Monday, 31 August 2015

Financial Violence in abusive relationships.

A friend of mine has been divorced for over 10 years from a man who terrorised her from the day they married.

He still makes her life hell and they have very little contact.

This is what he has left to break her with....Money. He has it. She does not. He withholds what she should have. She suffers. He gets his rocks off. He withholds money for his children. His children suffer. He gets his rocks off. Every year she endures a life of austerity imposed by him and compounded by George Osborne ...he gets richer and he gets his rocks off. He still owns a stake in her house... which he will eventually demand and effectively make her homeless because she cannot afford to buy him out. No doubt even then he will find a way to continue his abuse.

She didn't know what financial violence was. It is a key feature of many domestically violent and/or abusive relationships. These are some of the forms it can take. (Before a Twitter shitstorm blows in...I'm no expert. I have pieced this together from listening to women and from experience ... feel free to offer criticism and amend or write a response piece... as long as we discuss this and let women know it happens...?)

1. Controlling money within the relationship. Saying what can and can't be bought. Dominating accounts. Preventing the woman from having access to her own money or any joint funds. Criticising any purchases she does make. Making her feel guilty for any spending.

2. Preventing a woman from working and earning her own finances or taking those finances once they are earned.

3. Spending joint finances frivolously in order to keep the family ... in particular the woman... poor and unable to leave. Sometimes deliberately accruing debts.

4. Making the woman feel totally dependent - particularly if he works. If she is at home raising children he will make her feel economically worthless. If she works but earns less he will make her feel economically worthless. Making a woman feel economically worthless makes her terrified too... especially if she has children. It's effective.

5. If a woman tries to work in order to find funds to escape the abusive marriage he may sabotage this.. saying she does not need to work or physically preventing her. Damaging an abused woman's prospects is easy if you physically/mentally harm her so that work is nearly impossible in any kind of capable way.

6. Emotional abuse before and after and even during working hours is common. A phone call or well-placed text can reduce a competent working woman to her knees at an opportune moment. Over time.. this will impact on her career or end it. Many women struggle to work whilst in an abusive relationship for this reason. Physical abuse can obviously make a woman unfit to attend work.

7. Education.... preventing a woman from educating herself in order to gain employment or gain better that she can escape an abusive relationship. (Often linked with telling her she is too stupid to succeed of course)

8. Rape and coercive sex - rendering a woman unfit for work and the ability to work keep her from financial independence by sexually abusing and manipulating her.

9. When a woman considers leaving she must consider the following.... she may need to leave in a hurry and with nothing other than her children, important documents and a few belongings she can carry. She is leaving into a very frightening unknown often and it is usually when she feels least strong and she is most under threat.

She should never be judged for staying. Never. She should never be judged if she goes back. Ever.

When a woman considers this terrifying end prospect at the possible exit of an abusive relationship she has had to look at the very dark future. She has had to look round at what material comforts she and her children have and know that they will be gone. Some of the things she loves will be gone. Some of the things that have on occasion been the only things grounding her will be gone. She realises that when she leaves she will have to fend for herself and as an abused woman she has been taught by him that she is not able to cope or fend for herself. She fears poverty. She fears homelessness. She fears mental health problems. She fears everything about a life on her own. She may also feel angry. Why should she give up her established life and all she has worked for and lived through and endured. It is hers as much as his. She feels angry for her children and she feels guilty. Why should they have less? Should she disadvantage them? Is it right for her to do so? Remember she is not always convinced that she is abused since he tells her she is not and that she is to blame for his treatment of her. She is selfish if she leaves ...he has assured her of this. She possibly also still loves him and fears a life on her own because she might be lonely (this one will definitely pass the fastest sisters).

She may be the one with money. He will threaten to take it from her if she leaves. Possibly by taking the children and lying about her to obtain custody. The threats themselves are the essence of the financial violence. She may not be reduced to the poverty of many women exiting violent relationships but the financial threats are still the element of abuse that harm her. The terror of a financially violent threat crosses class boundaries and bank account levels.

Women suffering any of this. You are not selfish. You are not guilty. You are not on your own. You are not mad or horrible or unlovable or worthless or stupid or weak or any of the things he is saying.

This is how it works for women. Having children makes you economically weak. Emotionally wealthy often... but economically weak. Abusive men know this. They use it to their advantage at all points in their abuse. Know that when you feel scared it is not because there are things to fear without him but because there are things you fear because of him.

