I am a big fan of Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga practice. I love the physicality of it — having danced in ballet and the theatre for almost 20 years (not counting ethnic and belly dancing), my body really responds to the physical demands of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. I recently got back into it…. and I’m so sore….
I make sure to distinguish between ashtanga, which means “eight limbs” and refers to the eight “steps” or “branches” of yoga: yama, niyama, asanas, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, and Jois’ yoga practice that he called Ashtanga Vinyasa.
As I have just begun my campaign for United States Congress, I am stepping up my personal activism to a whole new level of engagement. And so, I wanted to post Jois’ closing prayer that is sung at the end of every Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga class:
Svasthi Praja Bhyaha Pari Pala Yantam
Nya Yena Margena Mahim Mahishaha
Go Brahmanebhyaha Shubamastu Nityam
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi
Which translates to this:
“May the rulers of the earth keep to the path of virtue
For protecting the welfare of all generations.
May the religious, and all peoples be forever blessed.
May all beings everywhere be happy and free.
Om, peace, peace, perfect peace.”
A-women! (Okay, I added that bit right there.)
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Being a Lakota from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Sunny is a staunch advocate for reproductive rights for indigenous women. Though she is very shy as a person, she is not shy about the lack of pro-choice options for indigenous women being a direct result of colonialism.
We also touched on the topic of what is happening in Texas with the anti-abortion bill before the state legislature, a bill that 80% of Texans oppose, but that the Repugs are trying to pass anyway. (More on that later!)
Sunny is also the subject of an upcoming PBS documentary, Young Lakota, and she was the recipient of the prestigious Emerging Leader Award by the Ms. Foundation.
Have a listen to the replay, and follow Sunny on Twitter: @SunnyClifford.
- NEWS: FDA’s Emergency Contraception Plan for Plan B Contradicts Court Ruling
- NEWS: Air Force’s Head of Anti-Sexual Assault Unit Arrested for Sexual Battery
- NEWS: Abortion Rights When Mother’s Life Is at Stake – Savita Halappanavar Dies in Ireland
- NEWS: No Women on House of Representatives’ Birth Control Panel
- NEWS: Susan G. Komen Finally Shows Its True Colors and It’s Not Pink
© 2013 by Trish Causey. All Rights Reserved.
If you know me, you know I cover New York’s Broadway theatre for a living, doing write-ups for shows, reviewing shows and cast albums, and hosting my own radio show, Musical Theatre Talk, on which I chat with Tony Award winners, Bway designers, and composers — I’ve even covered the Tonys! I do all this from Mississippi…. Yes, Mississippi…. How?…. I’m damn good at what I do…. (And I occasionally fly to New York.)
But there are other things you may not know about me….
In 1994, I discovered a quirky independent Australian film entitled Strictly Ballroom. Almost 20 years later, Strictly Ballroom remains in my list of Top 10 Best Films of all time.
The basic tenet of the film is a quote, supposedly of Spanish Romani origin, that goes, “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.” I have taken this quote and sentiment as the “theme” for 2013 as well as for my updated website, and my continued activism on my “secret” blog that I sort of kept from my “respectable friends” because it deals with subject matters too indelicate for polite company.
For the past year, since starting my “secret” blog, I have lived in fear of what others would think — that they would shun me, rumors would start, and I would be all alone in the big, scary world.
What the FUCK was I thinking?!
Of course, I’ll be shunned. Of course, people will talk. THIS has been the one constant in my life — being the black sheep of the family, having family and so-called friends disown me for being truthful to myself and living that truth in the open, standing up for what I believe in, speaking out for other people’s rights as well as my own. Why the hell would I be surprised for people to abandon me now?!
The fear began at age 9 when I was molested by a neighbor, a teenage girl down the street. She knew how to get me to keep silent — she threatened to tell my mother. My mother was an evil bitch, a Catholic zealot, dependent victim, and recreational martyr. I wasn’t sure what was being done to me, but somehow, my mother was bound to twist it to being my fault. That threat — that fear of being shunned by those who were supposed to love me — had lived with me for years, well into adulthood.
At 21, I was raped. (No, Republicans, it was not your definition of “legitimate rape.” It was just date-rape, just me being violated in my home by someone I knew well, which I know doesn’t really count to you as “rape-rape” even though 80% of reported rapes are committed by someone the victim knows, not the stereotypical boogey-man.) Again, I lived in fear of others finding out, of being shunned and ridiculed by those who were supposed to love me, so I didn’t tell anyone — not one person, not even the police.
Since I was 13, I’ve spoken out on many things in regards to human rights and civil rights — sometimes in regard to how it applied to me as a woman, a bisexual, a heathen pagan. Mostly, however, I’ve fought for human rights on the macrocosmic scale — I’ve fought for the principal of the basic right of <__insert human rights issue here__>.
This time last year, something happened within me, and I could no longer keep all of this inside. I created my “secret” website and blog that I absolutely love writing. Yet, I lived in fear that if my family found out, I would lose the last of my family who still talk to me… and worse yet, my activism for women’s rights, women’s body autonomy, women’s sexual health, and my own personal journey in healing from sexual abuse would be used against me by my soon-to-be ex-husband to take my child away from me…. I repeat… I’m in Mississippi… not New York….
A few days ago, while looking ahead to running for public office and knowing my “secret” blog would become public knowledge, I began to update my personal website. For some reason, the quote from Strictly Ballroom resounded in my head: “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.”
As happy as I am in my life as a single mom, a writer, an activist, a dreamer, I still lived in fear — which meant my life was not really my own. My fear still controlled me.
I knew then that I will no longer live in fear of losing people from my life. People who shun me for being an open, honest, and unapologetic loudmouth activist are missing out on one hell of a person in their lives. Their shunning says more about them than me. In fact, today on Twitter, I saw this quote in someone’s bio: “If you judge me, you don’t define me. You define yourself.”
So, here goes…. I’m coming out of the blogger and activist closet to let everyone know about my site and blog, ArousedWoman.com. (Begin shunning now….)
“Arouse” means “to stir to action, to awaken.” To me, this perfectly summed up my activism and the awakening I was experiencing on so many levels. A year of secret blogging later, I am proud to say I have a small following of readers — okay, they’re a fabulous fan-base whom I love dearly.
Here’s some more shun-worthy information:
I have never orgasmed during sex… but then 70% of women have never orgasmed during penetrative sex. I thought the problem was me. Turns out, not all of it was my fault. Some of it was the guys’ fault (okay, a lot of it has been the fault of the men in my life). A lot of it was the fault of the sexual abuse I suffered as a child and as an adult, and much to my surprise, a great deal of my issues with sex have come from the sexual harassment I’ve suffered since I suddenly developed breasts one night when I was 10. Therefore, I have written about my abuse as a kid as well as my date rape experience. I’ve written about my lifelong hatred of my breasts, as well as my fear of intimacy. I even wrote about my own Steubenville-esque experience that I was still carrying shame over.
I’m glad to say I am a multi-orgasmic woman — enjoying spontaneous O’s even! I have documented this journey in my DailyOJ posts. I am happier than I’ve ever been in that department… so much so that I now help others — men and women — with their sexual journey and sexual healing by answering their questions in my AskTrish posts and on Twitter. I love reading the comments by my readers on my blog and Twitter — they seem to like my OpEd pieces especially:
- OpEd: How I Like My Sex… Bare…
- OpEd: The Face of Orgasm: Is Your Woman Faking Orgasms or Not? (’cause really, most men are kinda clueless)
- OpEd: Fucking Cherokee Men (and Other People of Color)
I also review products including sex toys, books, lube, and music.
Still reading all this?…
AND I post erotic pictures on my AW Tumblr…. (no, not of me…. yet….)
AND I’m planning on hosting sexual wellness workshops….
AND I’m preparing an orgasm training workshop….
AND I’ve published a sample chapter of erotica on Amazon.com Kindle, that’s FREE for Prime members. (Tempted? Go ahead, you know you want to check it out…. I’ll wait right here for you to return…)
Oh…. you’re back? Great… Where was I…….
And is now a good time to mention I had to have a medical abortion in 1997?…. No?…. Oh…. Well, then, I guess I’ll save my tale of spending 20 minutes on the kitchen floor in such horrendously painful, incapacitating contortions I could not crawl across the floor to reach the phone to call 9-1-1… (twice)… for another time.
Still reading? Wow.
And I hate religion…. I am a very spiritual person, but religion is little more than man-made rules set by a core group of wealthy, powerful elitist men who suppress the masses into subjugation and adoration through machinations of fear and guilt — and who usually HATE WOMEN…. I don’t dislike the followers of religion necessarily — I like the UU’s, and I’ve never met a Methodist I didn’t like.
AND I am the Queen of Musical Theatre…. Seriously.
Now you know. My secrets are out. I no longer have any fear. My life is a life fully lived and living!
Judge me. You will be defining yourself, not me.
LOVE THIS? NOT SO MUCH? Leave a comment below! And feel free to share on social networks.
I am a woman and a single mom. Notice for whom this particular drill by Black&Decker would be a “great gift.” Is it Walmart or Black&Decker who thinks a mom, wife, or girlfriend (or female carpenter) should not buy a drill… or perhaps tools, in general?
Is this yet another way women’s equality is systematically undermined by patriarchal (RWNJ) culture and male-dominated corporate America? Isn’t this the 21st century?
