my life.”

Ms Qureshi, whose ambition remains to finish the last two grades of high school and attend college, said she hoped her participation would send a powerful message to other acid attack survivors.

“Why should we not enjoy our lives? What happened to us is not our fault and we’ve done nothing wrong and so we should also move forward in life,” she said.

“I want to tell the world — do not see us in a weak light and see that even we can go out and do things.

“People have a tendency to look at acid attack survivors from one perspective and I don’t want them to look at them like that anymore … I do feel brave.”

Reshma Quresh Acid Attack Survivor Victim Fashion Model

Photo: Reshma Qureshi’s ambition is to finish the last two grades of high school and attend college.

Acid attacks, which overwhelmingly target women and children, are a particular scourge in South-East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the West Indies and the Middle East.

In India, an estimated 500 to 1,000 attacks take place each year, and while they rarely kill they leave severe physical, psychological and social scars that can see victims ostracised and hidden away.

Ms Qureshi’s appearance at Fashion Week came the same day an Indian court sentenced a man to death for murdering a 24-year-old woman by throwing acid on her face after she rejected his offer of marriage, in a landmark judgement.

‘Every day, a girl becomes a victim of an acid attack’

Ms Qureshi appears in YouTube videos for Make Love Not Scars, a charity that aims “to raise awareness for acid attack survivors and empower them to live life with dignity”.

The videos, filmed in her home base of Mumbai, offer make-up advice and beauty tips and discuss crimes against women.

Last year, Ms Qureshi’s “perfect red lips” tutorial went viral — a video which ends with Ms Qureshi saying: “You’ll
easily find a red lipstick in the market, just like concentrated acid.

“This is the reason why, every day, a girl becomes a victim of an acid attack.”

[My comment: There’s too much false empowerment in the world where women give men what they want when in the past and less ‘modern’ countries women are still forced into. Far too much superficial and inappropriate flaunting labelled as ‘role models’ acting like ‘perfect women’ and normalized soft porn (when really they’re fodder for misogynists and idiots who label feminists ‘femi-nazis’) yet there are real women and children like Reshma, those like her and those supporting are doing their best to survive their ordeals and prevent others from happening. Don’t undermine their experience to be a celebrity, celebrity wannabe or follower.]


I agree with the death penalty for acid attacks, disfigurement, rape and torture. Don’t blame the victims.

Going back to Monica Singh above; her comic book website is here: http://www.priyashakti.com and her foundation here: http://mahendrasinghfoundation.org/

Notice the author uses augmented/virtual reality to fight the demon/rapist(s) (based on god/mythology/religion i.e. ‘others’ in their own parameters and perhaps dimension(s) e.g. dreamspace).

Excerpt from:

India’s raped comic ‘super hero’ returns to fight acid attacks

By Geeta Pandey BBC News, Delhi
26 Sept 2016  India

Priya's Shakti Mirror Comic Book Rape Acid Attack Survivors Victims

Artwork by Dan Goldman

Priya's Shakti Mirror Comic Book Acid Attack Rape Survivors Victims

Mr Devineni says the comic, which uses augmented reality technology, is aimed at teenage boys.
“It’s a perfect way to educate them on issues of gender violence, to tell them how devastating this liquid weapon is.”

In the book, Priya (which means love) rides on the back of her ferocious tiger Sahas (courage) into “The Castle” to confront the villainous Ahankar (Ego or Arrogance), a demon disguised as a benevolent man, and liberate the acid attack victims who are trapped there.

Paromita Vohra, who co-authored Priya’s Mirror with Mr Devineni, says Priya’s weapon is rather unusual. Called the “mirror of love” Priya encourages the women to peek into it and look beyond their scars, to see what they were once, like singers, carpenters and painters.

Priya's Shakti Mirror Acid Attack Rape Victims Survivors Comic Book

Having spent time in South America and Brazil, Mr Goldman says he was aware of the problem of acid attacks, but found the scale “very very shocking”.

“I knew it happened a lot, especially in Colombia. But I didn’t realise it was so unbelievably prevalent.”


Still Smiling – The women fighting back after acid attacks


Acid burns the skin and eats the flesh – acid attacks can blind and maim and leave a person’s face unrecognisable.
In India it’s estimated that there are 1,000 such attacks per year, maybe more.

But in the shadow of the Taj Mahal a group of strong women, all survivors, have come together to run a cafe and tell their stories to the world.


Dolly Acid Attack Victim Survivor Sheroes

A young waitress stands in the doorway of Sheroes cafe in Agra. “Welcome to our little cafe,” she says above the rumble of the rush hour traffic.

Her name is Dolly and she is 15 years old.

“I’m the youngest here and the naughtiest,” she says, and then laughs – it is impossible not to join in.

A few customers arrive for a quick cup of masala chai. Agra is submerged in a dense winter fog, so the cafe’s colourful murals offer some morning cheer. Dolly takes an order and heads off to the kitchen, flashing another broad grin.

Three years ago someone tried to destroy that winning smile. He didn’t succeed but there is no ignoring the thick scar tissue which snakes across most of Dolly’s face.

The trouble began when a man from the same neighbourhood – twice Dolly’s age – wouldn’t leave her alone. He started stalking the 12-year-old schoolgirl, making lewd remarks and suggesting they should sleep together.

Then one day he suddenly turned up at her house while she was playing with other children.

“I ran away towards my room but he threw acid on my face. It started to burn and I screamed and shouted.”

Dolly’s family immediately doused the raw flesh of her face with water and she was rushed to hospital. Thanks to the quick thinking of a doctor, her eyes were washed out and her sight was saved.

Even so, Dolly is now permanently scarred and she still has trouble breathing because of the damage to her nostrils. She recalls the moment she asked to look in a mirror after returning home from the hospital.

“My mother refused and told me I was still beautiful. She said I could look in the mirror later. Then my little sister accidentally put a mirror in front of me and I saw it. I cried and howled and screamed.”

Dolly didn’t want to eat or leave the house. “I even thought it would have been better if I had died,” she says.

Her gut instinct was that she should cover her face with a veil. For a year, she would ignore the gentle encouragement from her mother to try venturing outside the house.

Dolly’s life changed when her family heard about Sheroes. Here she met another survivor called Sonia, who changed her view of the attack.

“She told me that I wasn’t the one who needed to keep my face covered since I hadn’t done anything wrong. The person who has committed this crime should be the one to cover his face.”

Her assailant is now in prison. Dolly recently sent him a letter to tell him that he had failed to break her spirit.

“You burned my face, but not my will to live. You cannot throw acid on that,” she wrote.

She said she had forgiven him but she admitted that it had been a difficult process. “Sometimes, I have wondered how it would be to empty a full bottle of acid on you,” she told him. [My comment: For some people forgiving and forgetting is part if not the only way to deal with things and move on, it’s not for everyone (e.g. me) but she’s young and best of luck to her.]

In the cafe Dolly dances and sings, but she is wise beyond her years.

She is troubled by the fact that some people think the victims of acid attacks bring their misfortune on themselves, by rejecting the assailant’s advances. That is why she believes it is so important that survivors like her engage with the world instead of hiding themselves away.

She works hard at the cafe, serving backpackers who pass through town on their way to see the nearby Taj Mahal. She jokes with them in broken English and tries to teach them snippets of Hindi.

Sheroes helped her get her confidence back.

I like the fact that my parents feel pride in my work and that I’m standing on my own two feet.”

Dolly hopes one day to return to her studies and perhaps become a doctor.

So what would she say to another woman who was attacked today?

“I would tell her that whatever has happened has happened. Look forward. Don’t look back.”


Rani Acid Attack Victim Survivor Sheroes

Rani is the newest arrival at the cafe. She is not able to dance or sing like the irrepressible Dolly because her injuries are far more serious.

Instead, she sits in the cafe’s front yard, enjoying the shade, once the morning fog has lifted.

Rani was also pursued by a man who wanted to marry her.

Now 20, she was a teenager at the time so her mother told him to wait a few years until her daughter had finished school. But he persisted.

One day he accosted me in the street and tried to molest me. I slapped him. That made him angry and a few days later he attacked me with acid.”

