The Day #MeToo Arrived

October 17, 2017


I’ve been commenting, reading, thinking, remembering, trying to forget, offering ideas, support, thinking, thinking and thinking. Life is a crazy jumble of things both good and bad, and current thing is one that I feel I have to get a handle on, so I can reach out and take a strong hold on myself, and my own story.

When I feel like I have to properly understand who I feel about something, often poetry is my easiest and best way to do it. So today, as things are swirling around on Facebook, Twitter and inside my head, I have written a poem. I’m not saying this is a fantastic poem, but I hope people reading it may get a bit of an idea on what my thoughts have been, and where they may be taking me.

So, this is the new poem, please read it and think on the things that may have gone into the writing of it. Anger rather than shame is the emotion that made me write it. I didn’t deserve the bad things that have happened to me, and if you’re a woman or an abused vulnerable boy or man, you probably didn’t deserve it either.

 

Me Too – Some of My Ideas

 

When I was young and felt his tongue

Pushing down my throat

I didn’t like it, no not at all

That stupid randy old goat

 

The ‘he’ here covers many men

From family to friends and more

Born a girl, it does with the turf

But I didn’t know what was in store …

 

I don’t know names of all the men

Who’ve invaded my personal space

I’ve tried to forget the details too

To disappear without a trace …

 

But yesterday ‘Me Too’ arrived

And I realised anger’s an emotion too

I’ve decided to ditch the word ashamed

And hope my sistas can too

 

We didn’t ask to be assaulted,

Felt up, abused or raped

Having tits and a vagina though

It’s how our life journey is shaped …

 

© Carolyn Cordon 2017

 

 

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No matter your gender or sexuality, Feminism matters. Woman, man, child, hetero, gay in between or over the edges, it is all relevant, and feminism is involved in them all. Where the power is, determines where the money is. In this time, the people with the power are still mostly white men is suits, usually at least publicly straight.

If you’re not of their cohort, you aren’t going to get the some money they’re getting. The gap between worker and boss, privileged and underprivileged grows ever wider, and the number of people clamping down on those who have little, grows. The ‘haves’ have more and more and more and the ‘have-not’s have less and less and less …The media often portrays the latter group as losers who should do more, while they may like to do more, but don’t have the skills and/or money to actually do it.

When one of the groups is women who have not, you know that Feminism still has a long way to go. Yes, there are now female CEOs of companies, and female politicians in the world, but the numbers are still massively low compared to males in the same roles. And please don’t tell be the men are better qualified than the women! When you see the huge messes man have done to people and to the world, you can see many men with their ‘qualifications’ weren’t worth a thing …

Women work fewer paid hours than men, but many more unpaid hours.  Parenting should be a shared occupation in a two parent family, but figures show that even in a household with the female parent working full time and the male parent not working, the female parent still does a lot of ‘parenting’, while if the genders are reversed, the male parent does barely any actual parenting in comparison to what the female parent would have done.

picture jen 013_edited

 

While these inequalities continue, you know that Feminists still have much work to do. Governments still have work to do, the people all have much more work to do. Women can do almost every job men can do, men can do almost every job women can do – why is that large gap between what the genders earn? Sexism may not be the only reason, but you can’t convince me it isn’t a major reason.

And this gap between the power levels between men and women is nothing compared to the healthy well off people and disabled people. Those ‘lucky’ enough to be eligible for the Disability Support pension get some assistance, and some are able to get paid work, but the situation can still be very bleak for many. When you add in vulnerable children and domestic violence, the scene becomes even bleaker.

Feminism, Ageism, Racism, Sexism, Abilitism, will those who claim to run this country do much to help with all of these problems? Or will it be left to the good people who get derided for being ‘Do-gooders’, as if doing good things for others is a bad thing. I am proud to do good things for people when I can. How about you? Are you also a proud Do-gooder?


How much damage? Any damage done to a vulnerable is too much damage. People make excuses, accuse children of things beyond their comprehension. Any sexual comment or action made by an adult to a child is far too much. Are their any exceptions? Only few, and only in certain circumstances.

A police officer asking a child things to ascertain the details of possible sexual abuse, if done appropriately, that’s understandable, as long as the officer is careful. A school teacher or other such adult in the same circumstances, yes, with appropriate parental presence if suitable.