We already had to fight the “legitimate rape” bullshit from the GOP, the shocking laws being passed in Arizona and the proposed bills in New Mexico. So #WhereAreTheWomen here? Is this more of 2012′s #WarOnWomen? Hmmmmmm…
As if the NEWS in 2012 were not horrible enough in the GOP’s effort to completely thwart women’s bodily autonomy, New Mexico legislators are bringing the GOP’s misogynist KoolAid to the forefront in 2013.
State Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R) (<– of course!) introduced New Mexico House Bill 206 that would require law enforcement to charge a rape victim with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence,” if she terminated a pregnancy conceived through rape or incest.
According to the language in New Mexico House Bill 206:
“Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.”
Brown offered this as justification:
“New Mexico needs to strengthen its laws to deter sex offenders. By adding this law in New Mexico, we can help to protect women across our state.
After a shit-storm of negative response by pro-choice activists and Democrat legislators, Brown explained the bill’s idiotic thinking:
“Its intent is solely to deter rape and cases of incest. The rapist — not the victim — would be charged with tampering of evidence. I am submitting a substitute draft to make the intent of the legislation abundantly clear.”
A petition has been started on Change.org to let these women-hating, rape-condoning legislators know women will not stand for such abuse of their bodies.
To support AW Radio & Forum, visit Trish’s GoFundMe page.
This is a quick note to let everyone know that I am taking the bull by the horns and starting up the Radio show and Forum that I’ve been wanting to create for a while now.
So many people ask me if I do podcasts, and I have to tell them, yes, but not yet for AW. Well, that’s changing!
While we dream of Utopia, running a radio show and hosting a forum is not free. It costs money for the licensed platforms even when the daily toil of maintaining each is based on sweat equity.
AW Radio will cover all aspects of the AW raison d’etre including Women’s Sexuality, Women’s Rights, LGBT, Survivors of Abuse, Religious Freedom, Indigenous Rights, Environmental Issues, Healthcare, Anti-Circumcision/Body Autonomy issues, and more.
The AW Forum will provide a safe place for like-minded individuals and orgs to talk about issues, recovery, and more importantly, foster solutions to put into practice. The Forum will be membership-based (to keep out the crazies) at $14.95/year, with a portion of the proceeds being donated annually to 2 organizations as voted on by the Forum community.
For more info on the Radio show as well as the Forum, visit my GoFundMe page I’ve started. Donations are securely processed by either WePay or PayPal (your choice!).
Be sure to check out the REWARD that accompanies each donation level, and make a TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donation if you can.
I know most of my readers check out my blog for sex tips, so I won’t drag this out. It is a sad reality, though, that the uncomfortable topic of rape doesn’t come up often enough in our culture’s national dialogue. If it did, maybe there would be less rape in the world.
This Twitter drama was more than I ever wanted or needed in terms of having to defend myself from being blamed for my rape and/or being made the villain because I didn’t report it. When the verbal assault happened over Twitter, I felt like I’d been blunt-kicked in the heart. I felt that creepy, dizzy feeling radiating outward from my ribcage, and I started shaking. I just breathed through it and decided to get angry instead of allowing any PTSD take over. The anger allowed me to channel my feelings into writing, which is proactive and productive. See! Being Irish comes in handy!
I want to genuinely thank all of you who sent me words of love and support, and I appreciate the sentiment of those who offered to help do that Twitter jerk bodily harm. Unfortunately, the Law of Karma prevents me from accepting your generous offer.
Remember, however, for every rape that is reported, many, many more go unreported thanks to the insensitivity of our misogynist culture that wants to blame the victim.
I am a survivor. Thank you, all! MUAH!
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While having a thought-provoking chat with a friend on Twitter, I got a bit of a shock out of nowhere. I’m not shocked easily. I wish I could say I’m not hurt easily, but even after all the crap I’ve been through in my life, my annoying humanity is still intact.
With the ridiculous comment from Rep. Todd Akin about “legitimate rape,” all of Twitter was a-buzz with chatter on the subject of rape. Interestingly, the topic which had started out being on abortion had shifted dramatically to rape, and not surprisingly, society once again placing the blame and the shame of rape on the women — the rape victim.
Out of nowhere, this jerk, “Dan,” buts into the civil convo I was having with my friend @sevenlayercake — though we differ in viewpoints, she and I can have amiable conversations. Whenever a Twitter interloper butts in, I check their bio. This guy was supposedly an “outspoken gay professional.” As a loudmouth Scotch-Irisher and theatre pro, I can certainly handle this guy.
I posted the link to my recent article on my rape — something I have never, ever, ever, EVER told the details of to anyone alive or dead on this earth until I wrote this article on it a few days ago. Why? For the very reason, I didn’t think anyone would believe me. And this jackwad says, “You want to milk your rape for sympathy.”