Rani’s injuries were so bad she could not even walk – acid can destroy nerves and muscle as well as skin. The doctors in her home town were not equipped to treat her properly.

Even when she was transferred to a bigger hospital her burns were not washed out with water and she was left in the same bandages for days on end. Eventually she was sent to an Intensive Care Unit and she remained there for nine months.

In this time her weight halved. Rani’s family became concerned and had her discharged from the hospital, despite protests from the doctors.

She was then kept at home, bedridden, for four years.

During this period she got no medical treatment at all and became blind in both eyes. The only visitor she had was a childhood friend.

Luckily, a kind stranger intervened and secured Rani better care in a nursing home. There she received physiotherapy and began to learn to walk again.

Rani’s story is disturbing in many ways. Some in her family blamed her for the attack.

“They wished that I had agreed to marry that man and let him do as he pleased. But I wanted to study.”

Then there’s the unsettling fact that her attacker still walks free today. Rani has heard that he is married, has a family and a steady job. [My comment: Dear Goddess why does this happen?.. Rhetorical but still soul destroying to hear.]

He has all this, while Rani’s own dreams of joining the Indian Police Service lie in ruins. She still feels that she did not get the support she needed to see her assailant held to account.

“I want him to be punished. I want my case re-opened. I want him to suffer his punishment for life.”

Taking the train to Agra after four years shut away in her bedroom and the nursing home was incredibly exciting.

“I now feel like I have the strength and power to do things – the strength and support that I could not get from my family,” Rani says.

“I want to study more and being here has made me believe I can do that. By coming here I have gained a lot of courage.”

[My comment: ‘Thankfully’ someone showed her some mercy, not that she didn’t wrong at all, I just hate having to find concession from anything evil. You shouldn’t have to make the best of it. This poor woman, no one should go through this except those who do/help it.]

bbc acid attack case study taj mahal cafe womens group

Acid is cheap in India. It costs less than milk and is readily available in shops and markets. [My comment: Even junk food and sometimes pharmaceuticals are cheaper and more readily available than clean water, clean fruit/veg and toilet paper in some places.]

It is commonly used in households as a cleaning fluid for sinks and toilets, and in numerous industries, from textiles to jewellery-making.

In 2014, the National Crime Records Bureau recorded 309 acid attacks, but experts believe the real figure could be nearer to 1,000 a year – or three every day.

Many of the most serious cases are recorded because the victims require medical treatment. But there may be other cases that never get logged for fear of reprisals or because a victim’s own family might regard her as the author of her own suffering.

In remote areas, campaigners believe even fatal attacks remain hidden from view. A death may be hushed up and recorded as a suicide or a house-fire fatality.

The vast majority of cases are against young women – usually because they have rejected a suitor or annoyed an abusive husband or father.

It is a particularly vindictive form of crime. By disfiguring the victim for life, the perpetrator is hoping to deprive them of love. [My comment: Remember ‘Oath Maker’ W a few months ago when I asked “will I be able to love again” and that stumped you and your partner?]

And survivors often do end up ostracised by friends and neighbours simply because of their appearance.

BBC Acid Attack Victims Case Study

Not all victims have the support that the women of Sheroes provide for each other says Aarushi Ahluwalia, a journalist who specialises in shedding light on violence against women.

Many of the survivors she has interviewed have simply had to resign themselves to the fact that “they will never have careers, they will never get married and they will never be able to live the life of a normal woman,” she says.

“They are suffering in many ways we don’t even see.”

BBC Case Study Acid Attack Victims Law Violence Against Women Children

Three years ago an acid attack survivor named Laxmi Agarwal stood before India’s Supreme Court.

Laxmi was 15 years old when she was attacked in Delhi in 2005. She had rejected a marriage proposal from a family friend who then became obsessed with her.

One April day, when Laxmi was waiting at a bus stop on her way to a music lesson, her stalker threw a bottleful of acid in her face. It took seven operations to heal her wounds.

BBC Acid Attack Case Study Acid Attack Victims Survivors

Laxmi Agarwal
(photo: Viva N Diva Couture)

But out of this terrible episode, there emerged a tireless campaigner for changes to the law. Before arriving in court she had gathered 27,000 signatures for a petition to curb the sale of acid.

“When I saw Laxmi standing in the court it really pained me. She had gathered together all her strength to get justice not just for herself, but for every acid attack victim,” says Rajendra Mal Lodha, one of the judges, who went on to become India’s Chief Justice.

The Supreme Court responded with a demand that central and local government pass laws to restrict acid sales and provide better compensation and healthcare for survivors.

Buyers of acid are now required to provide photographic identification and vendors need a licence to sell it.

Campaigners have welcomed these changes but remain worried that there is a gap between the legislation on the statute books and everyday reality. It is still easy to buy acid in India, they say, without showing any ID at all.

Rajendra Mal Lodha agrees there are problems. “The laws may be there,” he says “but they have to be effectively implemented and unless that is done I don’t think much can be achieved.”

He would also like acid attack cases to work their way more quickly through the Indian courts. According to the law firm, J Saga Associates, the average case takes somewhere between five and 10 years to complete, which makes it hard for victims to move on with their lives.

“Things move slowly in our country,” says Lodha. [My comment: So slowly the victim might be dead before it ends.]

But Bangladesh has done great things. They have passed a law where the investigator has to complete his investigation within 30 days. Special tribunals then have to complete the trial within 90 days.”

Prosecutions should be fast-tracked in special courts in India too, he argues.

Ignorance and insensitivity can lurk in the most unlikely places – even in hospitals and courts. Lodha recalls an incident where a tactless judge once asked an acid attack victim to cover her face during proceedings. [My comment: that is beyond awful. Remember ‘Game Face/Rugged/Computer Software Tester/Decoy’ W after the second time you attacked me and got away with it scott free in fake proceedings, merrily running away on your like bike, how all yours got in the way and even hit me from behind.]

“Mindsets have to be changed” he says firmly. “Perhaps this could be part of education in schools for girls and for boys.”

Improving the status of women in India should be part of this, he says.

If men consider women equal in all spheres of life then perhaps a lot of this problem can be solved.”

Alok Dixit from Stop Acid Attacks – the NGO which runs Sheroes – agrees that changing society is still the biggest challenge of all.

“When you are an acid attack survivor, you walk out and everyone is watching you. People will comment or they decide not to give you a job. People treat you like something from another world,” he says.

In fact, Alok first came up with the idea of Sheroes cafe after he met and fell in love with Laxmi – the woman whose case moved the Supreme Court to action.

They now have a nine-month-old baby girl.

More recently still, Laxmi became the model for a range of designer clothing. One of its slogans is “What does not break you makes you stronger.”

BBC Acid Attack Victims Study Article

In February 1834 in Glasgow a man called Hugh Kennedy threw acid in another man’s face.

“The crime of throwing vitriol has, we grieve to say, become so common in this part of the country as to become almost a stain on the national character,” wrote the Reformers’ Gazette.

“It is so savage and cowardly that fiends only, in the human form, can be guilty of committing it.”

BBC Case Study Acid Attack Victims Newspaper Article

Extract from Reformers’ Gazette, 1834

So acid attacks are not only a challenge for modern India. Pakistan, Colombia, Cambodia and Uganda are among other countries facing serious problems today.

The worst country for acid attacks may well be Afghanistan, campaigners say, but there are no reliable statistics to back this up and the evidence remains anecdotal.

The phenomenon often tracks the use of acid in industry according to Jaf Shah from the London-based charity Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI).

“In Cambodia, for example, it’s more prevalent in districts where there is rubber production. In Bangladesh, it’s those areas where the jewellery or cotton industries exist.”

In the UK, attacks appear to be on the rise. Five hundred people have been injured or threatened with acid since 2012.

The police believe it may be becoming an alternative weapon to guns and knives, especially in gang-related violence. The Home Office is currently looking at whether there should be more regulation of corrosive substances.

In India, most attacks are perpetrated against women. But interestingly, in both Uganda and Cambodia 40% of victims are men. Gradually countries are beginning to share data along with suggestions on how best to stamp out the crime and rehabilitate survivors.

