Tag Archives: Women’s health

Late contender in the hate Olympics is a long shot


A few years ago I was dating a woman who had fled her hometown to escape a violent partner. When she mustered the courage to finally leave him following his years-long campaign of manipulation, harrassment and bullying he broke into her house and raped her at knifepoint whilst her kids slept in the next room.

Her story is far from uncommon: such crime is epidemic and endemic: and if it isn’t hate crime I don’t know what is.

So whilst I applaud the initiative on the part of Greater Manchester Police to extend their definition of hate crimes to ‘subcultures’ in a bid to raise awareness of violence targeting these groups, it seems extraordinary that crimes against women aren’t included in hate crime legislation.

Women have been and continue to be the #1 targets for bigotry. As a class they’re they’ve been perenially marginalized, undervalued and violated, worldwide and throughout human history. There are no ‘battered Blacks’ shelters’; no history of ‘Gay genital mutilation’. An incarcerated (for gynocide) biological non-female can sue for the ‘right’ to cosmetic surgery in a country that still denies born (XX) females reproductive autonomy as often as not.

They’re half the world population: more than half, actually, even though statistically, many more males are born year-on-year; mostly because our relative biological frailty and reckless behaviour proves reliably lethal, to us even more than them.

Being diagnosed XX can be a death sentence even whilst still in the womb; can connote second-class citizenship from the moment of birth; gives licence for authorities to mutilate genitals and pay less for more work. If you’re female and the victim of crime, good luck finding justice…

It’s not that Goths and Metallers don’t deserve their justice, of course they do. I was one of the latter and suffered for it during school. Sophie Lancaster paid the ultimate price in a sickening attack that shames us all; as did Steven Lawrence. But lets not forget that the Greater Manchester Police force (that) made its first ‘anti-Emo’ arrest within a fortnight of the new policy is the same force that failed for ten years to break a child sex ring for fear of being perceived racist; ten years in which dozens of girls suffered horrific, life-altering violence for the gratification of men. As I commented in a previous post ‘the integrity (and safety) of females is valued as subordinate to the integrity of ‘culture’’, cultures whose core meaning and values that are and always have been male-defined.

Detractors of ‘hate crime’ legislation and policy – usually members of privileged groups such as men and the middle-class – are right in the sense that singling out violence and discrimination against particular groups as especially serious is unproductive and fails to deal with root causes. Murder is murder; rape is rape; bullying is bullying; wage discrimination is wage discrimination. But their diagnosis of ‘political correctness gone mad’ is wrong.

Misogyny is the root predjudice; the foundation stone of hierarchy in a patriarchal system that is universal across cultures the world over. In this context, the failure to explicitly confront anti-female discrimination thru ‘hate’ legislation is disingenuous at best; scandalous at worst.


Radfem 2013


It’s here and here

If you care about the history, reality and future of women then this is a place to invest your energy (though obviously you can only attend if you’re mercifully free of the dreaded ‘y’ mutation). For my 4oth this year I’m asking my friends and colleagues to donate here in lieu of buying me presents.


Andy x



This is happening just up the road from me! Apparently, according to my local authorities, the ‘right’ of men to ‘get laid’ (rape) trumps the rights of women to be protected from violence under the law. Sorry, but that’s just sick. East Sussex County Council is concerned about the rights of the vulnerable? It’s a given that women/girls – and men/boys, come to that – who enter prostitution are amongst the most vulnerable of our citizens. It’s their health and wellbeing we need to be protecting – not the spurious ‘needs/rights’ of a bunch of dirty old men, disabled or not!

Enabling rape in East Sussex

All kinds of wrong


According to a New Mexico lawmaker, impregnated rapees who abort should be arrested for ‘tampering with evidence’.

Of all the cruel and Byzantine ways that the law has contrived to interfere in women’s born right to own and manage their reproduction, this surely takes the cake. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t doesn’t even begin to cover it. On paper, objectifying the foetus as evidence runs somewhat contrary to the Pro-life definition of it as a fully-human being; but the implications in real life are exactly the same: don’t abort! The mother is still effectively owned and subject to the rule of patriachy. The likely psychological trauma of having to carry a baby to term and the fact of her/his existence will serve as a lifetime reminder of the initial violation, whether the mother decides to bring up the kid or not. And the science underpinning the law is flawed in any case. As a commentator on the thread (The Reality Dog) rightly observes:

‘This is shockingly stupid. Just using her own logic, why would you need to force the woman to carry the baby to term in order to get evidence? Once the abortion was performed, you would easily be able to get DNA from the fetus to prove paternity to the rapist and likely get that person charged and behind bars even faster. Once again, anti-abortion legislators are grasping at straws…’

Coincidentally – or perhaps not – this law would erect an additional psychological barrier against victims reporting the offense against them.

And this has implications for the kid, too. Growing up knowing that your life came about as the product of rape must, I imagine, have profound implications, and bear none-too-positively on one’s self-esteem and future relationship prospects. There’s an alternative, of course: not knowing the intimate details of one’s conception and parenthood; or the fate of one’s surrendered offspring – but as an adoptee I can vouch that that has its implications, too; both for the child and the parents, biological and adoptive. The likely internal conflict propogated by this proposal parallels that experienced by the incested child. As Suzanne Moore wrote in a perceptive Guardian piece in response to the Savile scandal:

‘I know people right now are having to make a decision to remove a child from a family after a series of disclosures about the white stuff that came out of “Daddy’s willy” when they were having their special time. The last thing this child wants is for her Daddy to be taken away.’

Which is to say, knowing that your parent(s) is/are bad people doesn’t necessarily diminish your need for a sense of ‘where you come from’. Even if that need is a product of patriarchal indoctrination, for the sake of our kids’ (and adults’) peace of mind it must be addressed.