If this guy is “gay,” then he is the most fervently women-hatin’ gay man I’ve ever met. Gay men usually dig women, just not sexually. Being in the theatre, it’s not unusual for a gay man to ask me how I do my lipstick or to borrow my blouse.
So, below, is the conversation and yet another example of how the War on Women exists — and is apparently spreading to the gay men demographic, which I find to be very sad.
In my head, I hear the lyrics to Gloria Gaynor’s anthem:
First, I was afraid, I was petrified…
I will survive
As long as I know how to love,
I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live,
I’ve got all my love to give
And I’ll survive,
I will survive.
It took all the strength I had not to fall apart
Kept trying hard to mend the pieces of my broken heart
I spent, oh, so many nights just feeling sorry for myself
I used to cry but now I hold my head up high.
I will survive.
(Click image to enlarge.)
Just when you think the Grand Ol’ Party can’t sink any lower in its blatant misogyny of women, women’s rights, and their outlook on women’s bodies, Rep. Todd Akin reveals a whole new abyss of as yet unexplored hatred of the female sex.
It wasn’t long ago that men were the only ones on the House panel on birth control, that 31 Senators voted against the Violence Against Women Act, and the GOP in Michigan censored a female state representative, violating her First Amendment right to free speech. Now, the GOP creeps us out further.
In a TV interview, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) had this to say about his views on abortion, even if conception is due to rape:
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist.”
So Akin is now a medical expert as well as a judge-and-jury on “Legitimate Rape?” So all of us who have been raped now need to measure our own horrible experience with sexual abuse by his and the GOP’s standard? A standard which has no medical basis? Because, according to Akin, every woman who has ever said she got pregnant from being raped was lying?!
The GOP RWNJ Republicans rape women on a daily basis! Oh, wait that’s “Legislative Rape” as they are systematically removing laws and undoing decades of work women have literally fought and died for in the battle for equality. And that kind of rape of women, our rights, and our bodies is just hunky-dorey.
This is a blatant sign of the ensuing institutionalized brainwashing against women that we can expect if the GOP continues to buy its power via elections in the United States.
What’s worse than our rape experiences being de-valued by the patriarchal, misogynist GOP is that this makes men look bad as well. The men who love women and support women’s rights will be lumped into either the GOP misogynist corner or the corner of “all men” who are abusers.
By the way, Akin’s thoughts on the morning-after pill are pretty clear as well:
“[T]he morning-after pill is a form of abortion, and I think we just shouldn’t have abortion in this country.”
Maybe we should not have misogyny in this country?! The elections this year are paramount to blocking the GOP’s persistent #WarOnWomen!
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below!
Continuing on with my desire for a Bohemian, hippy, free love lifestyle, doing Tantric yoga with an earthly male god, chanting mantras, and generally taming this Kundalini energy that has become so… unwound…
Diane, a gynecologist, commented on my lament of my current weight, and she gently beeyotch-slapped me back to reality and away from the evil that is media enculturation. I’ve already written about my personal history due to my breasts’ size, my rape, and America’s obsession with breasts along with the hypersexualization of women’s bodies.
This self-hate is not normal. Hating other women is not normal. I think this competition we feel and act out is due in large part to the male machine of media, culture, and religion, all of which vilify the female form in one way or another.
Thanks, Diane, for the reality check!
May the Vagina be with you all!!!
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After a morning spent enlightening the GOP teabaggers on how ridiculous they are (nicely, of course), I once again had the yearning to run away from all this election craziness — this time coupled with an insane desire to join a nudist colony… just to be free of all the status symbols society deems important or even crucial to life.
I commiserated that I haven’t lost enough weight to be naked in front of others in public and was promptly reminded that we women cannot self-sabotage ourselves by heeding the KoolAid of media and culture’s negativity.
So onward I go, through this catharsis that has me by my she-balls.
(Click image to enlarge.)
Every now and then I do post my political opinions — sometimes, my vagina and my clit need a break from all the hippy, free-(self)-love I give them. So I made an innocent little comment about capitalism, the middle class, and the GOP. Out of nowhere, some GOP teabagger makes a rude (and stupid) comment, to which I responded… several times.
So far, no response. And once again, you will see why I really just want to get this 2012 Election process over with. My body needs a break from the negative energy this campaign is producing… Talk about “pollution”!
(Click on image to enlarge.)
As the negativity on Twitter has compelled me to lay low on the social networking site, I did pop in to update my tweeps on AW’s growing stats and readership (<– shameless plug!). And of course, I like to chat with my like-minded free-thinkers.
Without waxing too poetic, I’m finding the negativity of politics too much to tolerate. I don’t watch “the news” and I don’t even have a TV (gave it away). But 2012 is an important year in women’s rights as well as for the country as a whole. As much as I want to live in my hippy free-love Utopia, I know that is not a real possibility… for now… For now, we must be vigilant and ensure the GOP doesn’t win the White House. VOTE, PEOPLE!
Anyhoo, had this chat with a friend, and it brought a smile to my face. So Twitter isn’t evil all the time.
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So there I was minding my own business gabbing away on Twitter, just posting the countries showing on my stats’ page. I like to tweet where my readers are from because it does my heart proud to know that not just horny Americans are ogling my wares.
Today included readers from India, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia. Taiwan is a new reader for ArousedWoman, but Saudi Arabia has been a frequent reader to the blog. With all the tension over whether or not Saudi women would be allowed to participate in the Summer Olympics, I’m thrilled to have Saudi Arabian readers!
One of my tweeps then tweeted me and made the following comments about women in Saudi Arabia reading my blog. Of course, I don’t know if it’s actually Saudi women reading — how awesome would it be for loving Saudi men to be reading all this, also?!
Days like this are great reminders of why I do this blog.
Feminism is a hotly-debated topic in America and other narrow-minded, backwards, patriarchal areas of the world. As a woman who is a humanist, I often have to deal with the backlash from other women who think I’m a traitor to “the cause.”
I will write a longer piece detailing my why’s and wherefore’s of being a humanist rather than a feminist, but today on Twitter, I gave a brief “nutshell version” of my reasoning. The responses in return ranged from thought-provoking to hilarious.
Below are a few of the comments that made me think and made me smile.
Rape is prevalent. Yet, there is no sane reason why it should be except that rape is a tool for instilling fear and ensuring dominance. Rape is anger, aggression, frustration, emotional impotence, a power trip, a threat. Rape is not about sex or being sexual — which is why rape happens not just with a man’s penis, but also with the barrel of a gun, the neck of a beer bottle, the handle of a broom, or other implement of terror.
In talking with survivors who have been raped, the quote that comes to mind is Nietzsche’s, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” But why do so many women have to be brought near “death” to gain so-called strength? And why is associating sex and violence so ubiquitous in our culture? (Oh, yeah, religion.)
Worse, it makes me wonder what men’s definition of rape is. With marital rape, do men understand that they are raping their wives — not having sex? That legal marriage does not equal the right to rape? Does the drunk friend realize the alcohol was not an excuse for rape? And what about sanctimonious, judgmental women who are as much a part of the rape culture as the rapists and callous men who make rape jokes?
In sharing my rape experience and subsequent shame of reporting it, I received several messages from other women who told me of similar situations. I’ve removed their pictures and blacked out their names. These are just a few of the comments I received, but it points to a pervasive problem that still lurks on the fringes of open discussion.
As a stage artist, I trained my voice for years. I studied the sounds we make and how we make them. As a writer, and especially as a lyricist, I have toiled over the perfect words to scribe for dialogue or a song because the sound of the word itself has as much of an effect on the listener as the meaning of the word.
Just talking about rape brings strong emotions from women (and men!) who have experienced rape as a teen or an adult, or rape as a child, more commonly known by its euphemistic pseudonym, molestation.
Years ago, I realized that “rape” is a harsh word just as the act of rape is harsh. The growling of the “R”, the blunt hit of the unaspirated, hard “P” mimics the sharp, precise consonants’ onomatopoeia effect of “BruTal” and “aTTacK.” Conversely, the word “molestation” rolls of the tongue, rendering the word practically useless in conveying the horror of being raped as a child and softening the disdain society might otherwise feel. Example, decide for yourself which sounds worse: “A priest molested a boy” … or … “A priest raped a boy.”
I’ve rarely talked about my “molestation” as a kid, and I’ve almost never talked about the night I was raped. Only recently did I even tell people that I was still a virgin at age 21 — it was here on this blog, actually. For some reason, our hypersexualized culture has made it shameful to hold off on sex until a person is really ready. It’s as if teens must be sexual or they’re not normal. I was normal in many ways, but still dealing with my “molestation,” I had lots of issues I had to work out on my own when I was a teenager.
Also, my rape was not “real” rape. My rape would be sub-classified as “date-rape.”
We were in my bedroom — so clearly, I was “asking for it.” I was wearing a button down shirt and jeans. In 1994, it was fashionable to wear jeans that had rips in them. Mine did, right along the ass-line of the left leg. If a woman can show some butt cheek when she wears a swimsuit or shorts, I didn’t see the harm in a little peek-a-boo of my upper thigh at the butt line. And I was in my own home.
We were talking on the bed — but neither he nor I even mentioned having sex together. The next thing I knew I was being flipped over, my shirt ripped open, and he was inside me. I couldn’t think. The shock of pain like a thousand daggers stabbing me in my core and up my spine was something I’d never felt before. I couldn’t breathe. My brain started going into survival mode, and I felt like I was about to black out. I felt as if I were falling backward into an abyss. I couldn’t feel the bed or even him in that moment, just falling and shockingly intense pain throughout my body.