Like Rajendra Mal Lodha, campaigners often point to Bangladesh’s success. There has been a dramatic 70% reduction in cases in that country since 2002. It was the first nation to pass laws to control the sale of acid.

Pakistan, impressed by its example, followed suit in 2011. But not every country would want to go as far as Bangladesh in introducing the death penalty for acid attackers.

Colombia has been making progress too, following a high-profile case in 2014, when a woman from a middle-class background and was attacked by a stalker.

Natalia Ponce de Leon’s story shocked the country in a way that other previous cases had not.

BBC Acid Attack Victims Case Study Survivors

Natalia Ponce de Leon
(photo: Eugenia Rodriguez Peria)

The President of Colombia offered reward for information leading to the arrest of her attacker and the case recently prompted the country’s Senate to change the law.

Perpetrators now face sentences of up to 50 years, and a programme to provide protection to victims, their families and witnesses, encourages more people to pursue prosecutions.

Jaf Shah from ASTI believes a lack of confidence in the police and judiciary is one reason why so many cases across the world go unreported.

Many police officers don’t investigate attacks efficiently enough. Once that happens, you’ve lost vital evidence which might help bring cases to court.”

But perhaps the most powerful force for change is still the survivors themselves.

Dolly, at Sheroes cafe, knows only too well about the urge to cover up the scars and hide away in shame.

Today, however, her advice to other victims is simple: “They should not lock themselves up. They should meet people and talk to them.”

By telling their stories, they can help keep acid violence on the political agenda.

By having the courage to remain part of society, they can help break down prejudices and make it easier for others to step out of the shadows.

Find Out More:


Acid attack hospital admissions have almost doubled in last 10 years


Data obtained by the Guardian shows a worrying rise in assaults using corrosive substances, while many incidents still go unreported

Carla Whitlock Acid Attack Victim

Caption: Carla Whitlock, 37, suffered serious burns after being attacked with acid in Southampton on 18 September. Photograph: Hampshire police/PA

The number of admissions to hospitals as a result of attacks using a corrosive substance, such as sulphuric acid, has almost doubled in the last 10 years, new data reveals.

Amid rising concerns about acid attacks, statistics obtained by the Guardian from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that in 2004-05 there were 55 stays in hospital caused by them in England. But provisional data for the most recent period, 2014-15, shows this has risen to 106 admissions.

Reported Acid Attack Victims in England 10 years decade research

In one recent incident, Carla Whitlock, a 37-year-old mother of six, suffered serious burns after she was attacked with acid in Guildhall Square, Southampton, on 18 September. Two brothers were charged by police on Wednesday.

The Guardian has spoken to victims, community workers, support groups, ex members of gangs, and the police – and all warned that such attacks were of increasing concern. One male former gang member said: “Young gang members are more ruthless than they used to be. It’s now become part of the natural thought process to use acid; it’s on the roster.”

Analysis of the data also reveals a trend which surprised experts, with the biggest age group of victims being those over 75, who accounted for 253 of the 925 total admissions in the last 10 years. The figures refer not to people but admittances and it could be that older victims need more visits for treatment, and that such attacks on older people have been surrounded in secrecy and have been under-reported.

It is believed the real overall figures may be much higher because some victims do not report attacks and because hospitals are not forced to record the reasons for burns. A female victim who the Guardian spoke to described how she had been followed by a stranger before being attacked and was too scared to go to the police.

Six in 10 of all victims were male, while 71% described their ethnic origin as white British, the figures show (white British, according to the 2011 census, accounts for 80% of the British population in England and Wales). Globally, an estimated 80% of victims are women.

Jaf Shah, the executive director of the support group Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI), said: “Looking at the data in general, there is a fairly large probability that a high percentage of the incidents are male on male attacks and most likely to be gang related. The numbers appear to be very high and suggest an increase, which is very concerning.”

Kwambe Ibegbuna, a social worker and community activist in Manchester, said acid attacks were becoming more common – not just among gangs but in cases of domestic violence and also for intimidation. “I’ve had people tell me they wanted to leave a mark, others say they were attacked because they rejected people’s sexual advances. The stories vary greatly but the most consistent feature is to ensure the victim is traumatised greatly by the experience and that power has been exerted.”

A woman from West Yorkshire, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she had acid thrown at her two years ago by a man she had never met before but who had followed her home twice before the attack. “The third time it happened, I felt really intimidated. I turned around to see who it was and he was standing there with a bottle and bag looking at me. I didn’t know what was in it.

“I turned around and carried on walking, this time at a pace. But he just followed.

“I looked over my shoulder again and that’s when it happened. It was so fast, he threw the liquid at me. It hit my neck. I’ve never felt something so strong, it was a really strange sensation, as if something was breaking through my skin. I was so distressed but I didn’t want my family to find out, so I ran home.

“My neck started to blister. I frantically tried to wash it off with water in the bathroom sink, but that seemed to make it worse. I know it sounds terrible but I tried to pick at it, just to get it off my skin. For the next two weeks I didn’t go out, I was in total shock. I was worried about my mum finding out.

The woman said she did not tell the police because she thought the man who attacked her was very well connected in the community. “I just didn’t want any backlash. It’s just me and my mum you see … I didn’t want her to be attacked.

“I still feel self-conscious and nervous if I go out of the house, and I’m afraid of strangers.

“I was walking in the same area three months ago and I saw him again. I was petrified. He just said to me, ‘I’m sorry’.

I said ‘It’s OK’ and hurriedly walked away. My family have never found out. I still don’t know why he did it.”

The former gang member said using acid had become more acceptable and was not seen as a “big deal”.

He said: “People don’t think of the consequences. It’s easy to buy most of the ingredients legally… One of my cousins was done a few years ago. He was attacked on his shoulder and my uncle just dressed it for him at home. Acid is used as an extreme mark of dominance. It’s letting the individual know I haven’t killed you, but it’s almost worse than that, it’s a mark – on your face. It’s a sinister legacy.” [My comment: like when you’re kept alive just enough to be tortured every day.]

He was sceptical about the government’s chances of reducing the number of incidents. “Acid violence has become part of society. We need honest conversations about relationships earlier with our young people. Men no longer are trained to love and respect women. If you don’t get what you want it’s not OK to act like this.

“Young men need to be educated on how to sort out disputes with other young men without resorting to violence. We need to work out why these young people are so unhappy.”

Deputy chief constable Andy Cooke, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on violence and public protection, said he believed the number of attacks was underreported.

“Although the Guardian’s statistics do show an increase, I’m also sure that some offences of this type are not reported as a crime to the police. I would urge anyone who is a victim of this type of attack to report it so that we can deal with the matter positively and sensitively.

“It is virtually impossible to ban the sale of all corrosive substances, as many are household products. In recent years, the police service has made great inroads in tackling violent crime and has consistently worked to significantly enhance its intelligence picture. Intelligence coupled with consistent risk assessment and offender profiling may give us the opportunity to help reduce this type of offending in the future.”

One criminal law expert, Dr Loretta Trickett, of Nottingham Trent University, said the way data on acid attacks was collected “varies considerably in terms of how incidents are classified and whether persons or incidents are counted”, adding “This means is difficult to gauge the extent of the problem and speculation is inevitable.”

Separate to the HSCIC data, freedom of information requests revealed that 3 out of the 32 burns centres in England and Scotland do not currently code for these attacks.

Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative MP, who is a former GP, said: “It’s important to understand which groups are being targeted and that is difficult if these admissions and crimes are not being consistently and accurately recorded.”

The HSCIC data showed 12 admissions involved children under 10 years old, and 21 admissions for those aged between 10 and 17.

However, Shah said: “The most startling and shocking figure relates to the number of over-75s. This is a particularly vulnerable group.

“ASTI’s experience of working with local partners in low-income countries is that many victims of attack are reluctant to come forward and report the attacks for fear of reprisals.”

Gary FitzGerald, the chief executive of the charity Action on Elder Abuse, said: “These figures are horrifying. Although we see multiple instances of abuse reported to our helpline each year we have received no reports of this nature. We need to understand what is going on – is this hidden hate crime, domestic violence, or something else? We need an urgent inquiry by the government into what is going on, why, and what needs to be done about it.”