10. Once a woman leaves... he has lost some power. He may still be able to threaten her physically and he will certainly do it mentally - those scars may never heal and are easily opened into fresh wounds. Financial violence for these men is never ending potentially. If there is any reliance on funds from an abusive man....and clearly if a woman has had his children then this is the case.... then he still has a route to abusive power over her.

He can manipulate what he gives her; how he gives it to her and when. She no longer has the automatic support of the CSA thanks to the Conservative government. She must pay to access this or go through some sort of "mediation" and "agreement" process..... terms which make an abused woman either snort in derision or scream in terror depending on how long since they exited the relationship. This is handing access to the abused woman back over to an abusive man. It is cruel and it is wrong and it is never in her favour. If she refuses this then she must pay for the privilege of using the CSA service.

This can happen many times over whenever he decides to behave poorly over payments. He will probably do this often. A man who enjoys power.... why on Earth would he NOT do this to harm a woman he can no longer harm in other ways?

11. He may use any opportunity he can to make threats to leave her financially vulnerable. He may lose his job, he may hide funds, he will do anything in his power to take money away that he knows she needs or will randomly threaten to do so.

12. When things get legal .... he will make continuous threats. A woman who has believed his financial ability (and he will have convinced her she is not good with finances) will believe the threats. She may settle for less than she should. She may be convinced there is nothing to have. Or that she is not entitled it. She is still frightened and still unsure of her own ability and thoughts and even needs.

So...... this all looks very bleak. I have left a lot out. I have looked at this and thought.... shit that makes it all sound really impossible. I must put a positive spin on this. I must somehow tell women it will be alright eventually. But the reality is ....  leaving an abusive man is a financial nightmare. The potential for him to continue abusing her through financial means is terrifying.

Which is why.... when a woman leaves she needs real financial support. She needs legal help. Free. She needs somewhere to go and she needs somewhere that will help her get to the next step. Free. She needs a step back into the world of work or education or support if she can't. Free. She needs therapy. Free.

She needs a functional government service that ensures an abusive man behaves as he should financially and has heavy penalties - FOR HIM - if he does not. She needs a Government who will properly take the issue of male violence in ALL its forms more seriously and provide actual institutional, legal and financial assistance rather than rhetoric and empty promises.

She needs this government to stop shutting down anything that would help her. She needs a government that will step up and take her in not spit judgementally at her in every new policy proposal and piece of legislation and "austerity" move.

A woman told me last night that a man reduced her maintenance by the price of a tin of cat food a day when her cat died.

Think about that level of control.

I asked my friend from the beginning of this piece... "looking at how you you ever wish you'd stayed?" She smiled. "See this smile. It's all mine. Those children that are waiting for their dinner where we will laugh and chat and solve problems. Mine. Friends like you who come round and cheer me up. Mine. Some things he cannot take from me any more. It will be ok."

Best wishes,

JH x

N.B... a friend asked 'But is the term "violence" the correct term to use?' I think it is. I think the terror that ensues is the result of a deliberate attempt to harm a woman. Some of that harm is physical if her mental health is affected. It is physical if she endures poverty or vulnerability to attack if she becomes homeless. Going hungry is physical violence if inflicted upon her deliberately by the male perpetrator. It wouldn't be "violence" if it was a "result" of other violence. However, this is mostly a series of calculated and considered acts that the perpetrator knows (hopes) will deliberately hurt a woman. I therefore think the term "violence" is appropriate. "Financial Abuse" .... seems to encompass something more to do with the aspect of wealth/poverty than with the control, threats and intention of this particular aspect of domestic violence and abuse. Feel free to disagree.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Smarting about sexist ads.

Yesterday the Twitter user @God_loves_women posted an ad campaign she thought was by Essex County Council. These are the 2 pictures that made a lot of us angry...

It had to be pointed out immediately to a number of trolls just why these ads are sexist and why it is a problem. So... I apologise for stating the bloody obvious..... the ads tell a man that he is "smart" for disposing of litter. In turn they tell a woman that she is "pretty"... because those are the terms appropriate for each gender. Smart men, pretty women. These tired gender stereotypes belong to the 1950s and should be returned there promptly.

The campaign was part of "Love Essex" and initially women targeted Essex County Council to lodge objections. They were very quick to point those women elsewhere.... "It's not us it's THEM!"

"THEM" turned out to be Braintree District Council. They were quick to DM me and ask for an email address. They said they would respond promptly. They did. They shouldn't have bothered. Here it is....