There are probably other exceptions, but thinking too much along these lines is feeling like I’m heading down dangerous paths … The main thing is always to keep in mind that children are children. They are not mini-adults, no matter how they look or what they say. And also remember that some children, may have been groomed, made ready for an adult to perform unspeakable acts.

Never name a child as a slut, or say that they ‘deserved’ it. No child or otherwise vulnerable person deserves to be abused, sexually, emotionally or physically. And getting into the ‘game’ of “my abuse was more damaging than your abuse” is a pointless and offensive thing. Every person is a unique person, with different abilities, strengths and life experience.

What one person can cope with may be more that what you could cope with perhaps – that doesn’t mean their abuse was lesser than yours, and it doesn’t mean their actually OK – they may be hiding horrendous damage and are only just able to maintain the look of coping, and the veneer could crack at any time. Take care, for yourself and for other people, always. Never assume coping is a permanent thing.

Memories can reach up and bite you from many years in your past. Taking care, talking with others who truly understand, or who are willing to listen to try to understand, these are tools to help to keep those memories under control, but you just never know. Sexual abuse can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and can go on for the survivor’s entire life, if not treated properly …

This is the website for a well respected group who can help :- Blue Knot


Although the things that caused me hurt in my childhood are not directly relevant to the political hoo haa that’s eating up Twitter at the moment (Jamie Briggs – MP going way too far), the general idea of those in power doing the wrong thing to someone they have power over, is the same. The reason for the lapses in life’s niceties was the same – drunkenness. That wasn’t an excuse when I was a child, and it isn’t now. Drinking too much is a choice made by a person. No-one forced my abuser to drink too much and abuse me. He chose to get drunk, and did it.

No-one in these circumstances was forced to drink too much. There was the option to behave well instead of behaving like an animal. That option should always be the one adhered to especially when you are in a position of power over the one you are dealing with. And with sexual advances, overt acceptance is always required. If the other person isn’t obviously open to your advances, forget about it.

In my poetry collection “damaged children, Precious Gems”, I have a poem that looked at some of these themes. It is from the “Teenage Years” section of the collection, and the relevant poem is titled ‘bragging rights’, and it talks about the difference between how males and females are referred to by their peers where sex is concerned. The young men are heroes with their mates, the young women are labelled sluts by those same young men. Here are the relevant lines:

there’s a line between hero

and slut. It’s a fine line, a very fine line

and it’s gender specific

 

It certainly looks like the ‘hero’ label was placed on or sought by Briggs, in this instance, and I wonder whether the woman would have been labelled slut if the woman had done the same thing. Either way, it was inappropriate behaviour, and the most appropriate label for Briggs over this would be ‘zero not hero’. Let your brain do your thinking, and things will go much better. Dicks aren’t known for their thinking powers.

When I was a teenager, girls who ‘put out’ were labeled like this, and now, many years later they still are labeled in this way. The boys are heroes if they have a conquest, the girls sluts, and the issue of consent is largely irrelevant to some in society. Victim blaming is rampart, and abuse is ignored is down-played as ‘bad behaviour’.

This seems wrong to me, and is wrong in the law. Why are such things accepted by so many people? Is our society really that ignorant that sexual abuse can be accepted as ‘boys being boys’ and so is OK? I don’t think it is, and I think it should be treated as what it is, sexual abuse.

Thoughts from others on this matter are welcome, as always.


For 2015 I resolve to do all I can to help to stop the damage that is done to so many children, by others who abuse them. This is usually, but not always, done by adults, who most certainly should be the people nurturing and protecting children from harm.

Children will experiment, yes, but they should not be ‘initiated’ into such things by others with sordid reasons for their illegal actions. Children should be allowed to grow, unharmed to become the best people they can become, with no bad things being done to them to make them doubt their own worth.

I realise this is a huge job to do, but little by little, if more and more people foster similar resolutions, the good things done, can far outweigh the bad.

I know there are other people who have ideas like mine, and who are working hard to help children to get over the abuse they have experienced. One such group is this one. The Bravehearts group does much in many states, and a new group in South Australia is helping them, by raising money for Bravehearts so they can continue their good work.

I dream of a future where no child suffers, and all are allowed to be children, and only move toward adulthood unchallenged by sordid adult desires.

 


One of the reasons I wanted to publish this poetry collection, exploring my journey from victim to survivor, was to help others who have been abused like this. Sexual abuse is such a terrible and private thing, it is difficult to be able to speak out about it. I have found talking about it still helps me, even though the abuse happened many years ago.

