I’ve seen both Ray Rice videos. I’ve seen the now deleted tweet by Lee Westwood, seen the NFL backtracking, seen Floyd Mayweather say the original ban was enough. Mind you Floyd did do time for battery against an ex girlfriend so no surprise there really. And I’m left so sad, so very angry.
If you haven’t seen the videos I’d say don’t. Brutal and callous are the words I’d use for the attack and aftermath. Rice would have got away with knocking his fiancée out cold if he hadn’t been caught on camera. Quite what the NFL have been doing I’m not sure but the full truth isn’t out I’m sure.
What concerns me is domestic violence again seems to be less about the women than men needing to be protected. Maybe I’m wrong but there seems to be a culture of cover up across the board. It’s almost as if there’s an unconscious belief that if this gets taken really seriously the fall out would be men not being ‘men’. And domestic violence isn’t taken seriously enough for me, how else do you explain Lee Westwood tweeting that Rice is a free agent, sign him for the 49ers? It’s not taken seriously in the NFL as the initial ban was TWO games, yet smoking a joint gets you a year ban.
And I’ve been reading recently how prevalent sexual harassment on the Tube and Subway are. Some stories I’ve read left me feeling ill at the violation.
And yet it mostly seems that the responsibility falls on the woman. She was wearing a low top, shouldn’t have been drinking, walked in the wrong place, walking late at night, wear nail polish that changes colours if your drink is spiked, why is she with him?
BULLSHIT. BULLSHIT. BULLSHIT.
If ANYONE gets assaulted it’s the doer’s responsibility. If I get mugged it’s not my fault.
Yet if a woman gets assaulted its somehow laid at her feet in an awful lot of cases.
My dad hit my mum. Once that I know of because I head the screams and came down, saw the bruises on my mum and tried to beat my dad up. I was around 10. Maybe once, but in reality how many times? He hit my stepmother, again only the once I know of. He broke her ribs in self defence he says. I did see scratches on his face another time. Hear of her attacking him with a tennis racket. But what else happened? Where is the truth?
The truth is in this age of information we have access to real news from all over the world. We see so much and hopefully our awareness grows, our desire to be courageous and do something grows. But does it? I see funding in rape crisis cut and cut. I see cover ups and lack of successful prosecutions.
A fanciful hope is that the NFL stands up and are true men. My hope is that they quit the crap that’s going on now and do something positive. They are a billion dollar business. They have huge influence. They could support DV organisations with funding, raise campaigns of awareness, bring in a culture of telling the truth. I know, fanciful. But I can hope. Without hope what’s the point?
And Leaving Here…a great cover Pearl Jam does. About domestic abuse. Makes me so sad hearing it at the same time as loving the song. I hope I’m not alone in understanding what it’s about. I hope as well as rocking out and dancing some men are moved to take a stand for women.
I’ll be painting ’em up again. This time realising my bright red polish is anti-rape, anti DV, anti harassment. And in honour of the women I know who have been raped, the women I know who have suffered domestic violence and those I know who have been harassed and assaulted on trains and busses.
He couldn’t cry.
The hurt ran to deep to cry. The blows, the words and the touching seared. Scarred a heart perhaps too tender for this world.
Too far below did the tears pool to break forth. A grand reservoir long since frozen over, the thick ice allowing not even the merest hint life to be glimpsed.
Here, still as death below the ice, lie the rivers of truth waiting to be set free that they might live. That he might live.
So clear is the river of truth, so sweet it’s taste. Rivers so full of life you can see them dance teeming with laughter.
Only love can melt the ice of a frozen heart. Only love can release the tears.
The tears of joy that only living and loving can free.
He couldn’t cry his tears of joy because, as yet, he lay frozen, waiting, aching for the warmth of love to melt him free.
When I decided to wear nail varnish to say both I support women and I utterly condemn rape in any form I wasn’t aware of what was going to be brought up for me.
When I went to have a steam and swim yesterday I felt very exposed as all I had on was shorts and nail polish. Bright red nail polish. I felt uncomfortable with some of the looks I got and energy coming my way. I combatted this internally by acknowledging that I am standing up and being counted for something I believe in deeply. The safety and respect of women.