The Guardian put all the concerns raised around acid attacks to the Home Office. A spokesperson for the department said: “We want to get a true picture of this type of crime and we need victims to know they can come forward with the confidence their allegation will be taken seriously and be properly investigated by police. This government puts the highest emphasis on the needs of victims. We have given victims more rights under the victims’ code, and will reinforce this by putting key entitlements in law.

“There’s no place in society for these sickening attacks and perpetrators face a life sentence if they are convicted.”
The FOI figures show that the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham has treated the largest number of victims since 2004, with 69 patients. The Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle treated 44 people, the St Andrews Centre in Essex 24, Chelsea and Westminster hospital in London 20, and Glasgow Royal Infirmary 19.

Organizations Against Acid Attacks:

‘Seventeen-year-old Neela Amina Khatun is one of more than 2,700 victims of acid attacks in Bangladesh over the past decade. “My husband was angry for a long time because he claimed a dowry but my family couldn’t provide one,” she says. Forced into marriage at 12 years old, Neela’s husband attacked her when she was just 14.

“His plan was to sell me in Saudi Arabia – when I refused he threw acid on me and he fled. The moment the acid was thrown I tried to cover my face with my hands. It was very painful, I was screaming and all the neighbours could hear and they came and took me to the hospital,” she says.

“I spent six months in hospital. I was so depressed because I was in a closed room and my whole body was bandaged up, so I couldn’t move. It felt like I was in a cage.’

A song my Mum was listening to recently that reminded me of this issue:

Five Finger Death Punch (remember the move ‘The Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique’ in ‘Kill Bill’ (2003) which ‘The Bride’ is taught and what happens to her, brutal attack, abduction of her child through an ‘abortion’, coma, rape) – Wrong Side of Heaven

My opinion: This is why I’ve never liked soldiers yet have always stupidly cared (Goddess I hate being sympathetic and empathetic nowadays) about the way they’re treated when/if they get back ‘home’. They’re tools, stupid imo for being patriotic, for fighting others just like them, for the mass rampant evil they instigate and perpetuate, and get away with. For the world wars they never end and continue. For being puppets to their egos, the governments, agendas, warmongers, corporations, international bussiness experimentors/torturers and who knows what else. Then when they have the ‘opportunity’ to regret SOME of them realize they’re not heroes and never have been and neither are those who encouraged and enabled them.

To those who’ve seen war God is now a woman, the Devil is a man. Soliders work for and look like the Devil.


I spoke to God today, and she said that she’s ashamed.
What have I become, what have I done?
I spoke to the Devil today, and he swears he’s not to blame.
And I understood, cause I feel the same.

Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell.
The wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side, righteous side of hell.

I heard from God today, and she sounded just like me.
What have I done, and who have I become.
I saw the Devil today, and he looked a lot like me.
I looked away, I turned away!

Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell.
The wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side, the righteous side of hell.

I’m not defending, downward descending,
Falling further and further away!
Getting closer every day!

I’m getting closer every day, to the end.
To the end, the end, the end,
I’m getting closer every day!

Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell.
The wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell.
The wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side, the righteous side of hell.

I prefer warriors not soldiers, and leaders should live by example not use pawns like some cosmic chessboard.
(I taught my Mother how to play chess btw and she’s better at it than Me 😉 )

End the game.
I’ve been feeling like wearing a mask lately because of my ugliness.

Photo source: Pinterest

Photo source: Pinterest

(The voice[s] in my head: “It’s a full mask [not a half face because my scars and continued bleeding run deep]”.) Flashback to another [World] Hug Holiday. My commentary in that and NO (I’ve always refused everything and never given permission) to a certain someone’s ‘hug ritual’ “to ensure they don’t hurt you” (and ‘QUEEN’ invasion “to prove we care/love/trust you”) and look where that sh*t has led HERE, HERE, and HERE

I hate masks (virtual reality, spiritual and/or physical), and ‘people’ (VIPs as opposed to the regular Jane/Joe ‘ppl’) and ‘others’ (non-human) [‘ppl, people and others’ being my terminology] who hide; their anonymity, power and fake authority. I’ve always preferred to be the real me and not a pale shadow of what I used to be nor what others want/ed me to be. I’ve always been Gold through and through, I don’t need your contamination and if I was a ‘guru-teacher-yogi’ aka REAL WARRIOR NOT SOLDIER/TEACHING ASSISTANT I would never have let ‘my’ (not that I’ve ever had any nor would I, I’m not a egoist who needs/wants followers) ‘students’ suffer unlike you and what you claim e.g. “My Lady, I’ve been going through all this to send you to school”.

The reptile Black chip is dead, the inner voice group is down to 1, other sh*t is coming through, what next? Take your demonic “Jasper-White-Sun” trash and die, you should’ve stayed married to your Sissy/Sister and implanted yourselves with your stupid chips. Miss the tree? Keep missing Me.

You remind of this campaign and another where the domestic abuse tv ad says the woman only gets flowers after he beats her and it’s too late to sorry when she’s dead with flowers at her funeral.

He Beat Her 150 Times She Got Flowers Once Campaign Domestic Abuse


Chained Melody. Same song, different names.

Day of Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is a United Nations international observance designated in 2007 to be marked on 25 March every year. The day honours and remembers those who suffered and died as a consequence of the transatlantic slave trade, which has been called “the worst violation of human rights in history”, in which over 400 years more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims.


It was first observed in 2008 with the theme “Breaking the Silence, Lest We Forget”. The theme of 2015 is “Women and Slavery”. The International Day also “aims at raising awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today”.

With 2015 marking the start of the UN’s International Decade for People of African Descent, a permanent memorial has been unveiled at the UN headquarters in New York, entitled “The Ark of Return” and designed by Haitian-American architect Rodney Leon, who also designed the African Burial Ground National Monument.


(As you can see I’m posting this late, I wrote most of it in time but didn’t get round to posting.)

Why is it that slavery is still in existence, why is it that only parts of the world have made some progress after thousands of years but constantly need reminding of it and other issues?

In every generation a handful of people acknowledge and address the suffering around them, the harsh reality is that even in the countries where those people have had success in changing attitudes the majority of people resist ‘activists’ i.e a range of people who do things like campaign, teach or change their lifestyles significantly to be the change they want to see. The majority of people criticise or ignore and wave makers/people who actively try to change a situation are the troublemakers. Human and animal rights that have taken ages to win are generally still seen as bothersome and attempts continue to revoke them.

Before the issue of Black slavery finally came to a head in the US there was a lot of conflict in the Black communities, in hindsight we can see that those who wanted better conditions or full freedom came up against resistance from many of their own people who had the ‘keep your head down and make the best of it’, and ‘you’ll make it worse’ philosophy hoping that if they were good workers they’d get better treatment. That is basically asking your victimizer to help you, for mercy, whilst they see you as dumb, without feeling, without soul. It takes a long time for individual examples to become a movement, it takes success and often sacrifice before people join the cause after the way has been paved. If it happens the post-problem is staying righteous, educated and being wise; I don’t agree with the ethos that people need struggle to learn, that you need wrong to have right, evil to have good, unhappiness to value happiness etc but I do see that with successive generations after a big change we forget and start to undo the rights and freedoms ancestors fought for. I think people are people, no matter the colour, beliefs, location etc the personality types and behaviours are the same so discernment is always lacking – just as much as we get complacent and ungrateful for things, we stand up for outdated customs that would be better left in the grave.

Humans are a dependent species, we depend on each other and other animals for everything and technology to make it all easier so what we end up with is perpetuating cheap and slave labour abroad, underpaid overworked labour at home, displacing people in wars, refusing them refuge (ironically it’s been some of the poorest countries in the world that have taken the most refugees and asylum seekers over the decades), claiming some people have a right to be in a country because they conquered it last and closing the doors to Johny Come Lately, making business and living fairer here harder with so much red tape and more expensive so all those even cheaper people elsewhere look more appealing – as long as they’re working for us over there, we can’t stand the sight of them taking our jobs/homes/women here.