I love to share my book with others, and to get responses back. Knowing my poetry has helped someone else, truly warms my heart and lets me know I’ve done a good thing. The most recent person who has my book is a woman who does foster care. I certainly hope my words will give hope to her and to the child/children she has in her life.

The life of a child who thinks no-one else could ever understand what they’re going through, or have gone through in the past can be so limiting. But when the harm can be talked about, it can let others know there are people there who really do understand what you’ve suffered. In numbers there is a kind of strength.

Sharing my poetry, and having it read by people who are healed in the sharing – that’s a wonderful reason to keep on writing, and to be willing to share personal things, this isn’t easy, but the honesty of it is the way to help. If I had never been able to face what happened to me, it may well have never have left me. I may well still be a victim of child sexual abuse, instead of being a survivor.


People write poetry for many different reasons, and they put together collections of their poems for many different reasons too. When I first began collecting and writing for my first poetry collection, I didn’t realise how diverse my reasons really were…

I thought putting a collection together was just a natural progression for a poet. I knew other poets with collections out and I wanted to join the crew. There was more to it than that though. My collection has a theme, an important theme, and that theme was child abuse. It’s not a cheerful subject, but it’s one I certainly know a bit about.

My poetry collection shows my journey from being the victim of child abuse to being a survivor from child abuse. It includes many poems showing the ways I’ve been thinking about the subject over the many years in between my stages.

So, one of my reasons for putting the collection together was to show my journey. Another reason was simply to help myself come to terms with the abuse and the way it affected my life. A further reason was to hep to heal myself. I certainly found the whole process therapeutic.

A final reason though is this one – I didn’t realise it at the time, but this is a book that has helped other people who’ve been sexually abused. Knowing one is not alone and that other people really do understand what you’ve suffered from is such a good feeling. If you’re not alone, you can begin to fight back, if only fighting back against your own thoughts.

A friend spoke to me recently and she thanked me for my poetry collection. It meant much to her and she was able to finally put some demons away. Learning these things gives me such a good feeling. I’m a survivor now, not a victim, and with my words, I know I’ve helped others to become survivors too.


I just found this article when it was posted on Facebook. It makes my heart ache to read these words. I know this girl’s story, I lived it, in part, I’m so lucky that I have and had good family who cared for me, and helped me to grow the resilience I’ve needed to continue to grow emotionally.

So many children suffer at the hands of so many adults, who are quick to point the finger of blame at the ones they should have been protecting. When society joins this finger pointing at the victims, the children, what hope is there?

Please, read the article and consider the words. Children are children, no matter how adult they may appear. Be a responsible adult and consider the best needs of the children…

How Can These Things Happen?

September 29, 2012


The idea that people in charge of the safety of children can be paedophiles fills me with horror. There should always be ways to make sure things like happened in this case never happen.

In an ideal world this would never happen, but every day one sees things that prove this is far from being a perfect world…

 


When I ordered 100 copies of my poetry collection, that deals with my story of sexual abuse and other related issues, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find enough people who wanted a copy of the book.

When you self-publish your own book, you take on the responsibility for selling and or giving away the copies, so you don’t get stuck with boxes of books taking up space in your home. When I took possession of the first lot of books, I was pumped up ready to sell my book, and eager to talk to people about my story. I stayed that way throughout the year since the book first came out. I had a book launch, talked to people and found new homes for the books. Then a couple of months ago I checked my stocks of books left, and realised I only had a handful of copies left.

That’s when I decided it was time to bite the bullet and order another print run! Exciting stuff, and I’ll be looking for opportunities to talk with people about sex abuse. In a caring way, of course. There are so many people, both men and women, who have been holding onto stories of shame. When you think you’re the only ‘bad’ person this has happened to, it’s a terrible thing. But there are so many of us, all with our own secrets, that are eating into our happiness, leaving shame and despair.

I’m sharing my story, because I want people to know they’re not alone, and that there are people who know how it can be. Knowing you’re not the only one, and that it wasn’t your fault, can bring some inner peace to you. I found my inner peace by sharing my story, and I hope others can do the same.

My dream is to run creative writing workshops with people who have been hurt by these terrible things. I’m not a counsellor, but I’m a writer who knows how to listen with empathy.