The looks directed at me took me to a place of wondering. I allowed myself to go deep inside, to open my channels to explore what it was like for women to have covetous looks directed at them and a vision of a gang rape came to me and I felt the terror of the victim. There was more than terror as I felt a helplessness. And tuning into the men I felt a cruel triumph and utter dehumanising of the victim. And I realised this goes on every day. Women become objects. Men lose their masculinity in a rage filled attempt to be men.
Later two young women are talking amongst themselves, one saying that on an occasion when there had been so much steam when she came in she stumbled over a man a lot older than her she hadn’t seen. He took her hand to steady her. Then continued to hold it for a minute after she had sat down. What disturbed me as much as this violation of her safety is when I said I was sorry this had happened to her she really wasn’t able to say it wasn’t ok. Holding a young woman’s hand uninvited when she’s in a swimsuit is harassment.
This all makes me very sad and angry. And confused. Confused because I truly believe that women have the right to be safe, to not be harassed, to not be objectified. Yet I know the legacy of my childhood still lives in me. A legacy that was born in a brothel.
From the age of 8-14/15 my father owned a massage parlour. It was a brothel. Apparently full sex wasn’t allowed which makes it an ok business according to my father and therefore not a brothel. Sure, and pizza isn’t pizza because you use cheddar. What it taught me is women were there for my pleasure and to do as I said. Not true. In my family women aren’t respected unless they’re entertaining, beautiful and making home- and that’s not respect. So I carry some issues. I do struggle with objectifying women, expecting women to answer my every need, to make me feel better. But I struggle with this and don’t act it out. And sometimes I don’t even know what the ‘rules’ are. Is looking ok, glancing at a woman I find attractive ok? I know ogling isn’t. I know rape isn’t. I know sexual harassment isn’t.
I know that my statement hasn’t made much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. Make that negligible. But it has brought to me a wish to do more to bring this issue into the male consciousness.
A girlfriend once quoted to me, by who I can’t remember, and this may not be verbatim…
There isn’t a woman alive who hears footsteps in the dark and isn’t afraid.
I can’t change this. I’m not in the public eye to get a great campaign going. But I am willing to speak up where I can, when I can. And maybe, just maybe, a few more men will realise what their footsteps can evoke.
Four students in the US have come up with a nail varnish that changes colour when it detects ‘date rape’ drugs in a drink. Stir the drink with your nails and the tell tale change of colour occurs if rohypnol etc are present.
You have to be kidding me?
But sadly this is real. I’m also sickly amused by the fact that the four students are male. Why? Well, it’s a lot easier to make a nail varnish than make a stand it seems. It’s men doing the raping, it’s men who cause women to feel unsafe walking home.
Excuse the pun but this nail varnish is mere veneer. Rape is an issue that won’t be combatted by nail varnish.
So I’m wearing nail varnish for a week as a statement saying I’m a man and I’m not ok with rape. I personally know too many people who’ve been raped including someone who was robbed at the same time. The perpetrator was caught. And got a longer sentence for the robbery.
I can’t stop rape. I can’t stop people making jokes about rape. But I can make a stand against rape in my own way.
I’ve asked make friends to do this as well. If I was a rock star, movie star etc I’d have 10,000 men with painted nails by dinner time. I’m not but if 50 men do this that’s a lot of people asking why. I’m doing this for a week. I hope I get asked a lot.
It takes no courage to rape. It will take some courage to go into a meeting or the gym with painted nails.
So men reading this, paint ’em up.
Here’s a video I made earlier about this-
For a moment I started to forget my place in things.
To get ideas above my station. Be arrogant as you say.
To believe I could be loved. What a fool!
I started to think I might achieve something. That I might be a good person.
I even believed, for a while, I’d achieve something worthwhile. Maybe be useful. Maybe make the world a little better in some small way.
Thank god I’ve realised I was just kidding myself. Thank god I know I’m no one.
Thank god, the relief is fantastic. Just be the piece of shit you told me I am.
You’re right. You should have hit me harder, beaten all trace of hope out of me. It would have saved me from myself.
You were right, Dad. I’m nothing.
I go Into The Black when I can’t live in this world.
When here is too much and there too far to get to. There within reach, yet so far out if reach.
There, not here that is embossed with lilies gilded in black. A promise of hope shattered with black. There where the freedom lies. Here freedom is a lie.
A lie seducing with hope, false promises of a better day.
Here where I dream that nothingness might join me, caress me until dawn rises without me. Free, free from here, from there, from the pain.
Death so I might rise again.