I realized I was still wearing my jeans. The button was still done, the zipper was zipped. He had entered me through the rip in my jeans. Dry mouthed, I asked him to slow down so I could adjust. All the while, I’m thinking, “How did he do that? Just breathe… How did he get inside of me with my jeans still on?” He said my tightness just made him harder, so he went faster. He said he couldn’t help himself… He pulled out, pulled me on the floor to my knees and told me to suck him off — he’d been wanting me to give him a blow job “for forever,” he said. Then he grabbed my hair and rammed my head down on his erection. I was still in shock, so my mouth must have felt like sandpaper. I was in a daze, on my knees, trying not to throw up, wearing all my clothes, trying to process what was happening. Just as quickly, it was over, and he was leaving. He was a friend. Dazed, but still true to my Southern upbringing of being polite, I walked him to his apartment a few buildings over. I walked home, but noticed I couldn’t feel the ground beneath me; my legs felt like jelly.
I stood in the center of my room, looking at the bed. I felt this whoosh of fluid. I was bleeding. I bled for 4 days. I thought about going to the police, but most of the people I knew also knew him. And if it went to trial, my “character witnesses” would all say they thought I’d been whoring for years — everyone assumed I was “loose” because I had large breasts. I feared being laughed at by the male policemen, ridiculed in court, verbally attacked by the opposing lawyer — I’ve watched enough TV to know how rape accusers are treated in court.
Yet, the hardest part — the part that actually made me not report my rape — was having to say in public that I was technically still a virgin at the old age of 21. Who would believe that? So I didn’t go to the police. Or the hospital. I just prayed I had not contracted some disease. After all, it seemed getting raped was inevitable in our society, so why should I complain? It’s not like is was a “bad rape” like being mauled in an alley by a scary boogeyman.
So then, maybe I wasn’t really raped. Maybe it was “just sex” after all…. Maybe sex with all my clothes on and without my permission is just “date-sex-I-didn’t-want-to-have-especially-since-I-was-a-virgin-but-it’s-not-really-rape.” Maybe Comedy Central comedian Daniel Tosh has a funny rape-joke commentary to make on my behalf?
People still think rape only occurs when the scary boogeyman assaults a woman in the mall parking lot at 10 p.m. Most women are raped by men (or women!) they know, particularly their spouses, family members, or neighbors. Rape is not the bullshit storyline you’ll see on Lifetime Television for Victims, just like you won’t find the secrets of orgasms in a Cosmo poll.
Because of my experience, I don’t do “blow jobs” — I do oral sex on my terms. I tell a man ahead of time not to grab my hair or he’s getting a fist in his balls. I also don’t get on my knees for any man or any god. More importantly, I don’t blame all men or hate the penis for what was done to me by one man.
As the mother of a daughter, the one thing that guided me in practically every decision I have made in her care and upbringing was that I wanted her to get to the age of 18 without being molested or raped. Now that she’s 14, I’m working on making sure she has a foundation of what is right for her and that she never has to succumb to an abuser. The age of 18 is now innocuous as I no longer hold the pessimistic world view that being raped is an inevitable fact of life for women.
Rape is not inevitable. Rape is preventable. To me, “rape culture” is a society that knows rape and sexual abuse are wrong but looks the other way while mocking the survivors who are willing to speak up and shaming the survivors too scared to speak out.
When our culture stops heeding the media’s marketing and drinking the misogynist KoolAid that de-values our experiences as rape survivors, only then can we adequately prevent rape from happening. Women, men, and children are experience rape on a daily basis. Rape culture exists in religion as well as government and society. Rape is a tool of war. It’s time we put an end to the rape culture that propagates sexual abuse while it terrorizes and punishes the survivors.
Rape is not inevitable. Rape is preventable. End #RapeCulture.
Continuing with the GOP’s #WarOnWomen, the Speaker of the Michigan State Representatives and fellow right-wing conservatives got their knickers in a twist yesterday when Democratic Representative Lisa Brown used the word “vagina” while talking about her proposed amendment to an abortion bill.
After mentioning some controversial points of fact in the Jewish religion that actually support abortion when the life of the mother is affected, Brown went on to say the following:
“I have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs. Why are you asking me to adopt yours? And finally Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.’”
Apparently, the GOP reps didn’t cotton to vile, dirty talk such as the Latin, scientific term, “vagina.” One RWNJ commented, “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”
Brown was banned from speaking in the following discussion or the following day. Notice, this is now a First Amendment issue — an American citizen’s Freedoms of Speech and Expression are being directly assaulted and prohibited by the government!
At a press conference, Brown said, “If I can’t say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?”
