Monday, 7 December 2015

Shhhhh. How the abuse goes down.

A year or so ago. I went to Nottingham Women's Conference. I arrived late. I arrived after beginning to drive home once I realised a woman I "knew" was spreading lies about me with women I also knew well. I came back because another woman texted and said I deserved to be there. I had received a standing ovation and I wasn't allowed to be there for it. It doesn't matter. I love the women that stood and applauded. It meant a lot. If you were there - thank you.

I drove back to see Julie Bindel. I was desperate to see Julie Bindel and Bea Campbell. They are bloody legends. They are feminists. Not the wishy washy kind. I missed Bea - I was too late. When I arrived I was shaking. I knew the woman spreading lies was there. In truth. I still loved her. We all love our abusers. I was just coping with the end of our "relationship". I thought I would just sit in a corner and keep quiet and enjoy Julie's speech. It was a fucking fine speech incidentally. 

When I first got there I went to a speech by an FGM activist and an activist doctor. It made me cry. I sat to one side and cried relentlessly, along with lots of women. My heartbreak over the abusive woman I'd been with was fuck all. That brave activist had endured having her clitoris cut off. She was cut and stitched by women she loved. She stood on a stage and talked about it whilst crying, What happened to me - was, and is, in comparison- fuck all. 

At the end a number of women, women I have eaten food with, began to exit the conference room. They were women I had known and loved. I still do. I smiled of course. These were feminist women. They wouldn't take sides. 

Most of them blanked me. At point blank range. I am just a woman. It did what you would expect it to. It fucking hurt. Massively. 

I drew myself high - because I am me and I am a fuckin fighter - and I went to the Bindel speech. It was great, but I was shaking. I was scared. I was scared of the woman I loved coming in there. She had apparently "decreed" that I should not approach her and of course I never would have! I respect boundaries. I now see it was because she had told so many lies and I might have made a mockery of them.

I left at the end. I knew I had been strong. I went home and fell apart. Who wouldn't? I got chips and fish. I'm northern. Fuck it. There's nothing potatoes in fat won't fix. NOTHING. 

I have an enormous heart.

It is fucking huge. It ought to be shrivelled and blue. It isn't. I'm more proud of that than many things. It makes me human. I can still love. One day I will love someone again. I'm trying. 

Woman who abused me. Get help. Stop abusing women. Take photographs of the world and it's beauty and stop abusing women. You are really good at the photography. What a shame you can't be happy with that. You are REALLY good at the photography. 

There is nothing you can do to me now. You did it all. You have nothing left but coming at me with physical violence. I will be waiting. I'm afraid, but I will face you. I couldn't once. I can now. You mean nothing to me. 

Some terrible things have been said about me over the last year. You may have heard them and believed them. I know why they were said. I know how easy it was to believe them. It's ok. Women who stuck by me. I love you. Women who did not. I love you. Women who are now speaking out. I love you. 

I sit here shaking. Wobbly. Numb. Tense. Light-headed. 

When you aren't believed at first you keep shouting thinking it all makes such sense. When you aren't believed for a long time you go quiet. Then more quiet. Then you just stop talking about it in case you sound mad or bitter or abusive. Except to those you trust. Some of them you shouldn't trust either. 

Throughout all of this I may have laughed and joked about some women. I may have been unkind about a few in a lighthearted way. I was hurt. I was using humour to try to stay strong. I was still wrong and I apologise. 

What I did not do was cross boundaries. If you made it plain you wanted nothing to do with me. I stood back. I stopped saying how unfair that was. I just took the wound and moved on. I dusted myself down so many times I was like fucking Havisham with a Dyson hand-held. 

What I don't miss are the fucking seeds. That woman and her fucking seeds. I'm not bitter .... but fuckin ell. There is a reason for all the fucking lemons. (women who have been there - you get that).

Women who have been harmed and silenced. We are all here for you. We appear to be a fuck load of women. Jesus now. That might just be feminism for you. Forgiveness, understanding, belief and fighting. Well how about that. We could bring the men to their knees with that shit.

To the women who finally stood up. I salute you. No holds barred. I tip my fucking hat. 

Any woman who wants support. I'm here for you too. I am very very sorry I wasn't brave enough to help you before. 

Woman who is "loved" right now. We will all be here for you too. Don't worry. We will be here. 

Men. You fuckers are still the leading cause of you being fuckers. 

Love JH x