Sunday, February 21, 2010


One of my problems is that I ignore things my body and mind are telling me to such a degree that they have to pretty much knock me on the floor before I pay attention.

I had surgery on my leg last Thursday, and as today there was slightly less pain than yesterday, and as I could walk 3 steps without crutches, I spent a lot of the day determined to be HAPPY dammit. It was only when I found myself sobbing, and this carried on for a good half hour, that I realised how much I'd been kidding myself all day.

Things might be marginally better than yesterday, but I'm still tired, in pain, traumatised by surgery while awake, wondering what on earth is going to happen next, feeling seriously let down and scared.

But when I don't want to see it, I don't see it. Until I'm forced to.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Blame the Victims... Again!

I had the misfortune of watching Carol Malone on TV this morning. She said that if women get drunk or dance provocatively, it's really their own fault if they get raped.

She also said that men can't be blamed for raping women when they (the men) are drunk, because they don't really know what they're doing.

Double standards much?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Who is Most Committed?

This awesome woman shows the madness of gay marriage bans.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Pharmacies seem to have a new policy of doing medication reviews with patients, and as I use whichever pharmacy is most handy at any given time, I keep using different ones and thus having more and more medication reviews.

Today's was interesting. It turns out that two of my meds cancel out the action of one other, and that that one other cancels out the action of the other two. Interesting! All three prescribed by the same person, incidentally.

Also, the pharmacist made an assumption about my mental health diagnosis on the basis of the meds I'm on. It is a diagnosis I have had in the past, and his guess seems as arbitrary as the numerous guesses I've had from numerous psychiatrists I have seen, so no harm done.

He was impressed that I knew what each of my medications was for. It's worrying, he said, how many people don't. I'm the kind of person who always wants lots and lots of information. I can't imagine swallowing stuff daily without having researched it thoroughly, never mind not knowing what it was even prescribed for.

Someone in my family has been on antidepressants for 21 years, and she still has no idea that that's what they are. She obediently swallows them every night. I haven't had the heart to tell her, but I don't know if I should or not. She knows I looked it up, and she hasn't asked me for details. If she asked, I would definitely tell her, but as she hasn't... I dunno. The doctor tells her that they help her to feel better, and that she would feel much worse without them, so she should keep taking them. She's of a generation to not really challenge doctors.

As for me, I keep taking the pills. I'm reducing the odd one slowly, but I seem stuck on them for the time being at least.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Sheffield Cake Weirdness

One of my favourite blogs, when I want a giggle, is Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes go Horribly, Hilariously Wrong. So today, when I spotted these two gems in the same bakery window in Sheffield city centre, I had to sneak a couple of phone pics and share them.

First of all, is a penis cake. It's a cake of some boxer shorts, with a huge penis pointing upwards. Well, I can't think of anything else it could be. The blobby things on top of the penis are buttons, which backs up my theory. As a penis cake, it's very good I suppose. But is this the way to advertise your cake decorating expertise in the window of a shop on a main road?!



Who is Rachel? Did she really want a big penis cake??

Then, I looked down. Right below it, their sole other example of their skill, was a cake with a spelling mistake.

"Happy birthday Mummy Abiola, Elegance PersonifEId"


Perfect completion to the display, I think you'll agree!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI

The Catholic Church has contributed more than most to the oppression of women. Whether it's the deaths of women in childbirth and of HIV / AIDS due to their commitment to preventing safer sex, or covering up the abuse of girl and boy children and protecting the abusers, they have consistently chosen paths which keep women controlled and 'in their place'.

This is the church that ordered the excommunication of everyone involved in helping a 9 year old girl, who was pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather, to have an abortion. The church actively tried to prevent the termination, and when it failed it ordered that the child's mother and the doctors involved be excommunicated. (Not the step-father, tellingly).
"If the B52 bombers flying over Vietnam were dropping contraceptives, the American Catholic hierarchy would have condemned that in a minute, but they were dropping napalm"
-- James Carroll

The Pope has also been in the news this week for speaking out against the UK government's equality policies, which would have required churches to stop discriminating against LGBT people. This is a man who, when he speaks, people listen. Just think what he could use his voice for. He could protest poverty, he could condemn domestic violence. But no, he speaks out against equality.

Later this year, the Pope is planning a visit to Britain. Not only do I not want him here, I was really disgusted to hear that the £20 million cost of his visit will be paid for by public money. Just think how many Rape Crisis centres could be funded by that money!

The National Secular Society have started a petition to ask the Catholic Church itself to pay for the visit. As I write, it has 17,457 signatures, one of which is mine.

The Catholic Church, contrary to the guidance of many passages of the Bible, is a very rich institution. If this man, who played a leading role in a systematic cover-up of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests, wants to come here, let him pay for it himself.

(cross-posted at the f word)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Rape Victims Blamed Again

Virginia Wood has a really interesting post on her blog about yet another form of blaming women for being raped.

This time it isn't what she was wearing, what she had drunk, or her fantasies, but is actually her own history of trauma and her lack of awareness of her surroundings.

Many women have a history of trauma, and I can't imagine there are any who are constantly aware of everything that's going on around her. Neither of these make it her own fault if she is raped.

Similarly, even if you are aware of your surroundings and don't 'freeze' when attacked, that is not necessarily enough to prevent rape. Virginia gives certain examples,
Maybe it was a "blitz attack", which of course by definition would mean she wouldn't have known she was even being attacked until she was already down. Or maybe her rapist had a weapon: I have to ask--do men really believe that a martial artist can kick a gun out of an attacker's hand like good ol' Chuck Norris on the teevee? And then there's the rapist who comes in through the bathroom window in the middle of the night and has you under his control before you even wake up. Now how you gonna karate-kick his ass outta bed with your legs all tangled up in the kivvers? And then there was the woman I knew whose attacker told her if she cooperated, he wouldn't harm the children sleeping in the next room: All the martial arts training in the world won't trump that one.


Let us note that one in every six women in the U.S. will be assaulted in her lifetime. Maybe it's just me, but I think that's frequent enough to suggest that we are not, in fact, in control of our own destinies--at least not when it comes to rape. Indeed, that kind of thinking sounds to me like a form of privilege: The not-raped can believe they did/do something to earn/deserve that status ("I kicked the shit out of him!" or "I'm always aware of my surroundings." Always? Really?). That kind of thinking allows the not-raped to feel safe and secure in the fantasy that "it will never happen to me" and to look down on victim/survivors as people who screwed up somehow.

Victim-blaming, even in this guise of scientific research, is rife. Somebody, somewhere is missing the fact that the person to blame for a woman being raped is the rapist. Always.

When I was at sixth-form college, two police officers came in to give us a talk about safety. The boys were sent to one room with a male police officer, to receive a talk about driving safely. The girls were sent to another room with a woman officer, to receive a talk about rape prevention.

Quite why the girls didn't need to be given the same advice about safe driving was bewildering, but the weirdest thing was it was the girls being told how to prevent rape rather than the boys.

In that talk, we were told that 2 out of 3 rapes could have been prevented (by the victim). How's that for victim-blaming? Imagine how that felt for rape survivors in that room! Being told by a cop that really they should have been able to do something about it was humiliating and vicious.

And what's more, 3 out of 3 rapes could have been prevented - BY THE RAPIST NOT RAPING THEM. That is where the blame needs to be laid. Every rape that ever occurs could have not happened, if the perpetrator chose not to do it.

That is the point. Men can stop rape. They have to.

(cross-posted at The F Word)