People can put up with a lot, from having their babies thrown overboard in the forced migration to having been bred in the first place. People often turn to heroes and god/s to be saved, redeemed, whether en mass for those who qualify or individually but it’s not ok. It’s not ok to be caged or to think of the cage as all there is. Victims and victimizers and those in between enabling the situation were praying to the same god/s. Some figures were proud servants who respected their masters and were favourably/benevolently patronised, some in their own way tried to make it better for those around them, I don’t begrudge them admiration but as we can see it wasn’t enough. In history it takes a few really strong people or a few charismatic people and a lot of exposure/funding to get a gathering/trend going – we like leaders and trailblazers, the problem is we don’t really seem to care what they stand for as long as they do it well until we get bored of them or they step out of whatever line we finally can’t take and it’s someone else’s turn.

Sex slavery is still alive and well i.e. trafficking, prostitution and porn in domestic and sex tourism. We have a bubble thinking most porn actors are ‘stars’ and prostitutes are mostly glamorous, fun, and easy earners. How many children think/exclaim ‘I want to be a prostitute when I grow up!’ Everybody can sell and buy right, as long as they own what they’re selling and we’re willing to buy so why shouldn’t kids aspire to easy street especially with celebrity culture? Your kids, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, cousins, best friends have the right to aspire to porn greatness and their images being masturbated to by millions of adoring fans… Yeah alot of people don’t really want that for them or theirs do they 😉 People get into those areas mostly because they have few options, as a temporary situation not a career choice but they don’t always get out let alone unscarred (high incident of rape and violence against prostitutes – people seem to think it goes along with the territory, just because you’ve paid for it you can have it any way you want and you’re dealing with a thing/service/toy not a person). Plus whilst they’re not branded with a mark anymore the regret/shame of prostitution and porn is mostly leveled at those performing not at those saying ‘you’re down and out, what else have you got, here’s an opportunity’, not at the camera people/staging/producers, not at the magazine owners, the club/brothel owners – no they’re looked up to, lauded, people want to be like them. Even pimps who can be both smooth talkers and thugs get paid for not doing the sex giving part i.e what they’d not want people they actually respect doing, though the buying/being given is fine. Even parents/’guardians’ sell or expose their kids, in some industries (a step ‘up’ from stage parenting) and countries it’s commonplace, people who want to buy want an eclectic mix of looks and ‘types’ to satisfy and with so much supply they can cherry pick.

Blaming the victim is easier because they’re more accessible, in the UK I’ve come across people who think the age of consent means open season (and looking at child actors and school students thinking ‘looking forward to when they’re legal’), that kids turn into adults overnight though they still can’t vote just yet (and for a while they couldn’t drink alcohol either but spreading the seed and pregnancy was an acceptable risk though ‘getting pregnant’ or ‘getting raped’ was/still is a blame on females mostly whilst the boys amongst the children abused by Christian/Catholic priests – and that’s a scandal in Islamic parts of Asia too – are definitely victims, and I agree they were/are victims of those who took advantage of their power/influence/position). The age of consent was lowered to allow for teens having sex with each other not for older people to take advantage of them, and then if caught out act as if those kids who amazingly turned into adults by default on their 16th birthday were fully complicit participants. The point of being an adult is that you know better, if you can’t get laid so don’t mind sleeping with much younger people, intoxicated people and/or sleeping with people via deception e.g. lying about yourself or their situation, or if you need someone to feel grateful to you to get them into bed that’s your problem. If you think you can coerce someone who decides they don’t want to have sex after seeming initially willing then tell yourself it’s their loss, they’re missing out, oh well. There’s plenty of people out there not afraid of casual sex to the point of not minding giving their body in a one night stand but would hesitate to give their phone number. People who sell sex are mostly desperate, the same goes for buyers who don’t care why the person is selling/who is selling them, and from the studies over the years from both countries who’ve legalized and those who remain against prostitution – buyers and pimps are people who can’t take even the idea of rejection and treat others as commodities.

People outside of the situation also seem to have a time limit on patience, what a lot of those in the situation couldn’t talk about or deal with/comprehend for a long time is seen as their own fault for leaving it so long, even if it took them a long time to get out of a situation/around people in their lives who would have made it difficult for them and those who got away with it led lives unburdened by the trauma they caused. They moved on so why can’t so and so from years ago? We’re not a very sensitive species unless we’re immediately involved in a situation, and even when we are we tend to just go along with it. Having grown up in poor areas, hostels and slums I saw that everyday; arranged marriages to bring people over from abroad (yet ironically the one time I considered getting married since it was to a White guy who lived abroad and not a cultural thing it had professional and education requirements, economic sufficiency, an evaluation as to whether the relationship was real and still subject to deportation afterwards) but whether home grown or newly arrived here the men can and do have affairs, if females are beaten by husband or son it’s her fault. Hey if her husband is generally violent and the son takes his side and gets angry at the mother when after years of taking it the parents are finally separated so he decides to put an iron to his mother’s back and he gets arrested (though a lot of domestic and sex crime are unreported and for a long time much of the evidence/samples taken from women taken to hospital from sex attacks never made it to investigation let alone court) well it still must have been her fault and her female friends/relatives won’t talk to her. Women have helped the perpetuation of their own subjugation by enabling it and not supporting the few who stood/stand against it. Remember up until only 25 years ago it was still legal for a man to rape his wife and alternate wedding vows are allowed now (e.g. it doesn’t have to be ‘man and wife’). In high prostitution areas in South America the ‘oldest profession in the world’ starts early enough to with enough supply of kids to take hormonal drugs to change their sex (transgender) or accelerate puberty to make them more saleable.

It’s not ‘when good men/people do nothing’ that atrocity exists and continues – it’s when there aren’t enough good people in the first place and the mass majority have limits on what they care about, even hypocritically e.g. anti-classist but not anti-racist. Anti-racist but anti-feminist. Anti-feminist but pro-LGBT (which came to the forefront of civil rights under the feminist umbrella). Feminist but misandrist. Anti-ageist but not anti-discrimination against the disabled. Anti-creed discrimination but anti-mixed ethnic-marriage/relationships. Anti-immigration but pro-corporate international expansion. Etc etc etc. Do we want the right to be just like the people we fought against or do we and society as a whole want to be better? Once we’ve got power, what do we do with it? Post-independence, civil war and slavery the US has the highest incarcerated population in the world. Post-20th century feminism (after the common White and then other ethnic men’s suffrage) we’ve got a scenario that says you’re a prude and inhibited if you’re not into getting your kit off, don’t go out of your way to watch others do the same, don’t feel the need to enjoy and support other women who don’t mind flaunting yet if/when you do many of those who wanted you to lose some respect for you “look you’re just like them ha [and you’re beneath me]”. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If a couple doesn’t mind each partner oggling others that’s their business however do you see the general male population outside of models/entertainers/athletes feeling the issue of modesty vs flaunting influencing their clothing choices (and the issue of children’s clothing getting more and more adult earlier on), willingly and frequently showing their girlfriends, wives and mistresses pictures/films featuring men they think/know she’ll find hot (without critcising the guy), do they show images of clothes on models in the hope that looking at someone attractive will make them more attractive via association e.g. getting her to image they’re wearing that clothing? No. Any why should they? I don’t blame them for not wanting to do that, it doesn’t make sense. However it’s so common now that if a woman isn’t into that (and isn’t ‘traditional’ so doesn’t have an acceptable excuse) then she’s jealous, possessive, not supportive of other women and not friendly with men. That’s it though isn’t it – now that some women in some of the world aren’t repressed/suppressed/oppressed sexually they’re gone from one extreme to another, called it empowerment (people used to flaunt or hide via the dictates of society, now we still do the same thing but apparently of our own volition) and we don’t know what appropriate is.

International cultural traditional dress garb clothing garments

Image found on multiple sites.

