consent

We continue to say No:Why Akona Ndungane’s story still matters

The We Are The World days are long gone.  We’re currently smack in the middle of a culture that sees activism and story telling stripped from main art forms: music, literature, photography, painting etc.  I wouldn’t say stories aren’t still being told, of course they are, but not as honestly as they used to be.

And I guess I understand why.

As art becomes a business, image becomes [slightly more important than?] the craft itself.

For some. 

To those who continue to give us their truth, and teach, and inspire, and strengthen: Thank you.

 

 

I was going through my music collection when I found a gem.

The POWA  Mixtape. 

 

powa

 

 

 

Born from Akona Ndungane’s chilling account of her rape ordeal, POWA saw artists such as Tumi Molekane, Reason, Zaki Ibrahim, Zubz and Tuks, just to name a few, and Akona herself, collaborating to bring a project that will leave you emotionally wrecked, to say the least.

 

 

 

 

But it’s the truth.

It’s her truth.

And it’s the truth of many young women out there.

The reality of it is, we don’t talk about these things.

Society whispers to us to maybe, just maybe try and deal with the fact that this is our reality.  Few people have the lack of empathy and ingrained misogyny in them to say “Get the fuck over it. You’re walking targets and you will be preyed upon,”  but some do nonetheless and they really just verbally express what we’re shown.

It’s why sharing your rape story gets you stigma and shame, being shunned, instead of support.

It’s why people ask you what you did to deserve it before even considering that you aren’t the problem.

It’s why, when your partner rapes you, nobody calls it what it is, in their minds you signed over your rights to your body the moment you agreed to the relationship.

It’s why I’m writing this.

Because I can’t explain why I’m constantly crying at stories that other people tell me don’t affect me.

Because I’m constantly trying to explain to my male friends that at the very least, we live life constantly vigilant, if not terrified.

Because when I log on to Twitter it’s a shock to constantly see the number of women who share their stories of abuse.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow, that we’re all THIS connected… by trauma.  That we’ve formed a sisterhood because of all the things that’ve tried to break our spirits.

I’ve been an emotional wreck.

It’s not that it took me 5 years to realize that somebody violated me, it’s that there are countless other women who can either relate or never accept it, so never will.

It’s not that I know what I know, it’s that other women don’t.

It’s that I constantly have to find a new way to use everyday objects as a person.

I got excited when I found out that KEYS can be used for self defense.

 

Fucking. Keys.

 

That excited me.

And then it hit me how tragic that is.

 

 

Akona’s story, four years after it’s first telling, fourteen years after it happened, still needs to be told.

It needs to be repeated, felt, understood,for as long as is necessary.

Until our women aren’t being hunted anymore, until our men don’t think that’s a normal part of our lives, until the destruction of our society is halted.

But this is where we’re at now.

This is our reality, now.

 

Think about that.

Really think about it.

 

*Visit ISaidNo here

 

 

Make it Nasty: Sex And Violence

A hand squeezing tighter around her neck as she attempts to take shallower breaths.  She arches her back and feels the sting of a forming bruise on her backside. Nails dig into the back of her neck as teeth sink into her skin.  She’s roughly pushed further up and her legs shoved apart as the warm breath on her inner thigh signals a presence and as she breathes out “Wait, no..” and whimpers another set of teeth sink into her thigh and a hand reaches up to choke her again as another slaps her across the face. 

I wouldn’t be shocked  if that image turned you on.  Rough sex has become more and more appealing to us, leaking into everyday sex scenes and intimate moments on television and in books. The woman abruptly pushed up against a wall in an alley by her lover, roughly grabbed, then kissed.  Such images have made the majority of us crave that kind of raw passion, the lack of control that seems to accompany intense desire. And when you look at it like that, as merely passionate, it’s fine I guess.

But I’ve never really cared much for what’s going on on the surface.

At the height of my infatuation with being used, I felt I was losing control.  The bruises were darker and lasted longer, the bite marks would  draw blood, I’d get choked til I almost passed out and being hit didn’t bother me that much, in fact,  none of these things bothered me at all. I wanted to understand why.

Yes, I was into BDSM, sure, I liked rough sex, but why didn’t I have limits? Why wasn’t I scared to hurt myself by letting others take their frustrations out on me sexually?

On the surface I decided it could simply be Desire. I found it appealing, so I wanted it.

Underneath that, daddy issues. My father was a cold man and so I was intimate with men who could hurt me with my consent, thus creating a balance between their affection [sex] and rejection and pain.

Beneath that, society. When did we decide the abuse of women  is appealing? No, this has nothing to do with those who willingly walk into it and accept it, this is about those who are coaxed into believing it’s for any and every woman.

Two things happened last week that triggered this.

1) A lady on Twitter asked why we found violence appealing in the case of phone sex, or rather that was the example she used.  Things like “I want to destroy your pussy”, “I’m going to leave you a mess, unable to even move or speak”, “I wanna ravage your ass” are in actual fact, rather violent statements.  If you are so affectionate, why is it that you show it by seemingly “destroying” me? What, love is pain?

2)I came across a Tumblr post by a Lady who said she wanted to prove that we find women more appealing when bloodied and bruised, and dear God, I’m ashamed to say she was right.  She was pretty when she was plain, but her ragged picture afterwards was just so darn attractive. And that scared me.

There’s a certain yearning in the eyes of women who want to be hurt in any way possible.  Women who’ve accepted their reality as everyone else’s punching bag and have decided to roll with the punches, seek them out even.

We live in a society that’s saturated with images of violence and pain that it would be shocking if we hadn’t become desensitized to it and romanticized it.

It’s like Russian roulette every time you have that scarf around your throat, it could go either way and that’s part of the thrill. But do you know that?

Do you know that possibly, you aren’t satisfying your desires but being the cloth someone else leaves their frustrations on? And you helplessly yet willingly walk into these situations because it’s where you feel you need to be, what you need to have.

We’re led to believe we should want to be thrown about like rag dolls and we should think certain behaviours romantic but I call Bullshit.  I personally am extremely uncomfortable with it. Being pulled towards someone, having someone pin me up against a wall, anyone who I haven’t given prior consent doing things they think I’ll like .

Is it supposed to be non threatening because it’s someone that you know?  Because for me it’s all scary. Why would it be okay because it’s someone you have a platonic relationship with shoving you down and kissing you even though you didn’t want it? Because at least it wasn’t a stranger? It’s a stranger to your body,no?

The fact that we’ve romanticized being overpowered and imposed  this on people means many people don’t know where to draw the line between rapey behaviour and what they actually find sexy.

I’m saying we need to think sometimes about why we want certain things rather than just go with it. Especially if what you think you like constantly feels odd to you somehow.

Sometimes who/what we think we are is merely a product of our environment and not truly Us. And the sooner you know, the better.

tumblr_m1xsqlU4EI1qhflfuo1_500