I doubt the lawmakers consider these, or have even given them pause for thought, and whilst I’d be more confortable believing naïveté was a factor in their proposal, my inclination is that it’s politicking pure and simple: a legal statement of intent that promotes that reinforces the patriarchal agenda; specifically:

  • Reproduction is a legitimate end in itself, howsoever brought about, and rape is a legitimate means of reproduction,
  • A woman’s body is an extension of the state and subject to state control,
  • It is the duty and responsibility of the state to encourage, regulate and manage reproduction, by any means.

This bill bodes badly in a world that many care to appellate ‘post-feminist’: its basis is spurious science and its implicit cruelty to the forcibly-impregnated and their offspring are, individually, reason enough to contest its legitimacy on humane grounds. Taken together they embody a legal and moral abomination; another in a history of many.

A miscarriage of earthly justice


One of the great things about Twitter is the way it cuts thru the  crap. The ongoing public and media storm, there as elsewhere, following the death of Savita Halapanavar is as polarised as it is predictable, feeding into a sensitive debate too-often dominated by rhetoric and political grandstanding.

As the placards carried by protestors outside Galway hospital (left) ably demonstrate, sometimes you can say more with less. Feeling shame for being Irish was a common theme among both women and men interviewed by journalists. Twitter‘s 140 character limit simply don’t allow much room for ambiguity or obfuscation. Hearts, feelings and predjudices are on show, bite-sized and easily-metabolized.

By way of example, here’s a brief exchange in which I participated in the early hours of this morning:

Lots of supposed pro-lifers advising “calm” over #Savita‘s death. No. A woman died a preventable death in an Irish hospital. Get angry.

@andgoseek A truly heart-breaking situation, and worse that it will [be] politicized and used to justify every abortion henceforth.

@StrongBadToo @andgoseek Already political tho. Let women take charge of their own health – no further justification needed imo

14h StrongBadToo StrongBadToo ‏@StrongBadToo

@andy_guls @andgoseek Typical male abdication, Andy, imo. Fi (the op) cares only for her politics, not for the person. Humanity is better than that.

@StrongBadToo @andgoseek Politics are personal; personal is political: no separation. Can’t abdicate that which was never mine…

@andy_guls @andgoseek Then you’re not human, Andy. Any woman’s (or baby’s) death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind.

@StrongBadToo @andgoseek then by your reckoning you’re twice diminished by #savita‘s death. Mankind, eh?

(all emphases mine)

A short, instrucive exchange, leaving a reader in little doubt where both I and the anonymous StrongBadToo stand on the matter of abortion. Compare and contrast with the hedging and fudging that characterizes the statements of some of Ireland’s main political parties.


Notable exceptions are Sinn Fein which believes that ‘…the difficult choice to terminate a pregnancy can be avoided by as many women as possible’ given investment in education and support; and The Socialist Party, which ‘…supports legislation that will give effect to the Supreme Court ruling on X. However we go further and support comprehensive, free, safe and legal abortion rights for women in Ireland, North and South.’

I’m amused by StrongBadToo‘s suggestion that in acknowledging women’s right to make their own healthcare decisions I’m abdicating (a responsibility? To who, and to do what?), But more so by the notion that this is ‘typical[ly] male’.  On the contrary, what is typical of the male establishment (and many within it, both male and female) thru the ages is a tendency to try and micro-manage the lifestyles and behaviours of its citizens utilizing every trick in the book, from seemingly-benevolent paternalism thru proscriptive legal and moral frameworks to undisguised hostility and brute force. Pro-life is of a piece with the established order in this respect. Assuaging the inevitable insecurity of privilege by kicking those whom you’ve subordinated in the teeth, or in the cunt, is not a recipe for human happiness; though it may well be a fine one for entropy and death, both actual and spiritual. And by implying that the responsibility for oversight of women’s reproduction is mine (even though I’m not human – perhaps he thinks women aren’t either?) whilst suggesting my abdication is ‘typical’ he’s surely contradicting himself and all available historical evidence in any case?

As men, our role in matters of gynaecology is fated by nature to be a supporting – and hopefully, supportive – one, by mutual agreement with our partners; and any attempts by force or stealth to upset that order is doomed to end in unnecessary aggravation and unhappiness for all concerned.

The specious argument for the pro-life position is illustrated more fully yet by comparing and contrasting their stance against euthanasia. When Tony Nicklinson took his case for legal assisted suicide to the High Court in the UK this year, he was inundated with appeals from pro-life advocates to reconsider. Nicklinson, whilst undoubtedly left in a vulnerable position by his illness, had, unlike the unborn, a voice: the notion that pro-life groups were best able to interpret and represent his interests is no more viable than a 17 week-old foetus. It’s the very mute-ness and dis-ability of a foetus that makes it such a perfect projector screen for pro-life fantasies of benevolent Godhood.  That position is scarcely tenable in the case of an adult such as Nicklinson, who besides being mentally competent and articulate has the support of a close-knit family; though as the former plays to the stereotype that women are incapable of making sensible decisions for themselves, so pro-lifers like to foster similar myths about the sick and disabled. Of the well who claim to know the sick better than the sick; men who claim to know women better than women themselves and mortals holding forth on the will of God, we ought to be rightly suspicious. Nicklinson died shortly after his High Court bid failed, having contracted pneumonia and also refusing food and water – hardly the peaceful and dignified end he was campaigning for. More the Euthanists’ equivalent of Gin, hot baths and knitting needles.

Ha! Who’s resorting to rhetoric now?! So let’s end this post, appropriately enough, where we began with the voice of the people, eloquently and poignantly expressed by one of the estimated 20,000 who turned out to protest Savita‘s death in Galway: