Archive for the 'safety from men’s violence' Category

Reacting to Skulldrix’s post and thinking about reclusive separatism vs. boundary-living separatism

Just a few days ago I read Skulldrix’s post on a separatist state of mind, which I have found very refreshing and enlightening, and which brought me back to many of my own first experiences of separatism. I remember some conversations going on at FCM’s on separatism, maybe a year and a half ago, where several of us bloggers and commenters discussed whether we should call ourselves separatists or pro-separatists. FCM at the time argued that separatism wasn’t a realistic or feasible goal for most women under patriarchy because the reality is that we can’t completely escape men, so it would be more realistic to envision ourselves as pro-separatist instead of separatists.

I can’t quite remember what I wrote at the time or whether I expressed myself clearly but I thought that the distinction between pro-sep and sep was unnecessary once we conceive of it as a way of being, an ongoing journey and struggle, according to the means we have and what is safe for our survival. Though I agree about the fact that most if not all of us can’t escape men on a daily basis. Most women will have to work alongside men to some degree because that’s the only or least worst job opportunity we can find. Very often we will have to depend on men to learn a skill, or to heal from severe illnesses, because men monopolise and control all disciplines and sectors of their society.

Well Skulldrix’s take on it as state of mind is really important, because that’s how it is really, and that’s also how radical feminism works. Once you have the state of mind, a strong perception and insight of how male domination works – including on how it affects and colonises us – the willingness and drive to move on, and out, and take women with us on the ride: that’s the only thing that counts. Everything stems from here. And radical feminism and separatism from men and from male mindbindings are one and the same to me, both theoretically and in my experience: both were absolutely synchronous in my life. Radical feminism can’t go without separatism because separatism (or a separatist state of mind) is the logical conclusion to radical feminism, that is to seeing and understanding how men’s domination works and understanding the danger men represent to us. Once you perceive and feel viscerally how destructive men are and how their mere presence may suffice to sap our vital force, your gut reaction is to run away from anything male.

But this is where the importance of separatist state of mind comes, versus mere physical separatism from men. Refusing to interact with men as much as possible is not enough. It is not enough to flee men and hang around with women only, we also have to unwork the effects of men’s ideological and traumatic mindbindings on us and unlearn woman-hatred, and transmit this to other women in some way or another. Separatism is of no use at all if it’s to reproduce similar male hierarchies and values of domination and subordination between ourselves. In order not to do this, it requires a particular state of mind: both a clear vision and focus and a willingness to maintain and especially develop this vision and focus over time.

This is because in patriarchy, our radical feminism / separatism is constantly put at trial, and all strategies are used, from attacks to manipulation – to put as back into fragmentation. There is no moment pure free consciousness or place where we can leave our status of oppressed and where men’s violence will no longer affect us if we are subjected to it. Oppression continues to affect us and our mind, because that’s what violence does, and men’s violence remains pervasive, even if the degrees of violence vary. The separatist state of mind is a commitment to persist into radical feminism, deep empathy towards women and hatred of male oppression over time.

And sometimes, we have to choose between physical separatism of men and our own survival, most notably when we need a job, money, skills, care or resources and we have no other choice but to get them from the hands of men. This is where the state of mind is important because we will choose to give as little energy and mindspace to men as possible, and to try to bond with the women whenever possible.

Finally, one thing I’ve noticed is that to continue sparking other women and reaching women requires to a certain extent working on the boundaries of male institutions (whatever these may be, whether blogs or other platforms that we can bear staying in for a certain amount of time) because there is simply no chance of interacting with women if we live recluded or hidden (although this choice is perfectly understandable). Mary Daly talks about this living in the boundaries in “Outercourse” and Janice Raymond talks about it in “A Passion for Friends”. It takes a very, very long time to bring women to radical feminism and for women to be in a safe enough position to be able to think about it; If we want to find women, we can mostly only find them in places controlled by men, because the vast majority of women in western countries are too afraid of separatism. Separatism therefore also means to me creating a pocket of freedom or an open door within this place from which to move on to and transcend, create true women-only identification and place.

I think this boundary-living must be done with extreme caution however because such experiences can be very abusive and getting the measure of how far we should go or which institutions we should be in the boundary of or when it’s time to leave before things get too nasty, is very hard. I’ve been thinking about the reclusive / vs boundary-living separatism for a long time and I know Mary Daly and Janice Raymond have criticised reclusion, as opposed to Sonia Johnson who embarked on this route fully with her partner Jade DeForest, and documented it in her books – they decided that they wouldn’t even interact with other women any more because it was too endangering to their integrity.

When I first became radical feminist and separatist, not only I couldn’t stand being with men but it was physically impossible for me and endangering for my sanity to be around women who were even slightly colonised. I couldn’t deal with the dissonance, radical feminism was too fresh, I had barely discovered myself, I had much less confidence in my perceptions then and my greatest fear was too lose my mind again. I had a visceral need to expel everything male from my life. Now, with several years of experience in radical feminist journey behind me, I don’t feel that my world will crumble down so easily when my reality as an oppressed woman is denied, because I have much more confidence in my own perceptions than I used to. I have also bonded to a network of radical feminist lesbian friends, learnt not to beat myself up any more when women turn against me out of misogyny or because they can’t follow me farther in my bus ride. I feel my feet and my soul are much more anchored into the ground and it’s less easy to topple me. I’m better at protecting myself, at creating situations that are safe for myself and women and avoiding those who aren’t. It is only with this background that I know feel slightly more confident about finding other women and understand better how it works. I know that the most important thing is to talk with women and create spaces where this is possible, without interference. Three or two years ago this wouldn’t have been possible the same way.

Most importantly, I love being around with women too much. I love feeling the electricity and spark of when we share and create insights together, I love witnessing women unpeeling the mindbindings and freeing themselves from the bonds of a man. I love the stars in our eyes when we See each other and our reality, when we become visible to ourselves. I love our laughter. Being with women-identified women and making this woman-identification possible is like dancing around a fire of joy, you can feel the fire inside you becoming bigger. I would never be able to become a reclusive separatist.

***

Here are the comments I wrote on Skulldrix’s post which spurred me into writing this post. I’ve rephrased the first one and put it here for clarity.

it’s great to see such a nice article on separatism. I relate to your perceptions on separatism, on many levels, and have followed a very similar path. Separatism started for me in a crossroads of circumstances. It started in part when I decided that I wouldn’t date any men because dating with them had been so painful and traumatising and I wanted to protect myself from that. I was already feminist, had almost perceived that PIV was inherently violent and a way to humiliate women, and that all men wanted was to use us as receptacles for their dicks. So I first thought that if I wanted to date a man, a way to prevent being used by them as their dick-socket to be thrown away the minute after, I’d have to choose one I knew for a long time and could trust he wouldn’t abuse me, had already built an equal, friendly, respectful relationship with him which stood the test of time, and especially, they would have to understand feminism and i should be able to be feminist with them without feeling uncomfortable about it.

Well I very quickly realised that this standard was totally impossible! Once I held this standard for interacting with men, they all disappeared out of my life very quickly. It became obvious that men didn’t want to interact with me or with women in general on an equal level, and that what “attracted” them in women was subordination to them – as soon as we wanted to be their “equals” they were repelled by it, lost interest or tried to thwart the feminist drive in me some way or another. This was a major eye-opener. I’ve said this before in various comments but I found this experience really amazing – just setting the bar high for men made them disappear out of my life.

Also once I saw how everything men do is always directly or subliminally a rape threat and reminds us of our penetrable caste, I couldn’t bear being exposed to anything male, either in physical presence or in mediated ways (religion, ideology, media, art, etc, etc,). It re-triggers unconscious or conscious defence mechanisms to rape, PIV and sexualised invasion. It’s stressful and traumatising.

 

Intersectionality, part V: additional notes on amnesia and springing from Outercourse

When we can’t see men as the oppressors, men’s violence is suppressed in the unconscious realm (or in the “subliminal sea”1) and what remains visible and conscious to us in the foreground2 is the betrayal by puppeted women orchestrated/remote-controlled by the invisible male lords/puppeteers.

Failing to see men’s oppression and turning our anger against women is fundamentally based on amnesia: our forgetting of men’s genocide. The depth of this insight popped up to me with instant clarity as a friend of mine and I were discussing why some women so readily turned against other women even in cases such as having been raped or tortured by their fathers. For months one woman angrily resented her mother for about everything her father had subjected her to, and instead felt sympathy for him. Her mother wasn’t enough this, she had failed to do that, etc. There were vast periods of torture she had forgotten but she remembered the lies her father had told her about her mother and this is what stayed. However when she started recovering memories of what her father had done to her, her anger against her mother abated, she began to see how she too was victimised as a wife to her father and started to express anger against him.

This works on all levels. Our capacity to feel empathy towards women, to reverse the reversals and to make the connections about men’s violence is deeply and directly connected to our uncovering of the suppressed memories of what men have done to us. When we forget the oppressor, there is no other option than to turn against women, because that’s how patriarchy is configured: there is one oppressor class, men, and one oppressed class, women, and if you’re not against men, then it’s mechanically at the expense of women and of ourselves. There is no in-between, or third outlet: women are the only counterpoint to men’s violence. Either we see men as the oppressors and therefore our rage is turned against them, either we have effaced some or all of their role as oppressors and we automatically resent women for one thing or another.

The amnesia is organised both on an individual level and collective level.

It’s individual in that men’s violence and psychic warfare tactics which causes the amnesia happens to each one of us. Individually, we are forced to suppress some awareness and memory of what individual men or institutions have inflicted on us and on our female peers at various points in our lives (violence from our father, husbands, brothers or other males / institutions). The amnesia is organised on this micro level through the lies and reversals of the perpetrators, the denials and terror of our peers and the complicity of surrounding men with the perpetrators. The true stories of rapes against our sisters, mother, aunts, grand-mothers, cousins and daughters will be silenced. We will never understand why our aunt was alcoholic all her life or why our mother had fits of crying and nervous breakdowns every now and then, or why our friend became muted after the age of 8. Men will tell us they are crazy, liars, will instil distrust and contempt in these women. We will never or rarely be told about the women who escaped, the lesbians, feminists or spinsters, whether in school, by our peers or family.

The amnesia is also organised by men collectively: the perpetrators’ lies wouldn’t have so much impact on us if men’s violence wasn’t so absolutely obliterated from discourse everywhere we go – nothing in foreground reality, whether written or spoken, ever confirms the reality and depth of the what we’re subjected to, it is spookily omni-absent. Men have monopolised the power of naming and thereby blocked our capacity to even name our experience and ourselves with their words. We live in this reality of war-zone under male-rule, dying inside and outside, yet all there is to see on the surface are those tantalising fake smiles, “sex”, “marriage” and plastic happiness. For this silence to be maintained, men actively repress our re-calling of the genocide and be-speaking of the truth. They erase all evidence of their crimes, both external historical evidence and in our own psyche, by reprogramming our minds. They erase our culture, our writings, our art, our discoveries, our history of liberation, our presence and love to ourselves. In this context we have forgotten who we are before we could even know who we were.

