Category Archives: sexual abuse

Guest post: Rape – a mother’s perspective

Rape has been in the news, in the air a lot these past months. Events that previously would have been over-looked and ignored by the mainstream media, are now receiving the full coverage, and righteous anger they deserve. The following post was written by a mother following a particularly shocking case in the US, where many in the media and justice system tried to excuse the behaviour of the rapists.

OOO

Becoming a mother changed a lot of things for me. I am now responsible for the well-being of a most precious being of light and love. Becoming a mother has made me examine everything I do, I say, I believe. In wanting my daughter to experience and to be kind, compassionate and empathetic, I have become more so. I see and experience the world through different eyes and skin now – hers. While I had become immune to, hardened and accepting of many things in life for myself, this is not the case when it comes to her.

Which is why I have been at a complete loss for words for the steady stream of reports of rape from all over the world. But now I have to find the words to name this despair, outrage, and pain.

Every single person that is raped is a human being. Women, men, boys, girls, heterosexual, homosexual, transgendered, and everyone in between. In being raped, each of them become dehumanized, debased, violated, scared, devalued. Each of them is someone’s child.

The prevalence and acceptance of rape is a our failing as humans, as parents, as community and society. Nobody deserves to be violated because of their gender, their race, their economic status, their behavior, the way the dress, their mistakes. No one is entitled to violate another human being. And how did we collectively learn to simply stand by and watch such acts of violence happen in front of our eyes ?

What can I do? I can teach my daughter that she is to be honored and respected by treating her with honor and respect and expecting the same for myself. Fortunately, she will learn that men respect and honor women, because her father does so with his wife, and child. And we treat all those around us with respect and kindness and empathy. It may not be the “real world” but this is the world that I want for us … for us all. And I do believe, each little step makes a difference.

OOO

lavinaLavina Faleiro: mother, wife, yogini, yoga teacher/therapist (pre-/post-natal, kids/family, womb), scientist, dancer; one foot in Bahrain, heart in Ireland; joy in heart, song on lips, smile in eyes; dreams in head; love in fingertips.

Facebook Page: Maharani Yoga Therapy
Website: www.Maharaniyoga.com

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Your father’s whore

These are the words that sadden me most. In a case this week that makes my blood boil.

A father has been accused of, pleaded guilty to and convicted of raping his daughter for 10 years, here in Ireland. From when she was 8-18. Once a week.

Stop. Feel that in your bones. In your gut.

How can this be allowed to happen: in a child’s home, every week, for ten years? Those words, “your father’s whore” were her own mother’s, who knew, and let it continue.

Stop. Hear those words again.

Given 12 years, he walks free because of a heart condition. The judge said that “other factors were his guilty pleas, expression of remorse, good behaviour, history of employment and the length of time since the offences. Based on these factors he suspended the final nine years.”

Good f**king behaviour! Is raping your daughter for 10 years indicative of “good behaviour?” So he was a great man at his job, whoopee! That makes it alright then! We are talking about a man who systematically abused his child, walking free. It is as though the judge has heard, but not listened. Observed, but not felt. Seen, but not witnessed – neither the despicable damage caused to one woman, nor the bigger picture of abuser and abuse. (See this Irish Times article highlighting the leniency of sentencing for sex crimes http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2013/0123/1224329189707.html)

And so the cycle continues.

This woman has been failed by her father, in a basic betrayal of his duty to protect his daughter from harm. By her mother. By family members who turned away. And now by the State.

Another life. Another woman. Stamped out. Disregarded.

HOW can this be acceptable?

Except it is.

This country has a long history of protecting the (usually older, “respectable”, male) abuser and leaving the (often young, vulnerable, often female) victims broken and alone, even when courts of law have proven their cases. The abuse by priests and in care homes was endemic here. But this country is not alone. The horrific case in India. The Jimmy Saville case in the UK. How much longer will this continue?

I stand here, for what it’s worth, and say, from the core of my being: This is NOT acceptable. Not acceptable to me on any level. Something has to change. We have to move our culture from one that is blind and in denial, to one that truly witness and provides justice, which has a level of intolerance for persistent offenders, deep support and love for those who have been hurt, and a culture which cherishes its children and women. Which protects them.

