Tuesday, April 12, 2005

We have lost a warrior. Andrea Dworkin.

Ok, so the press and broadcast medias are maybe catching up.

You can listen to a tribute to Andrea here on Woman's Hour this morning, on BBC Radio 4.

The world's newspapers are waking up.

Worth reading is the Independent article.

Nikki Craft has made a Memorial site for Andrea, where women can talk about her, pay tribute to her and her work, and share their most inspiring and favourite quotations.

I wrote,
Andrea spoke about me. She spoke about so many of us. And she spoke for us too.

She had a way of getting right to the crux of the matter instantly. No messing around, no apologising for what she was going to say, no fluffing around. She said it, right out, right there. She hit the spot with every word she wrote.

I have never been as angry, inspired, fired up, as when I read 'Life and Death'. Every time I read it, the same happens. For me, that book hits right between the eyes, and you can't hide any more from the things that sometimes I would like to pretend didn't exist.

The fact that Andrea has been so vilified is proof, to me, that she was dangerous to the heteropatriarchal establishment. If she wasn't, then the malestream media would not have felt the need to humiliate, dismiss and hurt this amazing woman. But she was dangerous to them, she spoke the truth so clearly, and the only way to escape that was to slate her.

I remember reading the Observer article in which she talked about having been drugged and raped. I cried, and nodded at so much of what she said. And cried some more. I remember her saying something about how, afterwards, she couldn't get her head round the fact that people were just getting on with their day-to-day lives. How could they still be shopping, talking, laughing, when this had happened?

I felt the significance and meaning of what she said acutely.

And then came the backlash. The criticisms, questionings, and downright accusations directed at her following her discussion of her experience of drug rape stunned me. For *any* woman to be disbelieved, mocked and criticised after discussing their experience of rape, is an appalling indictment of the misogyny in the society we live in. But somehow, for Andrea herself to experience this felt even worse.

It felt like those who had criticised her work for so long, were now criticising her for speaking out about her own experience of it too, as an extension of the criticism of her work.

At first I wanted to say, even if you don't agree with her beliefs, her feminist politics, you must still believe her account of this further annihilation of her as a woman by being drugged and raped.

And then I realised that her work, her politics, her beliefs, are *all* about when women talk about this annihilation of themselves. The two can't be separated.

To dismiss Andrea Dworkin's work, is to dismiss women's experiences of rape and sexual violence against women.

To dismiss women's experiences of rape and sexual violence, is to dismiss Andrea Dworkin's work.

The two are inextricably linked as they lead from one to the other. Andrea talked about women's experiences of rape and sexual violence.

She talked about my experiences of rape and sexual violence, about Linda Marchiano's experiences of rape and sexual violence, about Nicole Brown Simpson's experiences of rape and sexual violence, about prostituted women's experiences of rape and sexual violence, and about her own experiences of rape and sexual violence.

She helped women to frame their own experiences within the context of the misogyny and patriarchal society we live in.

We have lost an outstanding warrior, and the only fitting tribute is to continue what she did. To speak, to challenge, to care, to cry, to shout.

Rest in peace Andrea, my sister.