Amnesia is also a form of dissociation. It’s a coping mechanism to ongoing trauma when the violence is both unescapable and unacknowledged. It is one of the many ways in which the self splinters itself for survival – which is why so many of us suffer various degrees of “multiple personalities” from having to forget event after event, life after life, each time having to distance ourselves farther from who we were and reinvent a new plastic persona in the attempt to add more make-up over our suffering.

It splinters the most traumatic parts from our conscious memory and digs them deep into the unconscious memory, which then only resurfaces in cryptic ways: through flashes, panic attacks, physical and psychic disorders, cancer, etc. Formulating the truth of men’s oppression even in thought being an unthinkable crime, these cryptic ‘symptoms’ or outbursts are messages from ourselves to desperately try to reconnect and awaken our consciousness, to break the spell of dissociation and phallic coding so we reintegrate and get away from the source of harm (men). These messages are there to bring the truth back into our conscious thoughts and direct our rage at men instead of against ourselves. We are saying to ourselves “hello, I’m here”. “Doing this to me is harmful”. “I’ve been hurt.” “These rapes / violations / insults / psychic devastation have hurt me”.

Anyway, all this to say that I recently realised more than ever the importance of seeing and naming the connections, and how this is really the first momentum of liberation because organised amnesia is men’s primary form of psychic – and therefore physical – annihilation of women. Without consciousness there is no doing, and by destroying our knowing/seeing (or pushing it into unconscious, subliminal realms), men paralyse our doing and being.

Amnesia, the obliterating of men’s past and present violence and erasure of our past and present selves, leads to blindly turning against women and more generally, to what Mary Daly calls aphasia, the “inability to Name the Background reality as well as foreground fabrications and the connections among these” and to apraxia, the “inability to act as Radical Feminists” (Outercourse, p. 6 and 195).

Intersectionality, just as any form of anti-feminism, are part of men’s phallic lies and global brainwashing tactics which generate amnesia and the inward-twisting of rage against ourselves and other women. Again, to paraphrase Mary Daly, exorcising amnesia requires acts of unforgetting and be-speaking, of unmasking and breaking through the foreground lies into our background presence. The task of the radical feminist is to actively explicate the connections, to make the reversals, fragmentation, destruction and genocide explicit and overt. (P. 6-11, Outercourse).

“Knowledge [of patriarchal horror] … is compelling and expelling. When a woman really faces the horror she is morally compelled to Act (overcome apraxia) and to begin changing/Be-Witching. She becomes empowered to expel the demonic embedded Self-censor within, who has blocked her from Spinning. She dares to begin Be-Witching.” (P. 197, Outercourse).

1Term by Mary Daly : the Sea of subliminal knowledge, knowledge which is covert, “Background” knowledge that is shared by women in patriarchy (Outercourse p. 13).

Background means “the Realm of Wild Reality; the Homeland of Women’s Selves and of all other Others; the Time/Space where auras of plants, planets, stars, animals and all Other animate beings connect.” (Wickedary, by Mary Daly and Jane Caputi).

2Foreground is defined as “male-centered and monodimensional arena where fabrication, objectification, and alienation takes place; zone of fixed feelings, perceptions, behaviours; the elementary world: FLATLAND”. (Wickedary, by Mary Daly and Jane Caputi).

 

Men’s theft is more literal than we think.

We often underestimate that many women do in fact have some amount of resources of our own. Even though we may be ourselves privately owned by a man, father or pimp and most of our work and production are stolen by men, whether with forced domestic and child raising work in the home, by slaving for husbands or other males of the family to sustain their businesses, the constant extra burdens of unpaid chores required from women in paid jobs or when men steal and exploit the products of our intelligence, findings, inventions, genius and creativity at work – many of us still manage to earn something of our own, even if it may be minimal: we may have some income, and if we’re lucky enough, we may have just enough money to be able to pay a small rent and food for ourselves, or we have some property, furniture of our own, a flat, house, land, or we may have inherited of a bit of money from our grandparents, or have some daddy government benefits, etc. It might be barely just enough to live, or maybe not enough to live with but with a few arrangements over time can eventually made to be bearable. That is, we could potentially find ways to survive on our own, if our captor didn’t kill us after leaving him.

So despite women being the poorest and most destitute, pillaged people of the entire world (obviously, since men’s system of oppression is only directed against women), we are often not completely without any resources at all.

What I realised recently, is how misleading the male-centred view on labour exploitation is on explaining women’s primary source of impoverishment. Women’s first and foremost source of excruciating impoverishment is not, as reformists say, the 20 or 30% pay gap, the “double work shift” of paid job plus unpaid domestic work, the “glass ceiling” (man-ceiling) preventing women from accessing better-paid positions, etc. At best this perspective doesn’t explain anything and is dead circular logic. It takes a peripheral fact disconnected from its context by presenting a microscopic symptom of men’s accumulation of wealth (based on rape, theft and destruction) as a cause as well as consequence. Which is like saying the explosion is what caused the house to explode. The tautology is even worse than that actually, a more apt example would be: the presence of flying debris caused by the explosion is what caused the house to explode and this is at the same time a consequence and symptom of the explosion. Get that level of mindfuck and omission of agent? (where’s the terrorist who put the bomb in the house?)

Even if we adopt the more radical view that men’s global accumulation and monopoly of wealth is primarily achieved from trading women for rape and forced reproduction, and from pillage, genocide and destruction of the elements (one of men’s most lucrative businesses are prostitution, pornography, general trafficking/trade of women for rape and marriage, and derivative “cosmetic” businesses capitalising on the systemic torture and crippling of women), well that still doesn’t completely explain women’s excruciating poverty compared to men in places where women can work and have minimal income. Even these horrors alone aren’t enough to completely quash and disable all owned women economically, whatever their economic status.

That’s because the central cause of women’s impoverishment isn’t impersonal and institutional, but comes from men individually stealing from women in their individual homes. The owner, husband, master, stealing from the woman’s own pocket. I only realised how literal it was quite recently. This is the primary pattern of women’s crippling poverty. It became clear to me after hearing story after story of women being ransacked to the bone by their own husbands or boyfriends, it was typical of every abuse story I’ve heard of – these men systematically stealing their salary, signing credits, debts or mortgages in the woman’s name, binding women in suicidal financial situations or reckless business plans, stealing women’s property, flats or houses by signing it in their (the man’s) name, taking siege of the woman’s flat or house and refusing to move out, spending women’s income on drugs, cars, expensive restaurants, gambling, prostitution or whatever their pet fetish is, controlling access to their bank account, or systematically sabotaging their access to work, income or property in any form, by moving her far away from her work, wrecking her chances to find employment in any way possible, sabotaging her relationship with her employer, or finding ways to cut her benefits for childcare, preventing her from using the money she has for herself, etc, etc. The list is endless.

And what is peculiar about this theft is that men will do it regardless of their own status, income or actual financial needs, regardless of the woman’s status or income – they will steal her money or any potential to make money of her own, leaving her with barely enough to feed herself and the children and to pay for her daily necessities, and very often with not enough to feed herself and the children. The man can be rich and the woman earning a minimum wage, the woman may be earning a good salary and the man unemployed and without any resources of his own, or both having similar income – I have seen every possible combination, nothing stops them.

This is what “Domestic violence” training programs would call “economic violence” (yes lots of quotes here). What they mean euphemistically by “economic violence” is control of the woman’s resources by the “abuser”. This is actually inaccurate because they don’t just control her resources, they literally take it away from her. We call this theft, plain and simple. It’s the systematic pillaging of woman’s personal resources, and her complete financial crippling. The element of control is added to the theft when he demands his victim to justify her slightest spending and has to provide receipts to him for everything she buys. Well, that reminds me of something doesn’t it, isn’t that what the father state requires of women’s organisations, to justify every penny spent on the pocket money he gave them?

This sheds further light on the complete reversal and lie which is the idea that men maintain women financially so that women have to depend economically on them, explaining why they don’t leave. Well, the reality is worse, and men are far more parasitic than I even thought. The reality is that most women are most poor when living with a man, regardless of how rich or poor he may be, or regardless how rich or poor she was before she met him – he will rob her. I’ll always remember the example of Virginia Woolf who was well-off thanks to the success of her writing, yet her husband made her poor by taking away all her money: “By April 1938, the year she published Three Guineas, she was existing only on the pocket money Leonard allowed her– out of her own earnings.” (Cherryblossomlife, “The Life and Death of Virginia Woolf”)

Women can survive economically without men, and most would actually fare better without men from an economic point of view, contrary to what reformist stats say: stats generally state that after a separation or divorce, men’s net income increases, while women’s net income decreases: what it fails to look at is in who’s hands were the resources of the woman during marriage. Despite all the horrors committed to women at work, the fact women are globally impoverished by men in every way, the underpayment, the theft of our labour and creativity, the fact we have to raise kids in terrible conditions with no help at all (etc.), well despite all this, women are far better off economically on their own than with a man, because they avoid the worst kind of theft – of being financially drained by her own husband. Men don’t marry women to support us economically, they marry women to suck the life out of us, to own us, rape and forcibly impregnate us, and this requires plundering everything and anything we may have for ourselves – even our souls.

The reason why the reformist perspective is so misleading, above being a mindfuck, is that whenever we look at men’s oppression of women in male-centred terms, that is in terms of collective exploitation, slavery or institutional oppression, we miss the centre of men’s oppression of women which is the oppression and ownership of one individual man on one individual woman, whether by a husband, father or pimp. It is essentially a one-to-one oppression, of one man against one woman, and the wider institutions are only there to aggressively uphold this one-to-one appropriation. The reason it is configured this way is of course because this is how each man gets to control reproduction and force reproduction on women – in order to have this reproductive control, it is biologically necessary for men to keep raping a woman over time. And to prevent her from escaping she has to be locked in his home, deprived of any autonomy. This is what marriage is all about.

When we see it in these terms, it becomes obvious that the primary source of all women’s horrendous misery and poverty comes from being owned by a man and not from remote, impersonal pay gaps or lack of political representation. Women will always be safer by staying away from the men closest to us; always.

What this led me to think about is what it meant for women to free ourselves individually from each of our own primary oppressor (husband, father, boyfriend, pimp). That is, if we survived the hardest part, which is getting away from him without being maimed or killed by him in retaliation and managed to disappear from his reach after our flight, then I think the hardest part of liberation has been overcome. The rest is decolonising progressively from embedded maleness, and surviving in a hostile, male-driven, genocidal world. Surviving on our own in a male economy and confronting our pain and wounds might be harsh and even excruciating but it’s nothing in comparison to living under the constant reign of terror of a husband, father or pimp. It’s nothing in comparison to being imprisoned by our torturer 24/7. The biggest threat that we face in our lives is of being owned by a man or pimp, and being raped and killed by him or any male occupants. If we manage to escape this fate, anything else is violence of a lesser degree. It left me wondering what would really happen if all women started to leave men at the same time. What would men do? Would they start an open war against all women? Or would they target individually each woman that left them? Would everything collapse? Is the leap easier than we think it is, given that many women are persuaded that they’re better off with men despite all evidence of the contrary?

In retrospect to the 85,000, reformism and other things

When men view our blogs in such large numbers, it’s a threat. They’re not just looking at it, they view it with the intent of harming radical feminists and women in general. They do it to collect information so they know what next to do to prevent women from going there. They batter radfem work in public for all women to see and show the result of their verbal and written battering as an example of what will await women if they do, think or say the same. They write nasty and threatening comments, that in order to trash, I have to read at least a few words of. Even though it doesn’t hurt my feelings, they are still harmful and inevitably affect my thoughts.

85,000, that’s the maximum number of views I had in one day a couple of weeks ago when the liberals and MRAs circulated my PIV blogpost for punishment. Unlike a normal blogger, attracting 85,000 hits isn’t something I want to celebrate. It’s threatening: you know they’re after you, it only means you’ve hit men’s radar and you have no idea what they plan to do. Will they attempt to hack into my blog? Will they try to find info about me? The kinds of thought this leads me to is 85,000 men going after me in real life. Probably a bit less if you discount the women. If that happened, how on earth could I hide from tens of thousands of men?

Receiving so many comments denying what I said one after the other reinforces my sense of isolation, of outlandishness, of being the only one who knows. It makes me doubt the reality of my perceptions, it makes me waver, it shakes my foundations for a bit. I start questioning what I said. If so many people assert this with such confidence and if it contrasts so starkly with my perceptions, how can my assumptions be real? The wavering doesn’t last for long thankfully, I regain my senses quite quickly, sometimes more so than others. Writing, talking about it to friends and receiving radfems comments helps a lot. It’s the only thing that ever helps actually.

All this is gaslighting and bullying, men’s lies are meant to sound convincing. They convince with the use of force, ordering me to comply to their view by using an authoritarian, terrorising tone. ‘How dare you see otherwise. You’re crazy. You’re a bully. Etc.’ Which is why it works so well to instil self-doubt because it’s a mindfuck, it’s thought-blocking, it’s also an assault and it creates fear and willingness to appease to avoid further assaults. Brainwashing works through a mix of mind assaults, terror and constant repetition of a same message until it’s hammered into our brain, which is psychological violence. 85,000 views and hundreds of trolling comments is in effect a blitzkrieg brainwashing attack by men and male-colonised women. Hundreds of men and their pawns attempting to reprogram the minds of deviant female bloggers, women who don’t comply and who break through men’s myths and lies.

It’s interesting that Cathy Brennan’s response to the whole thing led a commenter, Tracy, to comment about what it meant on reformism: I hadn’t framed it in that way (see discussion here, here and here). I’ve been thinking about it for a while but haven’t had the time to comment on it properly so I’ll continue my thoughts in this post. Tracy defined CB’s post as reformist to the extent that CB doesn’t name the agent, that is why men isolating us from one another is so dangerous, why it’s so important to huddle together in this circumstance [because men are waiting in line to rape and kill us]. CB asks us to take safety measures against a threat -men- that she won’t name, and at the same time treats men as an audience to appease, as if they would take note and change their behaviour accordingly. Tracy named that gaslighting because it’s acting as if two opposites (truth vs. omission/lie; threat vs. safety) were the same. Of course it’s not CB’s fault because she herself is victim of it.

So reformism defines as gaslighting because it acknowledges a threat -violence- and the need for it to stop, yet it never names the threat -men- and then requires us to RELY on that threat as a source of help. It requires us to resort to men as sensible beings who would stop being violent if told so, which causes the opposite of the aspired safety: renewed vulnerability to men’s violence. So it IS a mindfuck: we should see there’s a threat, but treat it as if it weren’t, then go back in harm’s way to try to plead with our rapists and murderers instead of getting AWAY from them. Resorting to men – policemen, lawmen, statesmen, whatevermen, to protect us from… men! It always leads to more abuse, not less. We are supposed to seek safety from abusers, and truth from lies. This is very deliberate, the very point is to prevent us from seeking safety where safety is, and from identifying men for what they are, so we never get away from men’s dominance.

Gaslighting is an abuse tactic of individual abusers against individual women. But all male abuse patterns work on the structural level, too. If we apply gaslighting to reformism – which men institute globally as a mode for liberation through state policies, daddy-funded NGOs, the UN, male-led activism etc – well that gives us, as Tracy mentioned, a campaign of gaslighting women at a global scale: therefore reformism is worldwide psychological abuse of women. The repetitive, circular nature of reformism, the erasure of the radfem alternative to reformism (liberation / separatism), the fact it’s always planned from within patriarchal institutions (or with their approval) and applied in ways that assault women, also defines it as brainwashing of women on a global scale: it’s the fabrication and implantation of a false reality into women’s minds on a mass scale – as with all other false feminisms.

This led me to the following insight: thinking about reformism as abuse by men on a collective level, it struck me that the cycles of abuse from relapse to outbursts of more explicit violence applied to the system too. Male abusers of women, especially husbands and boyfriends, never or rarely maintain a constant level of violence over time. There are ups and downs, there are phases, and these phases serve a purpose. After a certain time of ongoing overt violence, women inevitably begin to get a wake-up call. They reach a limit, I have to go now or I will die, I have nothing more to lose. This is a breaking point where the spell of fear or trauma-bonding is broken, where she has the potential to free herself. When men sense that this wake-up call is happening, that women are no longer responding with the usual terror and preparing to escape, they might increase with violent repression to put her back in line, OR they might shift tactic altogether and pretend to be nice for a while to revive her hopes that he will change, that he has finally stopped being violent. He may buy some flowers, say “romantic” things that he stopped saying a long time ago, say he’s sorry, allow her some leeway that he didn’t before, and keep a low profile for a little while.

The fact is that during this relapse phase he never really stops being violent, but the contrast is stark enough in comparison to the previous one to give the illusion to his victim that the violence has stopped, especially if she has been accustomed to much worse for a long time. This phase is crucial in that it enables the abuser to restructure his dominance over her, to reinstall her trauma-bonding and emotional dependence to him, her belief that he has changed for the better, to make sure she won’t escape again. He needs to regain his psychological hold over her. And once this control has been re-secured, he will then rise the bar of violence again progressively and insidiously enough that it won’t alarm her.

On a structural, global level, this is what reformism is about. It’s a phase of relapse between two phases of more overt violence and genocide of women. It’s men collectively pretending to have changed for the better by agreeing to superficial transformations of their system of domination – which contrast enough with the previous phase to give an illusion of a halt and freedom, even though the violence hasn’t stopped. It’s a crisis response to movements of liberation of women, to reinstall women’s collective trauma-bonding and emotional dependency to men. Indeed, it seems that women have never been so trauma-bonded to men collectively now than ever before we can remember.

If you look at the shifts more closely though, none of them pertain to an actual decrease of men’s violence against women – number of rapes, abuse by husbands, etc. The levels have probably never changed, and the power structures have remained completely unchanged too. What has changed is the number of token women in the patriarchal institution (Mary Daly calls this strategy “assimilationism”) and the number of women with token economic and civil rights (to have a bank account, to be salaried exploited, to vote, etc). Have these shifts freed women collectively from men? Nope, not in the slightest.

Historically, it fits, at least from a western-centric perspective, but as far as I can see, western treatment of women and genocide tactics in occupied territories mirrors and complements its own internal genocide of women. We have, from the 12th or 13th century up until the 19th century, a very long period of overt genocide of women by western men across the globe. It has never really stopped of course but at the time there was no illusion that male institutions and colonialists were and could be helpful to women. In Western countries, this wave of genocide was itself a reaction by the religious states to women fleeing men en masse and taking more and more importance in society to the extent that they threatened the monopoly of the states’ power. So what ensued was mass, organised slaughter of women to physically prevent them from gaining autonomy, and men’s global colonisation, resource pillage and genocide served to increase their institutional caste power over all women and reinforce the global rapeability of women with worldwide trafficking in women for prostitution.

What happened from the early 19th century onwards, is a vast and global movement of liberation and decolonisation of women from men in western and colonised countries alike, which continued in major ways until the end of the 20th century, and continues today too. But what has happened this time is that men caught women in the traps of assimilation to them and to their own anti-classist and anti-racist movements: into the trap of reforming men’s system. Men indeed shifted their institutions, their outside appearance and discourse to give the illusion of benevolence to women and shared interests in fighting ‘sexism’. Colonialists, capitalists, pornographers, pimps: they all sold their invasion, raping and killing of women as sexual liberation.

Time and again, woman liberationists in every place of the globe were lured back into male institutional control by being offered money and offices or positions by states and institutions such as the UN, European Union and their derivatives, in exchange of complying to male interventionism and control, and of focusing only on useless, exhausting legal change and tokenism, or ‘gender mainstreaming’ or whatever shit they invent. Women being sorely deprived of money and land, it wasn’t difficult to hurdle them back in with this carrot, or to use this as a way to divide and destroy the integrity of groups between those who refused to take the money and those who believed it would work despite the compromise to their autonomy. The irony today is that there are many woman-only so-called autonomous movements in western as well as non-western countries who’ve identified this male state / institutional takeover of feminism and refuse to have anything to do with them, but on the other hand are completely colonised by the male academic takeover of feminism with all this queer, postmodern, pro-trans and pro-prostitution bullshit. It really has been a takeover on all fronts.

Anyway, so what this presages, is that if we see reformism as an intermittent relapse phase, well that doesn’t look very good does it, it certainly means that there will be a progressive resurgence of overt violence soon. And I think it’s already happening really. It’s not my type to cast doom though, and the good news is that patriarchy fundamentally doesn’t change, so I really don’t think it’s cause for more alarm than usual. All times are good to free ourselves from men. We should do it now.