I like many traditional garments but unless worn as a practical garment for something like weather conditions by all people then head – and face and tent style – coverings are not for me although I can see why many take to the cloth and are comfortable in that form of devotion and I understand why Sikhs wear turbans (mostly men though it is required of women along with a chuni & for men the beard is seen as protection) when it comes to loss of energy and conflict with the energy of theirs from the hair/head but it became a hierarchical expression of regime change as part of compulsory attire. Ironically as a child I thought I would have made a good nun; the poverty, cleaning and discipline was fine but why be a Bride of Christ – is he a bigamist and why didn’t priests and monks need to do the same? It was also funny that older White males said I’d make a good officer in rank. It turned out I realized that whilst many are qualified to have authority they’re not fit to have it, plus I wasn’t religious and had pacifist ideals. I also decided I like being hairy so disagreed with cutting or shaving the head like nuns or some Hasidic Jews do after they get married (others decide with their husband whether to shave but still wear a covering so as not to show hair, some men aren’t allowed to shave and others have to keep their forelocks). Ironically most people I met disliked my hair and my overall look, some girls put a lighter to it in school for example yet under Tony B.liar’s gov were later paid to do the exams the rest of us had to study for anyway, and other people took strands of it from my brush or that had fallen out and others wanted to chop it off/ even prevent it from growing.

Wearing more or less clothing whether fashionable or not isn’t a safeguard/prevention for being targeted in crime though, and being female or a child means greater risk of going through all the humilations of being overpowered adult male targets do plus the sexual side of it; adult males get raped/sexually abused too of course, most obviously by other males. People aren’t that ignorant, we basically know what each other looks like underneath the layers and our emotions are hormonal so whilst we’re not (hopefully) attracted to everybody of the sex(es) we’re orientated towards, we also don’t stop imagining what the other person’s body is like when we’re attracted to them. Just because someone’s a doctor for example, doesn’t stop them from finding certain patients attractive and looking forward to parts of examinations, even if they don’t show it. Hiding or baring doesn’t prevent anything, society just finds it easier to maintain control of each other. Even in progressive societies we have people telling us what to wear every season, in some professions men have to have haircuts and shave, and women in general feel more comfortable with all over body hair removal – apparently it’s more attractive on women and cleaner because for some reason we’re unable to keep it trim and hygienic like men do. It takes body/self confidence and courage to show the body but it takes more to show it as it is. I once went to a co-ed spa over three days and didn’t wax (I’m an Indian woman and most women on this planet have dark hair, a lot of them have thick, coarse hair too – those women with blonde, fine all over fur can get away with leaving their ‘tashes, eyebrows, sideburns, face in general and overall rest of the body, not to mention save money). I could do that because I was single and at the time didn’t give a damn, if anyone was going to trouble me I wasn’t going to put up with it. I just went to mind my own business and get on with the activities people do there. Interestingly whilst most people stared they didn’t say anything though the women seemed more disgusted than the men and quite a few men seemed attracted. I think I managed it because I was still generally attractive; good figure, long hair (although with long roots), nice bathing shorts suit (and a fairly big towel – I’m not a show person, my body is mine, my temple, no one else’s) and perhaps because I was a novelty/’weird’ in a not-so-bad way doing my deep breathing and lotus pose at times. However that was one occasion, heavily outnumbered by instances where people make [mostly disparaging] comments and/or touch [my hair, bum etc) whilst fully clothed and I’m pretty much always fully and ‘decently’ clothed – I’ve been swimming approx 5 times since childhood after mega coaxing plus deliberating and despairing to find swimwear I’d be ok wearing. I admire the ethos and self-control purported by people in nudist colonies where a body is a body, not a lust object. I don’t think anyone baring or covering or somewhere in the middle should be mocked, harassed or worse.

I found this pic interesting:

Kabul 1972 russian muslim women american occupation

From ‘Voices-of-Russia’ 02varvara.wordpress.com

Whilst I’m not a fan of either style I can and have easily befriended both of the above ‘types’ and they didn’t feel repressed/suppressed. The more showy females like in the top half of the photo seemed outgoing and exuberant, females like those in the lower half talk about the advantages of their traditional garb and that they’re happy to be showing complete faith. I would say though that neither gives much thought as to how much of their dress sense is influenced by community and the differences in ‘modest/dignified/respectful dressing’ for males and females. Every time I’ve had a particular little group of friends amongst a bigger group of associates & acquaintances, we’ve always looked like a collective of visually different people; always different races, beliefs, styles, ages and that wasn’t intentional on my part at least – we sometimes had loggerheads at the start but it didn’t last past the day.

If the spectrum was based on how much effort goes into presentation then I’d be on the low maintenance end, both the show/hide sections are from what I’ve seen on the high end, as well as a lot of inbetweeners – despite what people think of my look I’d be near those who don’t do much. I don’t know all the tools or differences between things like an array of makeup brushes, pencils, foundations, concealers, powders, bb lotions(?), highlighters/contours, shaping/defining eyebrows, mascara/faux lashes, various lip enhancements, various forms of hair removal, skin maintenance/smoothing/pore stripping/lightening, nail art/false nails, body piercing, tattoo art, cosmetic contact lenses, hair stylizers like straighteners/curlers/perming, hair gels/sprays/wax/mouse, teeth whitening/veneers etc. Exercise is time consuming but the rest? I do my roots at home 3 times a year maybe (so I look mildly-goth/vamp most of the time though I’m not keen on the ‘vamp’ label), makeup mostly just powder & lippy (more for photos 😉 which I rarely take), blast the hair removal I’d be Cousin IT and ok (body hair is there and essential for various reasons, trimming and keeping it clean is one thing removing is another), simple body lotion/oil (or vegetable/fruit juice), simple toothpaste and simple shampoo/conditioner (like unrefined apple cider vinegar). If people think I’m a beast (a cute, cantankerous, courteous one even if I do say so myself) pfft so what, they should look in a mirror and think hard on how attractive they really are. The days of people walking into lampposts, almost getting run over, or getting distracted whilst driving as I walk past are over (and probably for the better to Health & Safety, and jealous folk lol) but I’m still magnetic. Can you say that?

This is a post from a superb blog:

On women shaving all their hair

Shaving - by Frieda Vizel

How can you cartoon about shaving? You have to. Because without some humor to lighten the subject, it’s hard for me to go there. Shaving my head was one of my most humiliating and hurtful experiences I went through as a chasidic woman. Before I got married, in our cart at the hardware store of china dishes and cutlery and hooks and potpourri, we placed a Braun electric shaver for me. Every month I plugged the shaver into the socket near the mirror, flipped on the black switch, and beginning from my forehead over to the back of my neck, held the vibrating machine at my soft little hairs as it fell to the side, the floor, into the bowl, down my back. Where I had shaved, my scalp showed itself in pale white, dotted with dark roots. When I was done, I was bald. I collected all of my hair and tossed it into the toilet and flushed.

I did this every month for years.

It wasn’t always so hard. At first I didn’t think about it much. I have only a very vague recollection of the first time my hair was shaved – by my mother on the morning after my wedding at eighteen, and not much more comes to mind of the first year. The whole ordeal was insignificant at a time of such tremendous life change; of starting to live with a man I didn’t yet know. I’d also been a tomboy growing up, and I was glad to get rid of my frizzy responsibility on my head. Every married woman shaved, and it was a prerequisite to marriage, a price I was willing to pay. But as the years went by and I turned twenty, twenty one, became a mother, matured and grew into myself, I no longer thought marriage was contingent on this tradition. I no longer felt hair was simply a messy mane. I no longer wanted to rub Panteen on my shaven, itchy head every night. I was a woman, and I ached to put a comb through my hair, to watch it fall softly to my shoulders, to feel dignified and feminine. I wanted to make decisions about my own body.

But still, I shaved. Every month. In Kiryas Joel, it can be almost impossible to hide growing hair, and without the support of the husband, entirely impossible. A hair sticking out of the turban, a neighbor noticing, a mikvah lady asking questions, a husband tell-tailing. I tried to rebel. I didn’t just take it lying down. But when a few months passed and my hair began growing so long it no longer stood straight but tilted over as if to bow to my forehead, the start of blonde bangs, word got out. One day, out of the blue, the phone in my kitchen rang, a religious woman sent by the leadership on the other end of the line. It was the phone call I dreaded all this time.

“I was sent to go down to your house and check if your head is completely shaven” she said in Hungarian Yiddish “so we can know that your tzadikl, your son, can be in cheydar. We cannot accept your neshamala into cheydar until you’ve done what every holy Jewish woman should do, so I’d like to come to your house as soon as possible.” Then she told me about the many blessings that will come to me for this great mitzvah, and she reminded me of the illnesses and accidents that come from women like me who cannot resist their feminine yetzer horah. She talked about cancer and recent tragedies and said that I never know if God had not sent them because of my sins.