A culture which loves them enough in the first place to not even conceive of abusing, humiliating, and using them.

I have two practical ways that you can help to make this happen.

There are two marches in support of Fiona this Saturday, according to the Irish Times. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2013/0123/breaking60.html

And on a larger scale – this is a piece in a global puzzle – that of the systematic rape, abuse and violence against women around the world, which is why I am supporting the 1 Billion Rising event on 14th February, organised by Eve Ensler of The Vagina Monologues. http://onebillionrising.org/

This worldwide rally is calling women and girls and men and boys to stand up, speak out against violence against women, and dance. Dance their anger, their beauty, their vulnerability. Dance together and alone. Dance for change.

Because something has to change. And we need to make a stand for it.

How are YOU making a difference? How are YOU standing for change?

Post script – BREAKING NEWS

A little improvement has just been announced in the case of the woman feature in today’s post. Her father’s bail has been suspended and he must serve three years. THREE YEARS??!!! And because of the public outrage.

“The bail of Patrick O’Brien – who was convicted of raping his daughter Fiona Doyle over a 10-year period – has been revoked by Mr Justice Paul Carney.

The sentencing judge today admitted he was wrong and insensitive to let the 72-year-old walk free from Dublin’s Central Criminal Court on Monday. O’Brien’s jail term, including nine years suspended, starts now, the judge ruled.

He apologised today to Ms Doyle, who had waived her right to anonymity. He said he had no hesitation in expressing his “profound regret” for the distress caused to her in this case.” Irish Times

A call to action: girls in need…

I was recently reading Naomi Wolf’s Vagina: a new biography and she shares research in it which proves that sexual abuse is not “just” done to the body. It is the ultimate way to destroy a woman’s sense of self and sacredness. Because of the connection between yoni, spinal nerves and brain, an attack on the vagina literally closes down feminine consciousness.

My biggest fear as a woman, as a mother of daughters is the possibility of my sex, my sexuality being raped or abused. Not just for the moment that it happens, but for the life long consequences of it. It is our biggest vulnerability as women, and one that has been ruthlessly used globally throughout history to punish women, keep them small, keep them silent, shamed, alone, indentured.

I was contacted today by More Than Me, an education and girls’ empowerment non-profit that gets little girls off the street and into school in one of the world’s most dangerous slums in the world in Liberia, West Africa. They work with community leaders to identify the girls who are at the highest risk of being sexually exploited to ensure that education and opportunity, not exploitation and poverty, defines their lives. They pay tuition, provide school lunch and work with the school and community to make it impossible for her to fail.

 

They have been shortlisted for a $1 million prize and need our votes. Their work is in total alignment with my aims at The Happy Womb, and I ask you all to take 15 seconds out of your day to support their campaign, so that they are financially assisted in helping empower many more girls who need support, love and safety and have nowhere else to turn to for it.

Educating one girl changes, well, everything. Here’s why:

One of the girls they are currently helping is Abigale.

My name is Abigail.

I’m 13-years-old. I live in West Point, Liberia. I don’t know my parents… I was left with prostitutes when I was six-years-old. They took care of me, but life was hard. Often, I didn’t have a place to sleep or food to eat. I never went to school. And I would often sleep at a video club so men could find me and then “rent” me for the night. I was abused, both in my mind and body. I didn’t feel loved.

When I met the people at More Than Me, my life changed. I have a new home now and food to eat. I’m in school now. I’m happy now. I feel like I have a future now. I feel loved. I’ve learned how to bake, which helps me earn extra money.

Please help vote for me so I can continue in this new life and stay in school. Your vote is my future. I’ll do anything to show you that I’ll do my best in school and become something with my life.

Love,

Abigail

Please, take 15 seconds to make the lives of these girls a bit better by doing two very simple and extremely meaningful things: VOTE NOW through Dec. 4 for Abigail and girls like her at voteabigail.org and… then share it with others.