On colonisation by men, friendships with type #2 colonised women, and how we understand it as radfems

There seems to be two types of colonisation:

#1: one where the woman is colonised but something of the spell or the rigidity of the colonisation has been broken somewhere and she is ready for the leap. In other words, radical feminism has the potential to create connections and liberate her from invasive male presence. If talked to about radical feminism, it will immediately make sense, or very shortly after. These women are great to be around with as a radfem because convos just flow, there’s no mental blocking out to what you’re saying and you can trust that she understands the words you use, which is not a small feat in patriarchy.

#2: one where men have placed auto-immune defences against feminism in a woman: she is made to fear and block out feminism from her mind or some parts of it, to see it as a threat, and will eliminate, sabotage or shut it down or turn against herself and other women.  It works very much like an auto-immune disease or cancer where she is unconsciously, unwittingly acting on men’s behalf, defending their interest by destroying her healthy cells. (Men are cancer).

In fact the two are really different things or states. I still don’t know exactly what makes the first situation possible, that is, how the transition or short cut operates from #1 to #2. There has to be some freedom from a man at some point to have been able to go to the end of our thoughts somehow, but how exactly, for instance if that transition or realisation happens while still being individually enslaved or controlled by a man, is still something I’m thinking about. However I do know what puts women in state / stasis #2, I know what makes spiritual, intellectual access to radical feminism IMPOSSIBLE in the present moment – which is male violence and men’s constraints. And this is what I’m going to focus on here.

**

Note. I’m writing on colonisation because I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships with non radfem (though already into feminism) women lately and how difficult these relationships are. This is a really important question to me because talking to women about feminism (spinning) and creating bonds with women in order to decolonise collectively from men is really what’s most important and what I believe feminism and liberation is based on. But sometimes I just get so much shit, and it never stops being painful and exhausting. I make friends with women, I introduce them to feminism, I’m full of hope that finally there will be women with whom to discuss and further radical feminism, just BE with them and not in dissonance as it usually is with colonised women, but at some point they end up betraying me, hurting me, they stop and stagnate in the middle of their tracks, may revert even, turn against me, because i’m too far ahead and they can’t go there yet, because they’re not ready to meet certain feminist standards, they have a boyfriend who keeps undoing what she just learned, they’re still not feminist enough to value our friendship and the feminist space we’re giving each other, they have no idea how rare and precious it is, or may still prefer male company. It hurts every time the same.

At first I was always wrought from brain contortion by trying to figure out what I’d done wrong for them to do that to me, I’d go over and over the situation to decrypt some hidden understanding I might have missed, something I could do so it wouldn’t repeat itself. But something new always crept up again. And I had enough, I had to find a way to protect myself because the whole thing is just too unbearable, it’s not feminist to let myself continually be hurt by women. So recently I’ve figured out a pattern: that every time a woman does this to me, this weird turning down and gaslighting or whatever she chooses to do to harm me, it’s because she was type #2 colonised. It is the common denominator to all these women, no matter how ‘almost there yet’ I thought they were. It never happens with women who aren’t type #2 colonised, or if it does happen, it mends itself easily, I know I can trust them and I don’t feel like our relationship will be threatened every minute, not knowing what to expect from them.

Through thinking and talking with other radfems, I came to the conclusion that it’s just too dangerous to have high expectations of and become emotionally close to women who aren’t yet radical feminists, in the nut sense – especially women who are still with men and colonised by those men. They are too occupied by men’s violence to prevent themselves from exposing it to you too, they will inevitably turn against you because it’s the way male colonisation is configured to work, there’s nothing personal about it; so long as they’re colonised they will be likely to turn down the relationships with women that are most likely to lead them to feminism or free them from men or embedded maleness.

Even just acquaintance-type, friendly interaction with a colonised woman is stressful because I know to some extent that I can’t rely on her, that I’ll be in the waiting for her for whatever we’re involved in together because she might pull away for being freaked out by what I say, cancel meetings in the last minute because of a dude or out of disrespect to my time and won’t take me and our/my projects or work seriously enough because we’re women, I’m a woman, and a feminist. Or she’ll expect me to abide to mindfucking politeness rules that are impossible not to break. She won’t share with me the same desperate need to talk about feminism, blame men and value feminist discussions, spinning and sparking. Now I know for my own safety not to expect too much of colonised women, to not place too much hope in them, not to drain my energy – and trust that they will take their own path in their own time even if they end up rejecting the stuff I say (and myself with it) at the beginning. I won’t take it personally any more.

My disposition now is to what I can do, say as much truth as I can in the short time I have, and then run away to leave her with processing while maintaining distant contact in case she’s ready to move forward again. Becoming close to her too soon is not only risky for me but for her too, as it might damage any chance of being there when she’ll really need it: because it gives her the opportunity to destroy that relationship before she can appreciate what it means.

**

Male psychic colonisation is the most deadly and effective way for men to maintain our submission. It consists in them turning our uncontrolled self-defence mechanisms against ourselves, so that each time we defend and seek to protect ourselves from male threat, we hurt ourselves, not them. Hereunder are a few illustrations to make my point clear

Case #1: reduced psychic colonisation.

low colonisation

This illustration isn’t describing the ‘transitional’ situation #1 as written above, but rather a post-first-transition situation, after a first leap into radical feminism / lucidity or male-myth cracking. In this situation, psychic colonisation may still subsist in the form of PTSD. That is, we are still internally inhabited or spooked by men’s violence (past or present) through traumatic memory and may continue to act in ways that go against our interest or expose ourselves to violence, but we are aware of its workings to a certain extent and continually seek to free ourselves further from the layers of embedded trauma / male violence.

#2: strong psychic colonisation

high colonisation

Another way of putting embedded maleness: instead of being whole like this:

looking whole

We are pushed outside of ourselves like this: (it’s as if we take the shape of the impact of men’s violation)

impact male violation

In this state, we are colonised, occupied in every sense: men occupy us totally, it is a totalitarian regime in every possible aspect.

PHYSICALLY: men physically and sexually violate us with extreme frequency and severity (PIV, impregnation and sexual violence and harassment), enforce lack or absence of physical and body autonomy, privacy and integrity, restrict and tailor our physical and biological movement in many ways. Men can touch, grab, verbally invade, take and penetrate us whenever they want, impose their presence on us. The repeated and ongoing nature of men’s sexual and physical violence and our captivity to those men who claim ownership rights over us, makes escaping psychic and spiritual colonisation by those men almost impossible, even without their added tools of anti-woman propaganda, reversals, erasure and brainwashing and their whole system that supports them.

SPIRITUALLY: we are constantly spooked and spiritually invaded / alienated by men’s virtual presence. Our soul is driven outside of ourselves through forced dissociation, because we wouldn’t otherwise be able to survive the amount of violence and invasion men inflict on us. We are like ghosts trapped outside of ourselves in nothingness, somewhere between life and death. We follow our lost, invaded self/body around from outside of ourselves with melancholy and a painful sense of loss and separation, without understanding where the pain comes from, believing men’s lies that it’s because we lack them or their attention, instead of lacking ourselves.

PSYCHICALLY: men occupy our thoughts at all times, there is no thoughtspace left for ourselves, we are not allowed to go to the end of our thoughts, we aren’t allowed to even think of being free from men or from thinking about them. We have to control our thoughts so they don’t deviate from submission to men and their orders. We identify to men and no longer to ourselves, we are in a constant state of terror and occupied by obsessive, circular, anxious thoughts.

Psychic and spiritual colonisation is nothing else but trauma-bonding or stockholm syndrome to men or their virtual substitutes (institutions, ideologies, beliefs… such as religion, male gods, universities, states, the law, corporations, schools of thought / political dogmas such as marxism, any form of male instituted dom/sub hierarchy or status, or female token torturers). For more on trauma-bonding and stockholm syndrome, see my previous post on heterosexual grooming, FCM’s excellent post on trauma-bonding or Dee Graham on societal stockholm syndrome. Colonisation is indeed achieved through trauma-bonding. The latter far encompasses so-called “love” relations to individual men, that’s just ONE aspect of it. As all men are our oppressors, their oppression is inescapable and we are forced into dependence on them, we necessarily trauma-bond to ALL men as a class, and their virtual substitutes.

Trauma-bonding and stockholm syndrome, at their very basic, work through a reversal and mindfuck which is achieved through men holding us captive to them.

The way they hold us captive so we can’t escape their sexual violence is by making us dependent on them for our physical, emotional, psychic, economic survival. We have no other choice but to depend on them or their institutions in order to survive and EXIST. This is the reversal / mindfuck / paradox: we’re thus dependent on their violence to survive, but their violence is precisely what destroys us and threatens our survival. The reason it works so well is because on top of this they erase our awareness and memory of the violence from our consciousness, through gaslighting, isolation of women and reversals (such as PIV/rape is love-making, marriage is romantic and being exploited for a salary is independence). IOW they wipe off all external and internal reality of the violence from our minds and prevent us from naming and identifying it, which causes amnesia, dissociation and burial of our awareness in the traumatic, unconscious memory. The violence thus disappears from our conscious perception and we experience this captivity and violence on a conscious level only as being saved and helped by men or by their virtual substitutes. It’s a very clever illusionist trick that men play on our psyches.

As we can no longer experience or perceive men’s violence directly and therefore can no longer identify men as violent, our terror of men is thus misdirected, too.

So on the conscious level, men’s violence has disappeared because we dissociate and we see them as our saviours or life/existence-givers (they have right of life and death over us). Our terror of men is thus experienced not as terror from their actual violence but as terror of losing them (or their substitutes) as our vital saviours and protectors. Loss of that man or male substitute is seen as annihilation or as a threat to our physical, economic, emotional or psychic survival, rather than the violence itself seen as annihilation. It’s a reversal.

As an example, a woman might not go into feminism because she is economically and emotionally dependent on her husband and thinks that she would be homeless and nothing without him, therefore that he protects her. So if she went to the end of her thoughts, that all men are violent oppressors including the man she lives with, her actions would have to follow and she would have to leave that boyfriend but as she sees leaving him as a threat to her life, she stops her thoughts from going there. The thing is that the reversal or myth that the boyfriend is protecting her is based on a half-truth, and that’s why it works well: she is in effect made to be dependent on him. But it’s a complete lie that she can’t live without him or find an accommodation without his financial help, it’s a lie that he’s supporting her since he’s stealing or appropriating her own resources, time and and work, and it’s a lie that he’s protecting her, since he’s invading and violating her. The truth is that she will be far better off without him, in every possible way.