I hung up the phone and felt shaken, my knees pulsing. She wanted to come to my home. She wanted to check under my turban. She wanted to see my bald head.

I had to let her. What choice did I have? I believed in none of what she said and thought her premise ludicrous. But banning my son from their school was a sure-way of forcing me to comply. My toddler, moping around on the kitchen floor, pulling on my duster, blabbling in Yiddish, needed to go to school. I applied to a different small privately run school in the community, but they returned a message through a relative that they are unfortunately unable to accept my son, pursuant to instructions from community leaders. I had no choice. I wasn’t prepared to take radical action like fleeing the community without money, a job, a school for my child, a degree or even a drivers license (women are not allowed to drive). I knew much better than to be impulsive in my very volatile situation. I stood to lose custody of my child, for heavens sake, if I ignited the community’s wrath. I had no legal support, no emotional support, no people behind me, no alternative cheyder, no way to stick up for myself. I was just me, a Chasidish lady among my Chasidish peers. I was helpless.

So one night I took out the shaver again, flipped the switch, and held it under my new side-part. I watched myself in the mirror. I was no longer a child bride. I had become a woman with opinions, ideas, aspirations and self-respect. I did not want to shave, I abhorred the control others had over my body. But I had to do it.

As I shaved from end to end over my scalp, tears streaked from my eyes and nose. When I was done I looked at my bald face in the mirror. And then I yelled. It was a scream that tore itself out of me in protest for every ounce of my dignity that was gone, for every hair of self-respect I cut away. For the fight I had lost, to our own. My grandmother was bald like this, in the war, because of the Nazis. I have her recordings of these memories, and the horror and pain of forcing a woman to shave is shocking. Yet we do it, to our own children, ourselves, our women. We should, they should, someone should know BETTER!

But no, the ritual continues to be enforced. I know women who continue to shave their heads against their will because they are too powerless to make decisions about their bodies. I don’t refer to women who believe in the ritual. I refer to those who don’t believe there’s value to it and don’t want to be bald. What are they to do? You may assume they simply need to be assertive, but do you realize that everything they have stands in the balance? Do you realize how at mercy of their Hasidic husbands and rabbis they are?

For me, this episode made me more determined in the long journey to take back control over my life and my child, earn a degree, save money, get a drivers license, find a good school for my son. But it left a very deep impression on me — about how vulnerable mothers in the community are. I learned that women who become mothers at a young age are essentially powerless, because anything they try to do puts the children in the balance. To me, shaving embodies the enormous power the community has to make its rebellious women naked, humiliated, powerless and defenseless. I feel strongly that more needs to be done to help the women who want different things for themselves and their children.

I don’t shave anymore but it still hurts, a scar that refuses to heal.

Frieda Vizel
Frieda Vizel left the Hasidic community, the Modern Orthodox community and the Formerly Orthodox (OTD) community. She now lives in Pomona and is actively looking for a new community to leave. She deals with the perplexities of the communities she left by drawing cartoons about them, a habit that gets her into an excellent amount of trouble.

On women shaving all their hair

This is the problem – how do we use our ‘freedom’, especially when there’s no such thing as real freedom because in a society we’re constantly impinging on someone else’s and how do we engage with those who do not have the ‘freedoms’ we do, and perhaps don’t want them? The above has also just reminded me of some ‘modern’ Punjabi men I’ve known who seemed friendly, well mannered, well spoken, well educated but have asked me after I spoke to their wives ‘how did she refer to/talk about/ask for me?’ Most of the time I hadn’t cared so didn’t remember but the wives weren’t allowed to call the husband by the first name yet I was and did every day. I said some things to them afterwards that they’d probably never tolerate from their wives or familial females and ironically that many of those women wouldn’t tolerate me saying, since they didn’t ask me to. If you choose your own partner then in my opinion they’re supposed to be someone you’ve chosen because they’re special and so you treat them specially – not to the detriment or unfairness of others but still nicer and more personally.

We say we can’t blame current people for the sins of the past though we do economically in terms of land/resource/company ownership, rights, reparations, tax etc and we say we can’t blame past peoples for the sins of the current, that we can’t judge those older by the same standards we have now but we do and have to otherwise we don’t have a benchmark to see what we want or don’t want to be. Like I said before I don’t think people should need to go through one thing to appreciate another, but in practice that is how people live.

If we forget our past we’re doomed to repeat it.

There was news from 2014 of IS, not ISIS as much of the popular Western media has ridiculously called them (unless they’re indicating the misogynist group’s origins in which case the same goes for all Abrahamic religions), pillaging and destroying ancient sites and artifacts. As of March 27th 2016 Syria & Russia took one site, the ancient city of Palmyra – that name is actually a type of tree – from IS, who had previously killed and displaced residents and surrounded the place with mines.

Nothing new there; book burning, defacing images/sites, destroying, selling, re-writing is all simply the mark of regime and/or outlook change. Archaeology started off because rich people wanted curios/status symbols for personal collections and scientists wanted samples. That doesn’t make it ok though.

Changing/hiding roots means less educated people. Why do they hate and fear pre-Islamic cultures? What’s wrong with a female god or polytheism, even polytheism that is ultimately monotheism – other than that gods and divinities have to be worth it and the people following have to be mature. I have only come across a few scripture characters that I like, mostly I think they are a waste of space but they are important because they’re a big part of who we are. I can see why people including a lot of ‘everyday, regular’ people would want to get rid of places of immense hurt/insult but pretending they didn’t happen is another matter. In the Petrie Museum for example there was a question as to whether to leave his/his team’s marking on the artifacts or to restore them to an earlier age, without knowing which to do it was generally decided that his system was history too now and we have to remember it. That is easier to say/do with defunct, inanimate objects than with the ‘soul bearing’ ‘sentient’ living. We only fool ourselves when we pretend the past didn’t happen, does Allah have a complete archive for the early times before ‘he’ dominated so it’s ok for IS to erase the records and even try to profit from earlier idolatry? Is it seen as using ‘enemy’s’ handiwork against them by benefiting from it?

Why do Muslims and Hindus share some rituals and fashions? Why are Islam, Juddaism and Christianity called the Abrahamic religions? Why does the word ‘semitic’ apply to innumerable peoples from North Africa and the Middle East/Western Asia throughout history but people use the post-Nazi associated term ‘anti-semitic’ for Jewish people instead of calling a racist a racist as is done for everybody else? They have things in common, a lot of things and all share the heritage of pre-existing and early co-existing cultures. They are not separate, mutually exclusive entities. Why is it ok for the god/s, pantheons, cultures of past people to be called myths when they believed in them, worshiped them, lived by them, thought they were right yet those of current people are called religion and have more weight and apparently more veracity? How can you say one is real or fake and not the other, how can one be a cult and the other a sanctified truth? Why can’t they all be somewhat different ways of saying the same thing? Why can’t they all be fake? People take religion seriously, as a clever system of conveying historic events and astronomy and as sets of stories about people and the beings who guide/control us. The amalgamated god Allah is supposed to be omnipresent, incomprehensible to us in its form other than what we can experience as all other living beings and our environment, it’s supposed to be sexless and genderless. So why do people get irate, offended and scoff if you don’t call it ‘it’? Surely ‘it’ is the most respectful form from our humble, unknowing selves? Why is it acceptable to call ‘it’ male?

Interestingly enough Muslims and Christians got on pretty well in earlier times, Muslims acknowledged Christianity as a sub-sect/branch of their own religion, some demanded a tithe for it but generally there was respect even mutual respect. Muslim and Christian scholars and scribes put together many of what we consider modern benchmarks for academic subjects and translations of other cultures. In addition to that we’ve continued many of the Greaco-Roman ways in such subjects as well; our systems of law, finance and education an expansion of theirs. It’s really quite amazing how many Christians believe outsiders can’t go to heaven but can go to hell, even a person who has to spent their lives well or exceptionally well according to Christian standards, and Muslims and Jews think they’re god’s only/chosen people. We live on a whole planet full of lifeforms, for an omnipresent/all powerful god it’s strange how so many of us would be unfaithful, outsider duds.