Currently, a protest of this ridiculous GOP tactic his appening on Twitter. If you have a Twitter account, hashtag the word vagina, so we can get it to trend: #vagina.
My response was this:
Another Tweep summed it up perfectly:
Here’s the video of Brown’s speech on the House floor:
In the past few months, we’ve witnessed the careful and deliberate dissolution of women’s rights that already exist and the steadfast determination of Right Wing, Christian, Conservative Republicans to further strip women of much-deserved basic, human rights.
Now, the Senate has failed to get S. 3220, the Paycheck Fairness Act, off the ground. The title of S. 3220 is thus:
“A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes.”
What did the Senate have a problem with? I can only surmise that “basis of sex, and for other purposes” must have struck fear in the black holes (i.e., hearts) of the GOP. “Sex” is the Republicans greatest enemy! Republicans fear sexual gender (women and transgender) and sexually active people (everyone on the planet who’s not a hypocritical Republican, of course). Without sex and gender being a problem, the Republicans would not have anyone to hate. Expecting the Republicans to hand out “fairness” to anyone with a vagina — or genitals they use on a regular basis — must have been too much for them to process. In fact, it seems the only sex that Christian Conservatives approve of is GOP politicians’ illicit sex with hookers, college date rape, and pedophile priests.
Oh, wait. Discrimination victims of “other purposes” could mean skin color, religion, shape of nose, kinkiness of “foreign” hair, height, weight, looking scary…
Clearly, moving into the 21st century has taken its toll on the GOP. It was bad enough for upper-class, white Christians to have to sit by black people at a restaurant. Then women wanted control over their bodies. Now, everybody wants fairness. Well, not if the GOP can help it! And they certainly did everything they could to prevent the Paycheck Fairness Act from getting through.
With a needed vote of 3/5 majority (60 out of 100 Senators), the vote was clearly divided between bleeding heart liberals (52) and RWNJ GOP types (47), with 1 abstention. The phrase that comes to mind is, “They’re thick as thieves.” Stealing fairness, like pay equality, from the majority of Americans is a trademark GOP tactic and should be criminal not a daily Congressional activity.
According to Senate.gov, here’s how the voting went.
|Not Voting – 1|
You’ll notice that this Kirk from Illinois also did not vote on the recent Violence Against Women Act. I can only guess that he does not want to pass such “fairness” for victims of violence, but come re-election time, he probably does not want it on his record that he voted against VAWA… and now the PFA. Coward.
I’m a stage person, not a video person, so I don’t have all the fancy equipment to do video. I had to use my phone (held by my fabulous daughter!). I’m also still losing my miserable-marriage-weight, so video has been the last thing on my to-do list!
And yet, I’ve been wanting to do a weekly video round-up of news and blog posts but have been too self-conscious. Maybe now, I just won’t care about what I look like on video and do the weekly vids anyway.
So for what it’s worth, here’s the video of me giving the nutshell version of my stance on why I work for Women’s Rights.
In response to a reader’s comment on my usage of “his-story” and “herstory” in this post, I wrote this little response.
The terms herstory / her-story are used in feminist writings for the precise point of underlining exactly how much women have been left out of the masculine narrative of world events, i.e., history. I even wrote a musical called Herstory, dealing with this very topic. (To hear a few demos, go to my personal site: TrishCausey.com.)
It’s not so much an etymological derivation I’m going for with his-story or even her-story, but rather a play on words, making the distinction between history — the narrative we’re taught in school and take for granted as “accurate,” and his-story — the overwhelmingly one-sided male version of world events that its orchestrators consistently and conveniently left women out of — all of which echoes the current political climate, a.k.a. the 2012 elections that prompted the right-wing Republicans’ “War on Women,” that caused Democrats and social activists to ask the question: Where Are the Women?!
As they say, the conquerors write the history books, and this is true whether it is women being left out or the “other side” of the story being obscured to make the conqueror look better.
When I was in school, “World History” consisted only of the Greek Empire, the Roman Empire, a paragraph or two on ancient China, a hiccup on India, and then jerking off to the wonders of Columbus and the so-called “discovery” of the “New World.” This hardly covers all of world history, and frankly, it’s a piss-poor job of a “survey” of history as well.
Archeological evidence around the world proves women were involved in all aspects of society: fighting in battles, doing daily domestic chores within a tribe or clan, leading religious activities as priestesses, acting as medical healers of an entire community, and officiating in government as judges and/or chieftains or queens. The fact that the emphasis on goddesses is so prevalent on ancient cultures sheds but a glimpse of the extent to which women might have been revered.