You can replicate this model for anything patriarchal that women fear to lose. Reformism, status, male ideology, etc. It is always based on the lie that our life, career, social recognition, meaning of life, existence depends on it and that these things are helping us, making our lives better. What makes the violence and the illusions / lies inherent in them harder to acknowledge still is that it means letting the reality of the pain and the reality of our situation coming back to us in full blow, it means to reintegrate. And it may be very painful at first, there may be a lot of grieving necessary, to grieve what we have lost of ourselves, what men have destroyed in us. It means letting go of what we built our lives around, admitting that we built our whole lives around myths, lies and self-destruction. It means making a leap into dramatic change, and overcoming the fear of change, or rather redirecting our fear towards men instead of ourselves. The biggest lie of all is that it’s difficult to make the leap. It’s actually really easy, once the spell is broken, the change happens viscerally. What is difficult is to bear male reality on an every day basis, to face your unbearable loneliness because most of the women around you may not have followed your leap and you see them still in middle of destruction. But this is a million times better still than being colonised.

Second, in a colonised state the threat of men is experienced no longer as coming from men, but from:

#1: OTHER WOMEN / FEMINISTS: what we have to cling on (male attention) is a scarce resource and we are in constant threat of it being taken away (loss is inherent to it because the resource in question in a myth, it doesn’t exist: men have never loved, supported, cared for us): as a result any woman is seen as a competitor, an enemy and threat to our access to this perceived vital resource – even in feminism. So we believe that by eliminating other women, by turning them down, pushing them away, sabotaging their work – as a way of eliminating competition (for male recognition, status, resource, etc.), this will increase our chance for survival. The very nature and structure of men’s oppressive system does this, because we don’t have the power to attack men anyway and we attack those who won’t retaliate: women – but men reinforce this dynamic tenfold with this form of colonisation and pervasive woman-hating propaganda, next to constant glorification of men, which means that women despise and distrust other women all the more. What all of this does of course is that we keep betraying each other, destroying our only allies, our own kind, the only bond that saves us from men’s deadly hold.

#2: The threat is experienced as coming from OURSELVES. This is the deadliest of all. everything in ourselves is experienced as as an obstacle to pleasing men (or their substitute) and therefore as an obstacle for gaining this perceived vital male resource, as an obstacle for our survival / existence. We are forced to into ourselves what defects may have caused his anger, his coldness or inattention, his sadism, or to blame ourselves for our lack of social (male) recognition, our lack of (male) status. This is reinforced by men’s reversal of guilt both on an individual and systemic level, and ongoing, all-pervasive woman-hating propaganda in the form of mind and body surveillance dictates.

Any part of our body or thought may be seen as an obstacle to pleasing men and therefore as a threat to our existence, since our body and thoughts never fit to men’s standards, as their purpose is to destroy us, not for us to fit in. A pimple, skin colour, stretch mark, hairs, nose shape, stomach shape, leg shape, hair form and colour, eating food, clothing, body noise, body smell, sweat, body functions or body fluids (etc.), ALL of which are NATURAL and NORMAL human features, will terrorise and disgust us beyond limit. We will hate every fragment of our body and it can be as strong as wanting to rip off our own skin.

Since we are alive and that means we ARE all the time, our body / self is transformed into a PERMANENT threat, at all times. AT ALL TIMES we have to survey our existence, at all times there will be a protruding hair, stomach, foot, pimple, eyebrow, chin, buttock, fingernail to punish. Since we are alive and not dead, there will always be a movement of body or thought to control, it never stops so long as we’re still alive. So it’s like trying to kill ourselves and our natural life movement every second of the day. This is the form that mental occupation takes when we are not possessed / obsessed in thought by an individual man (“love relationship”): the constant, ongoing thought and body control, obsessing every minute of the day about whether our body will be good enough for us to survive in the eyes of men.

What it means is that men have managed to turn our very breathing, Being, into our enemy. It is an unbearable mindfuck and paradox: our existence is made to be a threat to our existence – which is what it means by turning our vital life energy and survival movement against ourselves. This is terrible because it makes every minute of our life excruciatingly painful as we are forced to become a constant burden to ourselves, which makes us want to disappear. We are ripped off of ourselves, committing small suicides, mutilating our life, spontaneity, our creative movement, our organic and biological functions. The end result of this is death.

This I believe is the depth of men’s genocide against women, this inside, every day murder. It is the invisible yet ubiquitous killing of each woman – all the more effective that men have made women do it to ourselves and each other and erased this killing from our conscious perception – from the inside as well as the outside, it looks like the victimless crime, the perfect crime. Their system is very well rounded. But the reality of the violence and the consequences never lie, we are the most colonised, destroyed and traumatised, dissociated people on earth – the signs are there for whoever wants to see them, no matter how much men try to hide it. So just to conclude that when we speak of colonised women, we speak of women who are in terror, a terror which even they themselves aren’t completely aware of since that terror of being annihilated by men is not only misdirected against themselves or other women but completely normalised and made invisible as femininity.

When we’re angry against women

I’ve finally figured something out. That we’re not supposed to be angry against women, as in, our anger against women is purely manufactured by men. And if we are angry, we’re angry against the male colonisation in her, not really her, though what happens is that we confuse it with the woman and hit on her instead.

This ’embedded maleness’ or ‘incarnate male presence’ as Mary Daly called it, are insidious male ideologies that men have hammered into our psyche, like an anti-personnel landmine fastened inside us which explodes in contact of other women, so that women turn against us, instead of turning against men and feeling sorry or compassion for the pitiable state that men have put us in. The things the colonised woman does out of male colonisation are effectively unbearable, or even violent because embedded maleness will always externally discharge as token torturing of other women, since it’s set up as an inside dagger pointed against all women, including the woman colonised by it, because she’s a woman too. Therefore what we must always remember is that the landmine explosion is hurting the woman infiltrated by the landmine as much as women in her surroundings. Or to put in another way, it can’t fuck with my mind without it having already fucked up hers.

I knew that on an intellectual level you see, but somehow I didn’t apply it to all cases. I would get frustrated or really angry with some women because she would want to hurt me, she would be too alienated for me to be able to communicate with her, or she would talk or write in such a male bespoken or mindfucking way that it would drive me crazy. But instead of being angry against the maleness in her, I would be angry against her, in person. What it does on an interpersonal level is that I am endlessly angry against this woman and this anger has no limit at all either in time or depth. This is because woman hatred has no bottom to it. You might as well do it forever, the reason for this is because being angry against a woman doesn’t change anything to the situation, doesn’t unblock the lock or repair the tension, it’s like running endlessly on a hamster wheel and you can feel that it’s destroying you, too. This is fundamentally because the anger is misdirected. It’s completely the wrong target. You’re targeting the victim and there’s nothing she can do for that anger. It’s not the woman’s fault she’s behaving that way, it really isn’t, but the fault of men who buried their phallocratic presence into her head, it’s the fault of that crept-in phallocratic presence. She’s behaving as an automaton for men, as a vehicle for MALE violence; it doesn’t belong to her as a woman, it belongs only to men.

Being angry against a woman for her male-embedded behaviour is destructive because it’s based on misogyny and reversal of blame, which may ultimately lead to death, because misogyny is genocide of women and necrophilia. I’m saying that because I really do feel the death and dead-endedness of anger against women.

The changing factor was to stop seeing the shit coming from her. I suddenly had this image of my friend as her whole body strangled and tangled with barbed wire and the needles sinking into her skin. The only way for her to stop the harm she was doing was by realising what harm she had been put into herself, because only then would she understand why it’s harmful to others. So I should consider it as our common interest to exorcise her from that entrapment. And it IS our common interest as women, because there’s no liberation if she doesn’t free herself from that black blob or the barbed wire. She’ll continue to harm other women and harm herself. She should better figure out how to break that evil spell on her, for instance by naming what that behaviour is, what it does, where it comes from, that it isn’t her self acting but a persona acting on behalf of men, and try to decolonise from it, break the mechanism down and get rid of it – or ‘exorcise’ it, which is a term Mary Daly used.

Before you’re all up in arms against me for saying that we should embrace token torturers and antifeminists as our best friends, that’s really not what I’m saying. What I’m suggesting is a way of understanding our own anger against any women and how we react to other women’s embedded maleness (in ANY form), what is our disposition to it so that we don’t let that blob fulfil its purpose of destroying ourselves and wreaking havoc between women, between me and her. It’s a way of cracking the blob’s soul-killing projectiles, of neutralising its deadliness. It can be with women we don’t know and whom we’ll never get to know, or with women we know and are close to, the workings are the same. It may not imply interacting with her if you don’t want to and if it’s unsafe or abusive for you to do so then it’s best to run away fast, but at least having that understanding preserves from self-destroying in pointless rage against her.

So what it means as well from an ethical standpoint is that it’s possible to consider a woman responsible for her actions in the sense that she’s the one doing it and she only has the responsibility and moral obligation to stop doing it – and at the same time see that it’s not her own agency and integrity acting because she’s been implanted with this horrible man-made self-destruction weapon inside her, telling her to go against her own interest, her own good and the good of her own kind: women.

See, this principle works with women only because women have a default humanity underneath the male layers of shit, and only women can be colonised by maleness / male violence. Women aren’t natural mindfuckers, we are born integral and healthy, or this is the way we are meant to be at least. We become more like men because we are forced to assimilate to them through violence and trauma which turns us into a sort of victim mirror image to them. But this isn’t how we would normally be. Men obviously can’t be colonised by maleness because men already *are* men, they *are* the male colonisers. It’s not only false but really dangerous to project our being and experience of oppression onto our oppressors, to apply the same kind of understanding with men because it keeps us exposed to their violence without the man or men ever changing for the good: it will only make them worse in fact, because men knowing exactly what you think of them and you intend to do increases their lethality.

Grooming / pimping into heterosexuality: politics of love pt II.

Part I is here.

No woman is heterosexual. What men call heterosexuality is an institution where men make women captive for PIV, to control our reproductive functions and steal our labour. Heterosexuality, or sexuality with men does not exist, because the only relationship to men that exists is men’s violence, physical and mental invasion – one that men have so well crafted and disguised for so long that we can mistake it for attraction, sexual urges or love. All women’s “attraction” to men is 100% eroticised trauma bonding / stockholm syndrome. There is no other form of attraction to men possible than that. None. Any woman “sexually” or “sentimentally” attached to a man is ONLY trauma-bonded to him. This is a universal rule under patriarchy.

[To clarify, I use trauma-bonding and stockholm syndrome (or societal stockholm syndrome) interchangeably. To me it’s the same thing that’s being described, except that I find that the word ‘trauma-bonding’ more accurately defines the context of violence + response to it than a word with “Stockholm” and “syndrome” in it. It’s clear: you bond as a reaction to violence-trauma.]