That said the potential profit as an ‘avenue stream’ from ancient relics may have been overhyped. What security and media probably didn’t realize or perhaps found inconvenient to mention is that a lot of what comes out of such sites is debris that not many want to store much less buy, people have been looting for a long time. There are a lot of fragments that get crushed underfoot and some people, Zahi Hawass for example (on & off head of the ‘Supreme Council’ of Egyptian antiquities) had a lot of critics outside of Egypt regarding the way he treated excavations, excavators, other historians and his lack of knowledge outside Egypt. Articles have said that they destroyed places for propaganda and relics that they couldn’t sell; in the few pictures I’ve seen of reclaimed Palmyra statues and architecture that could have been profitable were defaced rather than destroyed but still made useless to looters, though there are many sites in those lands to choose from.

Some pics here:

I haven’t read anything about them building their own religious sites over old ones, another mark of regime change – St. Pauls cathedral on Ludgate Hill a poignant example. Hoarding is another example, private libraries, chained books (yep chained, not because they’ll bite or hex you 😛 ), libraries only available to academics and with conditions such as ‘thou shall not write about this author/person as a possible alternative/real identity of Shakespeare unless you’re writing fiction’. Knowledge is supposedly power, most of a museum is not in its showcase galleries, those are the ‘ooo, pretttty’ things it’s whats in storage, in the offices, labs, inner libraries that make up the bulk, notice all those staff only doors at the end of galleries? It’s not really in the interest of those monitoring/governing for the rest of the public to know anywhere near as much as insiders know otherwise why be in the job? Why the title/status? Just like anything we have to hire another person to represent us or to fix something and usually speaks in what sounds like another language even if its not or only partially. Knowledge alone doesn’t help you much, you need backup and that is what we as a society worry IS is getting.

In regards to Palmyra – I personally disagree with using the Canaanite Baal Arch(es) as a symbol of defiance against the Jihadists, cultural officials saying we can rebuild what they deface or destroy whilst acknowledging it’s symbolic significance and restoring dignity to the people. Yes it is significant but I’m not sure about it restoring dignity. It doesn’t raise awareness in my opinion because it’d take ages to go through all the connections of gods and religion, so what they’re showing people doesn’t explain anything. In general I think being aware of history is important and am not against many re-enactments for hobbyists but this plan has too many mixed messages. The reproductions are being 3D printed in China and scheduled to be in [iconic] locations of world ruler/leadership, New York Times Square and London’s Trafalgar Square (a place that represents dominance of war and aristocracy) on April 19th. Whether temporary or not an arch is symbolic of a ‘gate/door’, you don’t need the rest of the building when you have that – which is why on even modern building complexes there are sometimes old fashioned arch/gate edifices erected by themselves unattached to the buildings within, it represents the entrance/exit to the whole. That doesn’t mean it’s a portal, it’s representative of one. As a gesture of defiance it’s pretty flimsy in my opinion, supporting one lord over another, whilst used interchangeably with El and Yahweh, Baal ‘lost’ in later religion and demonized. It’s a shame they’re not using the feminine form ‘Ba’ala[h]’which is still related to ‘Bala’ from pre-Vedic root culture that became Hinduism (pre-Vedic being pre-cradle of civilization, two of three cradles use ‘Baal’), the ‘Daughter’ form of the Divine Mother [from whom the Dark Mother also comes, pre-Vedic Mother Lalita and Dark Mother Kali – L & Kal were widespread and masculanized, especially Kali/Kala/Cal/Cali as that means Black and Time] (the masculine virgin birth heroes/saints and Krist-Christ characters are later). In the feminine pre-Vedic form it still has its nurturing and protective connotations, she wasn’t and still isn’t called a demon. In its masculine form Baal is too confusing in itself/its relations to others and is commonly confused with the Akkadian/Assyrian/Babylonian title Bel (popularly used for Marduk and also Nibiru which brings up why the stylized outspread wings have been used from ancient gods to gatekeepers to worldwide military insignias and then the issue of the Annunaki who dominant predators like humans wouldn’t want to think could/do farm/use/consume/play with them with all the same ‘legitimate’ reasons for doing so we have for doing to other animals (even though people look up to vampires but then they’re ‘sexy’ & human-esque 🙄 ). That is countered by cultures that see Nibiru as part of a star/comet system in which resides the Red and Blue Kachina for example and not inhabited by reptile people who left descendents here; or who reptilians, reptoids, snake like dragon people here claim they are related to). Ah what a mess. At least they won’t be shown in the parts of the world that are celebrating New Years at the time, that would be an ‘interesting’ resolution/goal.

No words, almost.

I’ve never been a fan of guns, to me it just makes the business and mentality of hurting others easier. Casual cruelty. Someone can maim or kill another without much thought; out of momentary fear, uncertainty, even honed into instinct. I don’t think people are more protected by having another weapon available, I don’t think it reduces crime. I can see why people want them against both civilians and officials but people on the whole regardless of their job aren’t responsible or mature enough in my opinion and demonstrated by adding another ingredient into the mix instead of reducing e.g. the ‘woman who swallowed a fly’ nursery rhyme.

In the Southern US state of Mississippi (thank you ‘Matilda’ – by Roald Dahl) House Bill 786 has just been passed to allow churches to have a ‘security program’ i.e. their own militia, private army, but because they’re legal they’re not terrorists. A place where racism, anti-abortion views (incl. penalizing medical staff who support it), poor sex education and religious intolerance still lives is allowing church members to carry concealed firearms (inc. stun guns) and use them without accountability. They will be exempt from federal law. Members have to be eligible for and have licenses to carry them in the first place but they don’t need a permit to carry them if concealed in a sheath, holster or enclosed case. Churches don’t need to advertise that they have such a force.

You can read the bill here: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2016/pdf/history/HB/HB0786.xml

Anyone making bets for how long it takes to become about anybody who they feel threatens their reality and perhaps non-Christian Brown people? (Interestingly the number 786 is popular in modern Islamic numerology, but some say it’s popular ‘lucky’ or ‘holy’ with various peoples throughout the Indian Sub-Continent.)

Places in London have a religious based security group called Shomrim (‘guardian’, ‘protector’) (and have had such a Jewish ‘watch’ for quite some time though can’t remember if it was the same group). They’re not ‘official’ and made up of volunteers yet they look like police, have the cars/uniform, just with Hebrew writing. If you’re not paying attention it’s easy to confuse them with the Metropolitan Police and they receive training and support from the Met. There’s positive words about the Shomrim online but I know how one person can get into an argument with a Jewish person and suddenly other Jewish people come to support them and it turns into a big group, only the non-Jewish person got arrested and community service. They’re the only people I knew in London who had their own day schools (other non-Christian faith and cultural groups had evening and weekend schools), their own shops that weren’t welcoming to others and their own housing estates. One time I was looking for my parrot who’d flown off and I followed him to a residential block on the opposite side of the road where we lived, I didn’t know it was only Jewish, every other estate I’d been on/lived in was mixed – but as soon as I got there the people said things like “what are you doing here, you don’t belong here” “go away you’re not one of us” even the children were saying to me “go away little girl” “hey brown girl” etc before one older woman asked why I was there and quickly said “he’s probably gone, you should just forget him.” We did get him back and he had enjoyed his outing, thank you very much (and no he didn’t live in a birdcage and I disagree with wing clipping).


From Getty images.


From Getty images.

Secular society where….? Why don’t the Muslim, Buddist, Hindu etc groups get the same? Because it doesn’t make sense to have legal and security preference for any group regardless of their creed and there’s a lot of creeds not just the major religions but honours/military/society orders that cover civilian, military and the ‘Empire’, and encapsulate professionals from all walks of society; civil servants, politicians, neighbourhood watch, governing boards etc (look at the order honour titles and badges/medals – why do people in law and public influence need religious membership sounding titles on top of job titles and worldwide esoteric star/sky worship symbols for authority?) Having one or all groups acting like this doesn’t solve anything, it’s just the same old thing.