So..... Keep Britain Tidy niftily identified that men who want to be smart and women who want to be pretty are the groups most likely to drop litter. Yes, I agree this is sounding more and more screwed as we go on. I was super buzzed at being told how awful litter is too. That was obviously all that needed explaining to me. Litter is really really bad, so if we demean and disempower women to make it stop happening .... well..... still no litter so "winning". *Smiley face*. There wasn't a smiley face but I imagined it in my head since the response was so overwhelmingly wank.

I told them so. (I didn't say 'wank' ...I said "flimsy" but I thought wank with all my heart.) They didn't reply back.

So who is responsible? Who wants to own up to this bag of shite and get it off the streets?

You cannot .. in 2015... put up ads which suggest that women's function and main desire is to be "pretty".  I was told it was "just words". Bullshit. It is a deliberate choice of word and it is in bold next to a woman in a short dress twirling her hair .... (classic flirtation move is implied....).. she is in full make-up and she is in a fairly demure pose. The man by contrast is in a suit... he is in a much stronger pose with his legs in a wide stance... he looks strong and confident. The woman meanwhile looks..... gentle and pretty. This is clear stereotyping and it is paid for by public funds.

Some ad company commissioned by Braintree Council decided that despite any diversity policy the council may or may not have the way to go was with images and a message which demeans half of their constituency.

If I was Braintree Council... I'd get those adverts down and pass the buck back to the Ad company. We believe it is RP2 global based in Essex. There's a lot of twitching going on amongst this shower of sexist blame-avoiders.

Essex County Council cabinet looks like this by the way.... 1 woman ... 9 men.

The two Cabinet members for Braintree with portfolios for 'Environment and Place' are here..... you may note their political background....

Infact .... the Tories... with their huge concern for Women and Equality *spits to one side* feature quite heavily in this whole stupid mess. As do men. Here are the key directors at RP2 Global.... men of course... If you scratch the surface of anything that is bad for women... you might find men or Tories or a heavy combination of both.

Sort it the fuck out. It is rubbish.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Pissing About With Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius should be getting out of jail on Friday. That decision was made. By a qualified judiciary. They felt that ten months was a fit and proper time to stay off the streets when you have taken a gun and shot your girlfriend 4 times. Including in the head. Which she was shielding with her hand, whilst she hid from the man shooting her and tried to stay alive.

The details have been agonised over many times. Did he or didn't he? Well. She's dead. He shot her. So yes he did.

Leaving the legals aside ...was he an outright, key-cold bastard? Yeah. I think so. Don't most of us? Except the judge.

So what is going on now? Pistorius has been told he can't go home. To sit out the rest of his sentence. This is what was previously decided ...that he could do a sixth of his sentence behind bars and then pop off back home and live there for the rest.

Are you fucking kidding me? In what world is it ok for a man who shoots a woman four times to go home and Sky himself up to the bollocks and order pizza? He should be behind bars. For over 15 years in my opinion and for murder ...not .... "Tripped-and-shot-someone-slaughter" or whatever the fuck was decided in that bizarre trial.

It would be bad enough that they intend to wave him off home to his luxury pad after just 10 months. But Oscar hasn't been happy in prison,  reports say. He complained that he wanted a bath and not a shower provided. He got a bath. Other prisoners use showers. May we remind Oscar of the standard of Bathroom he left behind him?

He didn't like the food. He thought it might be poisoned. (Where is Red when you need her? That dude should only be eating Tampax butties for the rest of his life as far as anyone with sense can see.)

He wasn't happy with the gym facilities. So they installed him some better ones. I'm sure Reeva Steenkamp would like to keep her body in shape too. Unfortunately he put four holes in it and it is now just ashes.

He didn't like his bed. They got him a new one. I don't think Oscar understands beds much anyway. For example he seems unable to know when someone is or isn't in bed. Reeva Steenkamp wasn't in the bed which he passed on his way to the bathroom to shoot her four times including in the head.

Who is giving in to the demands of this entitled dude? Who the fuck thinks he should have anything to make his life more comfortable? I would like to see him permanently terrified of being poisoned, getting fat and out of shape, getting a stiff neck and bed bug bites, and having to have a swift rub down with a flannel once a week. He deserves nothing. He should be demanding nothing.

He should stay in jail with no special privileges at all until someone responsible for making appropriate legal decisions about this remembers that Reeva Steenkamp died in terror and agony by his hand and changes the conviction and punishment to something that respects that.

There should be a new prison drama..... Oscar Is The New Batshit.

Monday, 17 August 2015

It won't be cockroaches left over post nuclear will be women

It's the classic statement.... when a nuclear war comes.... (a man presses that final button and we all know it)

.....well all that survives eventually is cockroaches says accepted legend.