As a historical note, the term “heterosexuality” only started to be used in the late 19th century by the male psycho contingents and was first coined by a German man apparently (this is in the context of Freudian psychoanalytical backlash against women). It was invented to replace the term “normalsexual” – which was probably too overtly political – and to oppose it to “homosexual”. The men in the psychogenocidal departments invented it for the following purposes:

  1. pathologise lesbianism (and homosexuality) and treat it as a deviance to be cured punished. / pathologise women who resisted PIV and marriage and chose to bond with women instead;
  2. define men’s sexual ownership of women as the norm (= their use of women as dick holes and breeders = rape /impregnation / forced childbearing /abuse);
  3. define men’s sexual ownership of women as a “sexuality” and “sexual orientation” so to hide the violence of it;

  4. naturalise it, that is, define it as a natural biological drive in both men AND women.

If we look at the etymology of the term:

Heteros = different (from the greek).

Sexuality = sexuality.

So the literal meaning of heterosexuality = sexual orientation/ attraction / practice of sexual & love relationship with a member of the opposite sex. Does the word “heterosexuality” define the reality of our relationship to men in patriarchy? Nope. We need to stop using that word and the word “straight” when referring to women occupied by men, because it’s incorrect. I also often see the term “heteronormativity” flying around. This applies only to men. Women are within no norm in the “hetero” world, because we’re not the beneficiary subjects of it, we’re the primary victims and targets of it. !!

Back to where I started. We really need to know and understand how our traumatic responses to men work. I see some feminists wondering why women would still be attracted to men after becoming feminist, why they would stay around to “date” them. They don’t understand why these women would remain “het” if they’ve been able to see how dangerous men are. Not to mention those who believe the only reason women stay with men is for supposed “benefits” – forgetting along the way that forced proximity (captivity) to men + PIV/male violence is THE definition of our oppression and that there is no way we can benefit from it! None at all, ever ever! To believe that, is to believe MEN’S anti-woman lies that oppression is good or natural for us. That we can somehow enjoy it, want it or cope with it. This is a lie; it’s not feminist to believe that, it doesn’t fit our reality at all. Really, this is basic understanding of how men’s violence and brainwashing operate.

Men know how we react to their violence and deliberately manipulate our responses to increase their control over us, and to decrease the efforts it takes them to do so. It’s in men’s interest to disguise their violence as much as possible. It’s not for nothing that modern western patriarchy has perfected “psycho” and “behavioural” (brainwashing and mind-control) sciences for centuries as a powerful anti-women’s liberation tool, and that men rely so heavily on it to keep us at their knees, or rather, below their dicks. It’s part of the global male infrastructure that ensures men a constant supply of ready-tamed and pre-possessed women to effortlessly stick their dicks in, impregnate and abuse. The more it grows, the easier it is for each individual man to break any woman’s will and trick her into PIV and being owned by him – and maintain submission level with the help of men’s institutions.

And so to groom women into “heterosexuality”, the most efficient form of mind-control they found is to traumatise women from birth through parental/family/child (often sexual) abuse – and from then on, use this traumatic memory/PTSD to abuse women without women being aware of it (or of the extent of it). The point is to drive the abuse directly into our unconscious, making it impossible for us to escape it because we’re no longer able to perceive men’s abuse as abusive at the conscious level. In other words, the strategy is to program us to respond to men’s violence through dissociation and trauma-bonding, and cloak/rename these responses as “love” or “attraction” to men – so on the top of it they make us believe we want it.

Let’s recall what trauma-bonding is: if we look at Dee Graham’s work (p.4, Loving to Survive), for a woman to trauma-bond to a man:

  1. she must perceive her captor – the man – as having powers of life and death over her

  2. she must believe that she cannot escape, and that therefore her life depends on her captor

  3. she must be isolated from outsiders so that his perspective is the only perspective available

  4. she must feel as if her captor – the man – showed her some kindness or attention.

This situation of captor-to-hostage is the situation of all women to all men. (This is also the point that D.G. makes in her book). That is, all men hold all women captive. All women are prisoners and hostages to men’s world. Men’s world is like a vast prison or concentration camp for women. This isn’t a metaphor, it’s reality. Each man is a threat. We can’t escape men. We are forced to depend on men and male infrastructures for our survival. Men’s perspective (and men’s language that names their perspective) is the only perspective available and we are isolated from other women and woman-centred perspectives. Not all men rape / abuse us at all times – a man just being polite might cause us to feel grateful and t-b.

So just by looking at the reality of men’s domination of women, it holds that emotional or sexual attachment to men can always only be trauma-bonding, because for it not to be trauma-bonding, men would have to not be our oppressors. But there’s more to this than what Dee Graham says, so I’m building on her theory here.

The reason so many of us trauma-bond so instantly and intensely to men in our proximity and sometimes to just any man that crosses our way, whether we are lesbian, celibate, separatist or “het”, is that we are programmed and groomed to react in this way to male threat since birth. The key to understanding this is dissociation, since trauma-bonding is a form of dissociation; so before I continue into the female child-grooming theory i’ll explain what I mean by dissociation and why trauma-bonding is a form of dissociation. Sorry if it’s a bit long but I have yet to find a shorter way of explaining it.

Dissociation is a normal survival reaction to intentional, human(male) violence. The condition for dissociation is when we perceive we can’t escape the violence, and are “frozen” on the spot. Most if not all men’s violence against women fits this criteria, because it takes place within a context of captivity to men. The closer and more dependent on the abuser we are, the more we will have to dissociate, especially at young age, especially if the abuse is ongoing. Also, the more the violence is socially hidden, unnamed, denied or renamed as something else, the more likely we are to dissociate from it, because we can’t connect our response to the situation (we feel bad but can’t perceive the violence as violence). This is a mindfuck which causes freeze fright, and dissociation.

Dissociation is when, in a situation of being trapped in violence, the brain creates a neuronal short-circuit so we don’t die of stress. Stress/fear is a normal reaction to an endangering, unsafe situation and means that adrenalin and cortisol gets sent to the heart and brain to react fast, think fast and get away fast. If we can’t make sense of the danger and get away from it, the brain shuts everything down to stop the emergency reaction from continuing (the sending of adrenalin + cortisol) because otherwise it could intoxicate our body and we can die from it. The brain then sends some other drugs (close to endorphin and Ketamine) to create an amnesia or blank in the mind, and to numb the pain. This is dissociation. Other ways of sending these dissociative drugs than directly from the brain is through genital arousal, trauma-bonding, or by taking external drugs such as alcohol or other anaesthetisers. Dissociation is what causes the traumatic memory, that is, unconscious memory of the violence which remains stuck in the lymphatic system (short-term memory place) because of the short-circuit – it couldn’t connect to the other parts of the brain anymore to get into the long-term memory, where we store our experiences and can learn from them. The memory never being processed, it comes back to us in invasive ways – either through flashes, dreams, sensations, or in more cryptic ways such as with somatic disorders, re-enacting similar trauma with other people, etc.

So yes, dissociation works like a DRUG, whether as an internal biological/chemical function or with the help of external products, when the internal one is no longer strong enough to numb the pain. This means that we may become addicted to the dissociation, and therefore the violence that triggers the dissociative state might become addictive too. And men make sure that the only available activities for women are violent and dissociative: from PIV to mutilating “femininity” practices to social binge drinking to traumatic relationships or workaholism, etc.

When we think of dissociation we imagine extreme torture and then feeling outside of our body, or feeling high: even if it can be that, very often it may be as simple as having a blank in the mind after seeing a misogynist advert, or forgetting the conversation you were having as you saw a man sexually harass his “girlfriend”, or feeling aroused when you come across a man that looks like the one you’ve previously trauma-bonded to / or who previously abused you, or having the urge to drink a glass of beer after some men insulted you (just to give some random examples). Because men’s violence is present in our everyday lives, so is dissociation, but most often we don’t realise how disconnected we are until we reconnect again some way or another and become more aware of the violence.

Now to heterosexuality and dissociation. Relationships with men or any sexual intention from their part is, when not repulsive and making you want to run away – necessarily dissociative and trauma-bonding. That’s because of the combined violence/perceived niceness inherent in “heterosexuality” (+ points 1, 2 and 3 from Grahams’s conditions for stockholm syndrome).

  1. To trauma-bond, on top of everything D.G said, there needs to be actual violence or threat of violence, not just the perception of it. Our perceptions and responses never trick us, we only trauma-bond to people who represent a real threat or within an unequal, unsafe setting. Being around any man constitutes a threat to us, because they are our oppressors. Being wanted by a man and him treating you as if you were his is inherently violent. That’s anything from him showing he wants you, “dating” with you, being in a relationship or married to him. In either case, it consists in some kind of physical or mental violation from his part, on top of the constant threat of PIV/rape he represents as a man, whether he decides to enforce it or not.

  2. Second, men brainwash women into believing that a man wanting us is positive attention. Worse, we are persuaded that we can’t EXIST, be happy and whole if a man doesn’t want us. They conduct heavy brainwashing on girls and women to force the perspective that PIV isn’t rape but “sex”, that sexual harassment is “seduction”, “courting” and men owning us is “love”, “romance”. We are to actively seek men to want us and this should be at the centre of all our worries and activities. And no matter how violent he is when he wants us, it means he likes me. We should be grateful.

Because of this, anything within “heterosexuality” from men merely being polite in our presence to “dating”, to buying us a drink to regular PIV/rape to brutally attacking us may cause a similar reaction of trauma-bonding (depending on how groomed to it we are in the first place) because if he wants us, it means positive attention. And a man “liking us” means EXISTING, being saved, rescued from non-existence or near death. And so we may feel grateful for that attention even if it was horrendous, horribly destructive – we may go back to him because we feel guilty not to show our gratitude for that attention. We feel obligated to thank him. We are left to blame ourselves for the awfulness of the experience, because there is no other explanation available to us. It’s our fault if it felt wrong, we just chose the wrong guy, we’re not liberated enough to enjoy it, we didn’t do enough to please him, etc.

This means that male sexualised invasion (heterosexuality) is essentially a mindfuck. The violent/nice aspect of it is inherent to heterosexuality. What’s perceived as nice IS the act of invasion itself, there is no separation between the perceived acts of niceness and the violence here. So if we’re made dependent on male sexual violence, perceived as positive attention, it is experienced only through a dissociated state. We can’t experience the violence on a conscious level because we can’t see why it makes us feel awful despite the “love/attraction” (Trauma-b.). We know we feel bad but we can’t connect it to the situation because it can only mean positive attention. And there is nothing, nobody to confirm the reality of this violence. We can only deny, suppress our responses and dissociate from it – and blame ourselves for feeling bad. It’s a mindfuck because it’s a paradox: the thing we are told is supposed to do most good to us, what we are supposed to cling on for life and seek forever, is exactly what does most harm to us. On one hand our existence is made to depend on being wanted by a man, but on the other our existence is endangered by being around with this man. If we can’t make sense of it, we stay trapped, freeze fright, and trauma-bond to the man.