From the rise of the imperial, patriarchal regimes of antiquity through the 20th century, women who really wanted to participate did so in “drag,” dressing as a man in order to fulfill their purposes in helping with a cause. Women who were openly independent, standing up to oppressive religion and government or fully participating in teaching the next generation of girls the women’s mysteries, were accused of Witchcraft and summarily arrested, tortured, and executed in one form or another, burning at the stake being the favored method in Europe, while hanging or even stoning was preferred in the “New World.” And yes, I wrote a musical on this as well: Witchcraze.
Women have not only been erased from history (i.e., Hatshepsut’s statues in Egypt de-faced and her named chiseled out of the stone to erase her legacy — quite literally), but women have not been accurately included in history to begin with. In medieval Europe, the tradition of not even recording girls’ names when they were born was common — because girls were not important. But boys’ names were recorded because property, family names, and inheritances were passed down through the male line under the patriarchal societal system.
When I participated in a medieval historical re-enactment group, the name nerds were sticklers for making sure everyone’s persona had a legitimate, verifiable name for the time frame and nationality of the persona. As a 12th century Scot, getting my name “approved” was difficult because females were not recorded except in extreme cases, such as a wealthy (for Scotland) couple only having a female child survive to adulthood. (The fact that the Scots at this time were also on the last legs of independence in their indigenous culture, which had an oral tradition not a written language, made documentation difficult as well.) So while they wanted me to prove my name did exist, I told them to prove it didn’t. They couldn’t — because women were not included in the male narrative from the beginning.
I’ve often asked the question — Name 5 famous women from American history. Most people name Betsy Ross, Harriet Tubman, maybe Eleanor Roosevelt, maybe Susan B. Anthony. But no one ever gets to 5 names. They rarely get to the 20th century when women finally earned the right to vote in 1920 and marched in the streets for equal rights in the 1960′s and 1970′s! That shows just how much women have been excluded from the important facts in American his-story. Our brains are drilled on the male war mongers, the American Revolution, the male Founding Fathers, the male presidents, even the male dissidents, the bloody American Civil War, World War I, and World War II. Women were there! Obviously, we were there, or none of us would be here today! But in the common narrative of history, “Where Are the Women?”
It is time to re-write the history books — not as his-story, or even solely her-story, but to tell the tale of all of us.
A current series on BBC Two is shaking up the bubble of religious misogyny that the Catholic church and fundamental conservatives don’t want you to know about.
Bettany Hughes, anthropologist and author of The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life and Helen of Troy: The Story Behind the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, has appeared in several programs for the BBC and PBS highlighting ancient history and women’s place in it: Helen of Troy, The Minotaur’s Island, and When the Moors Ruled in Europe.
Hughes’ latest foray into the world of highlighting women’s contributions to world history is the BBC Two series “Divine Women.” She brings to light information about women’s involvement in religion, not only as supreme mother goddesses and priestesses to the masses, but goddesses and women as true forces to be reckoned with (think Kali), when women were revered for their ability to both create and defend themselves and their loved ones as they saw fit — essentially, these females were in complete control of their bodies and their own desires, a great reminder for women today!
Women’s independent nature has repeatedly been attacked for centuries in the form of witch trials and anti-suffrage movements. The inherent fear and jealousy that many men have toward women was first cultivated by the patriarchal, imperial regimes of antiquity in the original #waronwomen that we are fighting to this day.
Hughes’ soft-spoken, well-educated British delivery lessens the blow of shockingly empowering information, that heretofore, only we Pagans and heathens seem to have known. Elevating women to the status of not only equals in religion, government, and society, the evidence shows women were actually viewed as superior to men just as female goddesses overshadowed male gods. This may come as a surprise to religions that forbid women to be priests or governments that refuse to allow women to fight on the front lines of battle — all because we have vaginas, the part of woman men love and fear simultaneously.
In reading a review by a clueless male UK writer, he thought the first episode was slow, meandering, and overall lame. When I confronted him on Twitter, I substantiated my arguments with facts (and passion), and he accused me of being a “bot.” I guess that’s the social media version of when women are “emotional” or “high-strung,” we’re just experiencing the effects of being “hormonal” at “that time of the month.” He again proved that the average man simply cannot tolerate an empowered, strong, kicking-butt-taking-names woman — similar to the insecure men who banded together to erase women from history and religion, relegating women’s only value in society to giving birth to healthy sons and cleaning the house, doing laundry, cooking meals, raising the kids, and laying back for lackluster sex whenever the husband was horny.
Whether you believe in a duality of a higher spirit or not, the time has come to re-write the his-story books that erased women from its narrative. We regurgitate the names of male generals and the battles they waged and call it “history.” We revere the “Founding Fathers” with no regard for the women who were our “Founding Mothers.” This series, “Divine Women,” is a brilliant step in the right direction of getting accurate information about women’s true role in the history and the her-story of the world.
For now, UK audiences can watch it on BBC Two. When it hits the DVD section of Amazon, I am definitely buying it!
Agree or disagree? Leave a comment!