Not true.

Survivors don't need a hard shell. They don't need to be uncrushable (?)

What they need is to have survived before. Many times.

Women do that.

We survive stuff and when people ask us what we have survived we minimise. "Ah... y'know.... the usual."

A cockroach might survive a boot. Ah naive cockroach. Try a boot you have loved placed on the back of your neck.  Fucking get off my planet of pain. Until the boot you love has been on your shell and depressed then you know fuck all.

We tell other women.... "I was raped." "I was abused". "I was beaten." "I was groomed." "I was screwed over by the system designed to protect me"

Other women often incline a head. They do care. They really care. But it's hard to stop the disclosure of "I know. Me too."

Because you won't get far before you encounter another survivor and surviving and talking about it becomes sort of dull and dulled because of this. We almost don't listen to each other. We say "solidarity" and we join groups and such. Do we feel? Not sure how much any more. I told a woman recently about my rape and she barely flinched. She barely paused for breath. It meant so little. Because she'd been raped. I discuss abuse. Women know. They have stories. As bad as mine. Then more. Then more. Then worse. Somewhere there is always worse. It won't be another country. It won't be that far. It will be a woman you know close who hasn't disclosed yet. One night she will dissolve and you will know. You will feel her pain and you will get lost in yours. She will survive I hope. You will help her I hope. Of course you will. What are we? Cockroaches? No. Women. We are women and fuck me we are mightier than the cockroach.

Let's remember women..... this is a war. We need to feel each other. We need to keep each other alive.

I have...

- been abused
- been raped
- been groomed
- survived.

The last one is the only one that matters.

I'm not a cockroach. I am a woman. Women will survive the fucking war.

Love to all survivors.

JH x

Monday, 10 August 2015

Name The Problem Woman.

I normally don't write about specific trolls that much any more. They really aren't worthy. However, events over the last few days have been so surreal that it merits a quick note.

For a long time now the renowned fool Ciaran Goggins has been stalking and harassing a number of women. I get it in rotation with others. He likes saying names of women. Much like Eminem ..... my name name is..... my name is..... Bibbidy Bobbedy boo! Mary Poppins! Slim Shakin Stevens!

Anyway, I don't pay him any attention usually but...... I'm really really pleased that finally, after months and months of posting pictures of poor Lisa Marie Taylor and being repeatedly told by myself and others that he was wrong and she isn't me, he finally decided that myself and she were different people. I'm pleased because I was starting to wonder if I was having phone calls with myself and I kept whipping a red wig on and off whilst I put the phone from ear to ear.

Meanwhile the utterly unfathomable Mitchell Wells has been at it too. He actually does talk to himself. He has two or three accounts that natter on to each other about how none of them are Mitchell Wells .... until finally one of the Mitchell's gets confused and says .... "You are though!!" and the other ones go "Oh for fucks sake Mitchell! You've fucked it up again!" and then the first Mitchell sends me or one of his other target feminists a tweet saying "Anyway ... we all hate you! Bye!"

Mitchell has been creating accounts that hate me this week. They suggest that women hate me too and should join together. Let's all join in the hating of me. Except everyone tells him to fuck off. Even the women that do hate me. Poor Mitchell. (Newsflash Mitch .... not all feminists love each other. It isn't the law. Bit like a family wedding at times. With less cake.)

Goggins meanwhile is convinced I'm a new version of me. I won't name her. He'd love that. On it goes. Same old shite. Same old mentions and wild ranting about bent coppers and Goddess knows what else. Now it will be... "Oh! She's responded so it must be her!" ...if I don't say anything... "Oh she's gone quiet so it must be her!" Same MO as with Lisa MarieTaylor..... go for the husband and kid too. Well..... I don't have a husband. I do have children. Won't bother Goggins. It does bemuse me now how Goggins only seems to pick women who pass the patriarchal fuckability test though. Why is that I wonder? Couldn't choose a woman who was less gender-conforming and more stereotypical-hairy-brilliant-second-wave-feminist-in-dungarees when you dip into the bag of "Who is Jean Hatchet This Week?" Goggins? Would that not work for you? Go on. Give it a whirl. Dig deep and swish the names around a bit more. Please make me Mary Beard. Please. I would love that hard. And she'd kick your fucking ass. Hard.

If not can I be Kim Kardashian for a bit? Then I could cover myself in Lard and break Twitter. Or make bread and dripping and smear it on my bum. Or whatever Kim does for kicks when she's being all feministy.