So because of this nice/violent mindfuck nature of male sexual invasion (heterosexuality), dissociation is almost automatic, and it takes the form of trauma-bonding. We flip to this TB state in men’s presence all the more automatically if we were “drugged” on it for years, especially if we had lots of PIV/rape that caused genital arousal, which increases the intensity of TB tenfold (the intensity of TB and dissociation is always proportionate to the violence). It intoxicates us and we immediately lose our senses, it’s like being driven outside of our body. It’s like being an empty shell filled up by him, clinging on to him even if he’s a bastard. It instantly creates a state of melancholia because we’re driven outside of ourselves, but because we’re colonised by the guy we think it’s because we’re missing HIM. In fact we’re missing ourself and it feels very painful, like you’re being eaten up from the inside. This is the ongoing genocide of women by men. Even though they kill many of us, they need us alive and tied to them so they can keep using for PIV/reproduction, so what they do is kill us from the inside as much as they possibly can, drive us outside of our bodies, into exile from ourselves.

This automatic trauma-bonding reaction to men that we might mistake for sexual urges or falling in love is one of the main reasons separatism from men is so important. As long as men are our oppressors and probably as long as they have dicks, they will be a threat so the only way to prevent TB from happening is to avoid any close contact with men. if we TB, it’s not in our control, especially if we were heavily “drugged” on TB / PIV before. Choosing to be only around with women isn’t a special identity or a VIP radfem status that other lesser feminists have to attain, it’s a matter of protection. Even after several years of not interacting with men any more and choosing to love only women, I still get invasive flashes and dreams of PIV/rape, and I still TB to men if I can’t avoid them and they’re “friendly”. I hope it will dissipate more over time though.

The reason we may switch to TB to men so quickly in the first place though, instead of other forms of dissociation or being horrified by what boys and men are and avoiding them like the plague, is really because men program us to react in that way to abuse from since we are born, and by the time we’re grown up, this mechanism becomes like a second skin. TB to parents/fathers, more than any other form of dissociation, is the primary template to which we are raised as girls, which men then build on to abuse us as adult women. It would be completely impossible for men to subordinate us the way they do without parental/men’s abuse of girls.

now please enjoy my super diagram on child grooming!

grooming girls

Some notes on the diagram: the centre of the circle is the core, bare minimum of child abuse inherent in the patriarchal “family”. IOW the conditions in which women give birth to girls are inherently abusive in patriarchy. We are owned by a woman who’s owned and abused herself by a man.

Basically with girls we have the same configuration, the same paradox as with heterosexuality where the very people who we’re emotionally and physically dependent on to survive are those who are endangering our life, attacking our integrity through treating us as possessions, lack of care, neglect and abuse. We can’t escape our parents: abandonment effectively means death. We are terrorised of being further harmed or abandoned.

Because there is no way as a baby, infant or child to make sense of this mindfuck violence as the reality of it is never named or confirmed, as we are utterly alone with our suffering and powerless in this situation, our instinctual reaction is to trauma-bond to our parents and blame ourselves for their mistreatment. We think that if they don’t take care of me or treat me badly, it’s because they don’t like me, because I’m bad, I’m not lovable, I’m a stain, I’m disposable, I’m a monster inside, I’m not worth being loved and protected, I’m a bad girl.Winning our parents’ approval and pleasing them, desperately wanting to be “loved” by them and dissociating from the neglect or abuse is a survival reaction.

This abusive captivity to owners (parents) is called family and love, and we are supposed to be forever grateful to our parents.

To this captivity/trauma-bonding we add patriarchal “education”, often administered from birth, which consists in suppressing in the child any expressions of anger, distress (which is always justified) or individual will, through punishments and rewards. If a child cries or screams, to express normal needs or protest her condition, she has to be “corrected” by being shouted at, scorned, finger wagged, put in a corner or beaten. She might also be rewarded by attention or good marks for being obedient. Then adults deny us the right to express any anger or resistance to this treatment, because “it’s for our own good”. This is the slow but steady grooming to dissociate from violence – being punished for reacting to the violence, and the reality of the violence being constantly denied, we learn to suppress our normal responses to abuse and our capacity to defend ourselves from it. We learn to fragment our minds and experience the ongoing violence only on an unconscious level, to survive. The more extreme the violence, as in with severe psychological, sexual or physical abuse, the more we live in dissociation.

To this, of course, we add steady grooming to sexually service men and brainwashing into PIV, constant sexual harassment and abuse from men in general, mutilating femininity practices and general hatred of females.

This is the template on which grooming to heterosexuality is fixed. I think the reason we can so easily switch to trauma-bonding to men, experience men’s approval as such a matter of life or death, perceive that our self-worth is so dependent on somebody else’s external attention even if they are repugnant oafs, is because this is how we learned to live and survive as a child, from birth. Then we simply continue to adapt in this way to male violence as we grow, we know no other way to react to abuse. The system of captivity to parents is the same as with male ownership / relationships to men. Same isolation, same captivity, same need to dissociate / TB from ongoing abuse, etc. There’s no way we would dissociate so easily from men’s abuse were it not for this treatment as girls. There’s no way we would go near men at all.

So, all these words to explain in every way possible that heterosexuality doesn’t exist and our “urges” to bond with them emotionally or sexually aren’t natural drives but normal PTSD reactions to years of abuse and mind-programming.

Radical feminist, you say?

I have been quite a few years now around various “radical feminist communities”, enough to notice that the majority of women who claim to be radical feminist, lesbian feminist or radical lesbian feminist today don’t in fact get anywhere near the ethical, pro-woman and anti-violence behaviour they claim to believe in or embody. They are simply not the radical feminist or radical lesbian feminist community they claim to represent, but a sad parody of it, and actively prevent women’s liberation from men, from men’s control, men’s violence and parasitism.

This is a difficult topic and a difficult post, but the reason I venture to talk about this is because as radical feminists I believe we have a moral duty to take a stand against harmful behaviours within groups that claim to be radfem, and make it easier for us to identify it and disengage from it. It’s not about criticising women’s individual behaviour but seeing it as politicised destruction of female truth-sayers and male-organised erasure of radical feminism, the transformative and liberating kind. I want to take women seriously and hold each other responsible and accountable for our actions, and also want to be truthful about what represents itself as the radfem movement today and what consequences it has on women, so it can be discussed.

When we look at the more radical spectrum of feminism (this excludes the funfem, queer, pomo, liberal, conservative kind), within this range there are still quite a few ideologies to be found that are toxic to radical feminism. What’s confusing is that the women who buy into those ideologies claim to be radfem, which makes the phallacies more difficult to spot if we’re not used to it. They will say some things that make sense or that borrow from radical feminist theory (anti-rape, anti male violence, anti pornstitution, anti-queer, etc.) yet some aspects will feel like a false note, will feel wrong, empty, plastic, thought-terminating. Amongst those ‘plastic’ or ‘potted’ feminisms (terms coined by Mary Daly) we can find liberal influenced feminisms and reformist activism (the men can change trope), male-friendly feminism, “gender roles/dom-sub as the problem” feminism, radical lesbianism, pro-PIV or pro-relationships with men, intersectionality, refusal to see men as inherently violent – just to name a few.

I’m not going to go into those different ideologies specifically and how they trap women into murky male quicksands because it would take pages to take them down separately and it isn’t the point here.

The fact is that all those different groups have in common the following:

  • they claim to be radical feminist / lesbian radical feminist;

  • they repeat or produce key radical feminist ideas (anti rape, anti porn, anti prostitution, anti male violence against women, sometimes even anti-PIV or anti men)

  • but their analyses are partially flawed or truncated or obfuscate some of the truth, whichever the male ideology it is intoxicated with;

  • The women have reached a certain feminist consciousness but freeze at a given point because of a perceived interest in doing so (status, regognition, publicity, hierarchy, group inclusion, any male carrot)

  • continually forwarding, developing and improving radical feminist thought and action is only secondary (or inexistant) to their aims;

  • In practice, their relationships are ridden with violence which prevents women from moving, and they have to deny this violence in order to keep hold on their male carrot (whichever it is). This ‘freeze’ state is thus maintained through violence and brainwashing.

I’m going to focus on the last point because that’s the most important here. It’s not enough to dislike men, or be anti-pornstitution and anti-lots of things, or to throw some theory or quotes here and there. The base of radical feminism – before we even look at ways of understanding, naming and explaining men’s violence, how it affects us and how it works on many different levels – is to identify the danger and get away from danger. May I repeat: to get away from danger – whichever the danger, from PIV to physical and verbal abuse to mind control to exploitation, etc. If you identify actions that endanger your integrity and expose women to violence, our responsibility is to get away from it, and if we can, to encourage other women to get away from it and identify the source of danger – with all the deprogramming it may entail. Radical feminism, at its core, is about ending all forms of abuse against women and in our own lives, whether it is exercised by men or by male-colonised and mind-controlled women.

This is basic radical feminism and also very basic, common-sense ethics and human decency. When we see abuse in our groups, we need to 1) always empathise and side with the (female) victim, including ourselves, and refuse to identify to the abuser or give excuses for it – and 2) disengage as soon as possible from the abusive woman / group if she/they refuse to stop (with men it’s different, they are inherently abusive so we need to get away from them regardless). If the abuse doesn’t stop, there is no point in negotiating because she will continue to use you for her abuse as long as you are in her reach.

So: side with the victim, cut all proximity and contact with the abusive woman or group if she/they continue despite being warned, and warn other women about the abusive behaviour so they don’t get trapped into it either, to prevent new victims to be drawn in. This might mean leaving the whole group if the others happen to side with the abuser and try to shut you up for calling it out. It might be a difficult decision but it’s a necessary one, because it means leaving an unsafe, dangerous environment where the costs of staying are far too important, regardless of the perceived benefits. The world is big, possibilities are infinite, it is a lie and a reversal that your life and sanity depends on this group. And if it’s me being abusive, I need to stop immediately and thereby try to understand why I need to inflict pain on others or to control others, what pain or fear am I trying to escape by doing so, so I won’t repeat the violence again and again.

There is simply no change and no liberation possible if we continue to expose ourselves to some form of threat or violence, whichever the form of violence. It is antithetical to freedom, life-terminating, psychically and physically maiming. So at it’s most minimal, the point of radical feminism is to rid our lives not only from men but from all male instituted forms of relating based on life destruction, trauma, sadism and parasitism. This doesn’t disappear magically just because women get together in a same physical space. It requires deep, dedicated and continual change from the way men groomed us to be, so we can experience freedom.

