Tuesday, February 28, 2012

why don't we talk about it?

i had a miscarriage last week. i was only 3 weeks pregnant, but i knew i was pregnant and i was thrilled. and then i started to bleed. and it was over.

i'm ok. i was ok, it wasn't so bad. thankfully, it happened early. i'm heart broken though. i had started to identify as pregnant, and when i wasn't anymore, i felt lost.

since it happened, i've found it hard to talk about. whenever i have told people, it has been sad and shocking and i had been left feeling exposed, vulnerable. i also felt that talking about it dishonored the experience - how could i give weight to it through words? 'i had a miscarriage'. and then what? what can be said?

i've told 4 people (apart from my partner) and each of them whelled up, touched my shoulder, and slightly shook their head. what can they say? i don't know, and nor do they.

it's just not something we talk about. it's deeply personal, upsetting, painful, devastating. pregnancy loss. loss of hope, joy, future.

my daughter is 3 and i want her to have a sibling. she'll be a beautiful sister. she's kind, empathetic, funny, cool, clever. she asked me yesterday if i have a baby in my belly. i said 'no, sweety, i don't'. and then i wanted to say 'i'm sorry', because i feel like something was taken away from her last week.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I have donated a tiny amount of money to World Vision for a few years, but yesterday i changed my mind. i received a letter in the mail suggesting i buy a goat, cow, chicken or other animal for a community. surely an organisation as large and influential as world vision understands how profoundly problematic it is to farm animals. the amount of food that is fed to animals throughout the world for meat and dairy production is largely to blame for the poverty in the world. If we stopped intensively breeding farmed animals and grew crops to feed humans instead, we could easily feed everyone on the planet with healthy and affordable vegan food. I will not use my money to fund the use and abuse of animals. Regards, Ada Conroy

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

more thoughts on slutwalk

slutwalk is an essentially 'postfeminist' event, masquerading as a revolution. and men must be rejoicing in it, the same way they rejoice when women take pole dancing classes or stick a playboy bunny sticker on their car. it's raunch culture embedding itself, disguising itself as empowerment. and women are lapping it up.

initially i thought it was all a bit of fun, whatever. sure, reclaiming the word 'slut' is a whole world of screwed up, but at least women are taking to the streets to stand against sexual assault. but is that what slutwalk is about? does it have an analysis of VAW and the misogynistic context that VAW and women's experiences of VAW exist? not as far as i can tell.

why has there been such a backlash against a comment some man made in canada several months ago, when all over the world, every second of the day women are being raped, are dying needlessly from pregnancy related complications and are being murdered by their intimate partner or family members? why this comment? partly, i think it's because postfeminism is palatable and mainstream and this sort of action gets attention.

what offends me about slutwalk

slutwalk has become a phenomenon and i am horrified. let me tell you why.

most rapes against us occur in our own home. they are perpetrated by people who we know, by our boyfriends, our fathers, our husbands, our uncles, friends, dates, acquaintances. they have nothing to do with what we are wearing - feminists have fought for years to have that fact made clear. and it is clear. it is clear that what we look like, what we wear has nothing to do with whether or not we are raped. if it did, we could just wear some different clothes and we'll all be safe. which of course is a crazy concept. women are raped whether they wear a burqa or a bikini. it is not because we are sluts, it's because we are women.

the word 'slut' is triggering for women who have been sexually assaulted - it is a word used to degrade and humiliate us. it is not one that we should make our own. yes, i have been raped and i do not support slutwalk. slutwalk has missed the point of women's experiences of violence. rape is violent and painful and it destroys lives. taking our clothes off in public and proudly declaring we are sluts is NOT empowering, it does not remove any of the pain of the violence perpetrated against us. it makes it worse. it makes a mockery of our pain. we are not sluts. we are women, mothers, daughters. we are not sluts. stop calling us that.

slutwalk is a post feminist event. it is an event that assumes there is no patriarchal context that slutwalk exists within. the word 'slut' is hateful and violent and has never belonged to us. 'slut' belongs to rapists and misogynists and pornographers. there is no subversion in this. this action is not a threat. do you think taking your clothes off is going to change anything? it's not. it will draw attention to you as a sexual being, not as a full human woman with rights and dreams and hopes and ambitions and achievements. this is a post feminist event in a patriarchal context and it makes me feel that the rapists have won. you think you have to take your clothes off to get noticed? well, in the context of patriarchy you do. dismantle the patriarchy by challenging it. don't embed yourself in it.

y sexuality belongs to me and i refuse for it to be labelled with such a hateful term.

and please stop calling me a slut.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Defending the rights of men, denying the voices of women.