As I just pointed out. These guys don't care who they target. They don't care who they harass. They don't care about the name as long as it is definitely attached to a vagina. A vagina they'd quite like to screw. They just want a woman and they want a woman hurt. They want a woman silenced.  Any woman. When that woman is killed or quiet.... on they will move. Next. It's slow progress really. One woman at a time. Their hit rate isn't nearly as effective at hurting women en masse as I don't know..... say..... Amnesty policy?

This is not about individual women. This is about all women. This is not even "trolling" really. This is just men hurting women because they can. Except my concern is over the wrong women getting hurt on my behalf. I don't want any women harmed. Luckily.... so far.... that hasn't happened because people can sniff the lunacy in these men usually even if they are violent men themselves.

If you come across either of these men in any of their guises or any of the other clown shoes (I stole that one because I liked it - thanks to @TheFleeb) .... that target women.....don't engage with them. Have a cup of tea and a piece of flapjack instead. It will stick in your teeth less.

Love Kim K. x

(Nah just shittin ya .... I'm Jean Hatchet. @JeanHatchet on Twitter)

Friday, 7 August 2015

From the ridiculous to the sublime.....

I'll just pop this here..... because it made me laugh a lot.

Thank you to a dear friend for the laughs.

A response to a solicitor's letter from Arkell v Pressdram (1971)

JH x

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Locked Out

my Twitter is locked for a bit. Here's why.

Currently things are very strange in Feminist Twitterland. I'm stunned as to how you give a response really. Some woman may spend hours giving a lengthy rant of weird accusatory and fantastical tweets most of which I never saw because ...... I have her blocked. 

But.... Inevitably people begin asking..... WTF? They show you a few of the tweets. I laughed mainly. What else can you do with a pile of meltdown? 

Frankly .... I don't know what the fuck. I have no idea of the fuck. I'm fucking clueless. 

What I do know is there is no point in trying to work it out.

I know I'm not allowed to respond to any of the women slithering around my Timeline and discussing it even though THEY ARE BLOCKED. If you do say "This person has been slithering around my TL, DMing friends for info about me, DMing my non-friends for info about me.. DMing God to see what the fuck he knows. If you say that's happening..... then you will be the one out of order and feminist bricks will hit you in the head at speed. 

Stunning hypocrisy going on here. 

So I'm locked because it makes my skin crawl a bit. 

I look at none of these women and would appreciate no one showing me their toxic crap. 

Meanwhile men are wanking themselves sore over feminists doing this and I'm just not playing.

(Dear SeƱor Goggins ..... This has nothing to do with you crazy dude. You are fucking too funny. You couldn't pick your own mother out of a line up. im just glad none of these women you name seem to get hurt because you are such a laughable clown) 

JH x

Sunday, 2 August 2015

The One That Knocks You Sideways.

A friend was talking about her holiday in Norfolk the other day and how when she was a child she learned to count the waves.

"You know how you count the waves and it's always the fifth wave that knocks you sideways?"

I liked this. I liked the idea that you have to wait for the really big one. The terrifying one. The one that makes all the difference and that knocks things out of the way.

I am indebted to women of second wave feminism. I see that they fought and fought hard. They achieved outstanding things that I continue to benefit from. I can't somehow understand how the gains they made suddenly stalled. I feel pretty guilty that I was part of a generation that followed and I let them down a bit. I didn't get my fight until later. When it was too late. They must be strong women not to feel despair at what came next.

Along came liberal feminism (the third wave?) and it's all very nice and inclusive and gentle and "choice" and dragging the bodies out one at a time and sending them back to the men.

(My allusion to bodies - from another friend - "Stop pulling the drowning bodies out of the river one at a time and look upstream to see who is throwing them in!" - look for the cause. Look for the system. Look for the men running the show. Look for the men killing women and stop them.)

Fuck knows what we have just now. Some days I look at the things being said to radical feminists - demonising them, othering them, aligning them with terrorists (what the actual?) and I think "radical" means something else entirely. What on earth is so "extreme" about wanting to challenge the systems that support inequality for women and maintain male advantage? I would have thought that was just feminism really. No need for a special term.

But this now that we are in....(fourth wave? Is it?) with men being awarded and lauded for wearing a dress. With men being applauded for wearing a t-shirt. With women being ostracised and silenced for saying "can we just meet here quietly without men... for a bit... just a few of us...?" With feminists being told they are extreme for saying Members of Parliament, their representatives,  shouldn't wank off to porn in their office. With women being unable to point at a cock and say "that's a fucking cock that is and no mistake!"

Well....... let's wait for the wave that knocks it all sideways. It always comes.