Since the arrest of Julian Assange last week, there has been a lot of discussion about several important issues. Some of this discussion has been amazing, but some of it has been really disturbing. I spent a few days reading a variety of blogs, articles and opinion pieces on the issues and even after all that research, I was still unclear as to what was really going on. What I was sure of is that a great many people are confused. They seem to believe that defending Assange is akin to defending free speech. But the complication here is that they’re defending someone who has been charged with several counts of sexual assault. So if they believe that these allegations are a plot to have him extradited to the USA, they are ignoring a very important factor: the women who accused him of sexually assaulting them are real women who he did indeed have sex with. If we instantly assume he is innocent, we by default assume these women are making false allegations and that they are tools of the state. The problem with this is that feminists have been working really hard for several generations to have our voices heard, to be believed when we disclose that we have been assaulted, and to have the criminal justice system take appropriate action. I thought we were getting there, but after this, I realise that I’m wrong.

There are several issues at play here:
that two women have made statements to the police that they had sex with Assange, and that he did things during sex that they did not consent to (eg: he didn’t use a condom, did not stop having sex when he was asked, and used his body weight to hold one woman down when she tried to get up). These allegations are serious criminal offences in a country that has relatively progressive rape laws. This isn’t about not using a condom, like so many have assumed. It’s about not using a condom without consent. See the difference?
that several countries were hoping that they would catch up with Assange at some point to hold him accountable for holding governments accountable. It could have been anything that eventually got him arrested. But it was this.
Assange is not Wikileaks. Wikileaks should be defended, that is without question. Governments and big business should be held accountable, but Assange is not Wikileaks. Wikileaks existed before him, and it will continue without him. Let’s not drag these women through hell to defend freedom of speech.

Let’s not silence all victims of sexual assault in order to defend freedom of speech.

If we assume these women are making false allegations, we call into question all women who make allegations.

Driving home from work last week, after thinking of nothing else but this for 8 hours, I tried to figure out why this was affecting me so. Why had I trawled through what seemed like an endless blogosphere, feeling so infuriated and alienated that I didn’t even take my lunch break? I’ll tell you why. Because I was sexually assaulted in the same way that these women were. I had agreed to sex, but then I changed my mind. I withdrew consent. I asked him to stop but he didn’t. He raped me. He knew I said stop, and he intentionally continued. And you know what? I didn’t do anything about it because he was my boyfriend and how could I possibly prove it? I was young, and I had no idea where to go. I eventually did speak up – publicly in fact. And whilst some people were supportive, others weren’t. One person even said ‘I don’t believe that someone like you would let themselves be raped’. So this, with Assange, this is personal. This is about me as much as it is about these two women in Sweden.

The stuff with Assange has triggered me in a way that even working with survivors for 10 years hasn’t. It has silenced me, it has alienated me, it has terrified me and it has set woman back years. So many rape myths are being perpetuated, people are making jokes about ‘rape parties,’ ‘feminist rape victims’ and ‘CIA ties’. It’s crazy. It’s indefensible. What message are we sending to women and girls who have been assaulted? Why do people think it’s ok to joke about rape, to belittle these women’s experiences and to assume they’re lying? Why are we victim blaming?

What I hope we get out of this, at the very least, is some further understanding about consent. Women know that rape is not always about force, but it is always about consent. 1 in 3 women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime, most of us by people we know. These women knew Assange and had consented to sex with him. When that consent was withdrawn, the sex should have ended. The very second it didn’t, it was rape. This is not a complex concept by any stretch. Sex without consent is a crime. Let’s not make light of it, ever.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

make me a mix tape

when i met you i had just returned home, and was getting ready to leave again. we didn't actually meet, but i saw you. and you saw me and we smiled.

so i made you a mix tape and sent you an email and asked for you to make me one too.

our tapes were almost the same so we had coffee. too much coffee. and you made me nervous.

i miss that about us - the cute smiles and shy conversations. these days it's all 'did you get nappies?'

it's been almost 5 years and our daughter is almost 2 and it's been hard but mostly it's been funny and i still love you.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

punks should only date punks

we met at a gig, but i'd seen her around. i had a girlfriend, aly, but things weren't going well with her at all. one night, i was out with her and kristen was staring at me from across the bar. she wouldn't look away. for an hour, just staring. she made a bee line for me and introduced herself;
'hi, i'm kristen'
'oh...i'm ada'
'i've seen you around'
i felt very uncool.

that night lasted for years. she paid a lot of attention to me. told me my name's hot. she was winning me over, which sucked. i just wanted to be in my crap relationship and deal with all the problems that that presented. i didn't have the energy to be attracted to someone else.

aly and i ended up in a terrible fight and i drove home at sunrise, furious and hurt.

kristen and i had a lot of email contact over the next few days. she asked me "so that girl you were with at ding dong, was she....your girlfriend?". i didn't want to answer. i didn't want to stop playing this game. it was fun. and kristen was awesome.

i had made aly a mix tape for her to take with her on a trip to pakistan a few months earlier. she had retaped it, deleting the songs she didn't like. not cool. she had no respect or knowledge of punk culture at all. she didn't care to learn. kristen though...she knew what the mix tape meant. and she'd already made me one.