Now back to the last point of the list. I said that the vast majority of those claiming to be radfem and representing the “radfem movement” aren’t, in fact, radfem. Yes. And really, the most striking aspect of this is the observation that in practice, their relationships are ridden with violence. I realised this in group after group, with disbelief (or not). To me the presence of interwoman violence is the most important factor to look at when judging whether I can trust a woman to be radfem or not, and it is also a matter of personal survival and personal safety – I can’t afford to expose myself to more destruction. And women who condone, excuse, deny violence, side with abusers or exercise some forms of violence themselves and especially refuse to stop when told, are not radfem and actively prevent women’s liberation. I’m saying this because it is important that women realise this and don’t repeat the same mistakes and stop doing them.

The kind of violence or disruption I have witnessed include:

1) the bystanders:

  • Basically, they never side with the victims, rationalise the abuse and refuse to take a stand against it, identify to the abusers, continue to engage with them in spite of lots of evidence that they are destructive, deny the facts, etc. Subtle variants are:

  • to indirectly or unwittingly drag other women into unsafe or abusive situations simply because they themselves are incapable of getting away from it. This is why bystanders aren’t safe to be around with either if they show no willingness to change.

  • refuse to listen to the women victims when they say they were abused / badly treated by other women

  • remain silent or “neutral” to maintain an imaginary sisterhood, which equates to siding with the abuse and abuser

  • they’ll admit the abuse happened but won’t accept to see XYZ woman’s behaviour as chronically dysfunctional or toxic and therefore side with the abuser.

  • they’ll admit that they themselves were badly treated but deny that it’s abusive, or minimise the harmful impact it had on them and rationalise that the benefits exceed the costs – therefore they can’t identify with the other victims

  • they don’t accept the abuse happened so they will deny the abuse altogether and try to erase it from their minds by silencing the victims (accusing them of being divisive, of lying, exaggerating, trashing, of being unsisterly, etc.).

Bystanders form the majority of the non-movement and are in large part responsible for the undermining and sabotaging of radical feminism (or maybe, should I say, responsible for nothing else but the fraud of their non-movement, because once you disengage from them, they don’t sabotage your work any more because they don’t have access to you). Responsibility not in a punishment or guilt-tripping way but in terms of responsibility to stop, disengage and take an ethical stand against the abuse and disruption. So few women take that responsibility in the “community”, it’s shocking (or maybe unsurprising?).

The essential dynamic to understand with bystanders is that it works very much like victims of cult groups (which does mean that the groups in question function like cults). Radical feminism is perceived as a status or source of recognition that can be gained, lost or competed for (as opposed to a way of being and thinking regardless of where and with whom we are), and the group or the leaders of the group perceived as holding monopoly over delivering such “status” or recognition. The point is to “move up” to the leaders / and stay close to the group to continue to benefit from this recognition or magic status, or access to resources or audience, or whatever carrot. The leaders take advantage of their own scarcity as “radfems” (scarcity which is man-made) and of other women’s emotional deprivation to reinforce their dependency on the group and gain control. A common tactic to reinforce dependency is to alternate between love-bombing and abuse or domineering behaviour.

Victims will believe – to different degrees of course – that this group is their only means for emotional survival, that without this group there is no hope for women’s liberation, nothing else exists, they would be alone with nobody to help them and will suffer terribly (exclusion can be perceived as a matter of life and death, especially when it touches on trauma of childhood emotional abuse, this is not to be minimised). Their fear of being excluded or of losing the perceived benefits secures their loyalty to the group or leaders no matter how unethical, perverse, disruptive to radical feminism or abusive the leaders are. The bystanders must forsake their critical thinking and belief in their perceptions and be in denial of their own pain and suffering to remain in that group.

This is of course profoundly anti-radfem, and goes against women’s freedom. I believe we have a responsibility to stop supporting abusive behaviour, or if some don’t want to stop, to be at least a bit coherent and stop calling it radical feminist. We also have a responsibility to stop calling the bystanders and abusers of the non-movement, radical feminist, because doing so is participating in their fraud. It indirectly supports the destructive power of some women over others, allowing them to usurp radical feminism to recruit more victims, putting women in danger and actively preventing women’s liberation from men.

2) the abusers

  • They are a smaller part of the non-movement and do the lion’s share of abusing and terrorising women, and are usually chronic abusers. I have witnessed such behaviours as:

  • Generally functioning only in power-over modes, and driving out those who refuse to submit.

  • Punishment of women who exercise individual, critical thinking

  • Alternating between abuse, threats, and lovebombing

  • Destroying, pillaging, exploiting, stealing women’s work in radical feminism, especially from women with no perceived status

  • Contempt for women’s time, involvement and safety, extreme poor planning that strains or endangers women and saps energy

  • Outing women and compromising their anonymity

  • Economic control over women, or using economic resources to gain control over women

  • Domineering behaviour, control of all processes of organisation at the expense of the group or group decisions, underhanded or under the table decision-making processes (for instance where the real decisions are taken outside of the meetings by a small minority and the collective meetings are merely used as a facade)

  • Strong involvement in male-modelled politicking, careerism, activism, all based on male modes of power-over, control, competition, hierarchy, scarcity, sacrifice, dissociation

  • taking over groups as a form of ‘coup’, and purging of all opponents

  • Purging of women from the network who threaten their monopoly over xyz resource and control over the group, doing everything to prevent their access to resources or contacts.

  • Pathological lying, chronic trolling

  • Constant instrumentalisation of women to achieve dubious ends, and then discarding them if they are no longer of use / treating women only as useful means for ends

  • Invasive behaviours (for instance blackmailing)

  • Aggressive verbal / psychological behaviours: shouting at women, treating women like shit, insulting women until they cry, demeaning women, mocking them, humiliations, verbal attacks and public libel/accusation, guilt-tripping, gaslighting, manipulation and deceit, terrorising, causing panick attacks, etc.

  • reprisals against women who denounce or name the harmful behaviours (usually by creating alliances against the name-caller, isolating her and silencing her).

  • Securing of certain key positions, alliances and resources so they can continue to dominate and abuse with impunity.

  • Sexual objectifying of women

  • Sexually invasive and aggressive behaviours, including sexual assault

  • Abuse within a lesbian couple, including physical, sexual and psychological abuse.

Disgusting list ey? These are horrible behaviours yet they are the norm in the ‘radical feminist’ non-movement. And those are the behaviours that the bystanders support. Sad picture. There’s not that much more to say about the abusers really, most has been said about how they organise their monopoly and control over women in the bystanders’ part. The most important thing to remember though is that abusive women rarely change in a fortnight, especially if they still have access to their victims. Unless there’s evidence that she can both listen to the victim and change her behaviour, that is, put an end to the harm in a short amount of time (because sometimes the former is possible but not the latter) the best thing to do both for the victims and for the abusers is to cut all ties with them, never to contact them again, and disengage from those who support the abuser, too.

It’s pretty simple in fact, and it changes your life! I personally feel much freer now that I’m not tied any more to those from the non-movement. I can tell you that non-abusive, non-dominating relationships between women are perfectly feasible and it takes you very far, it’s wonderful. And no more wasted time and energy reacting to the endless soul-destroying and life-sucking non-activity. The possibilities are so much more infinite.

To conclude, it is our responsibility to refuse to name destructive groups or behaviour as radical feminist, even if they claim to be so or are longstanding ‘radfems’, and to be very rigorous in our definitions of radical feminism. This isn’t about hurting women’s feelings and excluding women (from what?) but about being coherent between what we say and do, and acting ethically. It’s taking our liberation seriously and refusing to live in a world of violence and insecurity. It doesn’t mean we should all be perfect at once, but that we should strive to refuse violence and act on it when we see it in other women or ourselves – all women are capable of doing this. Women aren’t stupid, we know when things feel or are wrong or not. If we claim to be radfem when our behaviour says otherwise, it’s exactly like abusive parents who tell children not to do something while doing it themselves. It completely discredits the intended message, the messenger, and it’s lying. It is of no use at all, except to prevent women from accessing radical feminism. For those who think I’m harsh, well, what I find harsh is all the abuse and tolerance of abuse in the so-called radfem community, the harm it does to women.

 

* I thank all the women with whom I’ve had discussions about this, it helped me see everything with much more clarity. Thanks to Delphyne for putting the word ‘bystander’ to the secondary group of damage-supporters.

If men want to help

There’s been a bit of discussion lately about how men who posture as pro-feminists are worse than useless, such as John Stoltenberg or this Dude.

I could write an entire essay about each “pro-feminist”, why and how what they write and do is wrong, but it’s a complete waste of energy and time because all we need to know is that men cannot be feminist and should not get ANYWHERE NEAR feminism or talking in the name of feminism, at all. They are not to be given any important or prominent tasks within any feminist organising, they are not to be given any position or presence (even small, let alone a public one) within any feminist group or woman’s support group, and are not to be integrated in any decision-processes or debates concerning women whatsoever; they should refuse any such position or invitation even if asked by women.

The pattern is that pro-feminist men will very easily occupy and monopolise key positions and publicity in feminism so they can posture as heroes-victims-of-masculinity, and behind the scenes, not only do they do NOTHING to help women but they continue to steal women’s work, abuse women, manipulate women, rape women, promote the work of rapists or publish misogynist content, etc, etc ad nauseum.

The foremost reality about so-called pro-feminist men however is that their mere presence (just PRESENCE, that is, without even saying anything YET) inevitably and automatically triggers in most women the illusion that men can, after all, be nice and care about women, and that it is worth staying around them investing energy and time trying to change them (and why not be my nigel?). In other words, it reinforces trauma-bonding to men, or alternatively, causes consciously-experienced fear, rage, suspicion, hypervigilance or other normal reactions to men’s presence. This means that men’s presence will inevitably be experienced as a threat by women, whether consciously or unconsciously, and will thus paralyse movement into feminism. Whether we want it or not. Encouraging trust and especially trauma-bonding to men endangers all women, exposes women to more abuse and surveillance from men, it prevents women from going to the end of our thoughts and sabotages women’s spaces and work.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg, this chain of paralytic effects on women caused by their mere presence in feminist spaces. This alone is enough to warrant their complete exclusion from all things feminist, before we even look at what scum they might be.

To make it easier for everyone, I will lay out a brief and very simple, minimalistic instruction manual as to what men can do if they are taken by the desire to give women a hand in destroying man’s dominion. It’s not an instruction as to how to be a feminist man, because as I said earlier, it doesn’t exist and men’s presence is highly undesirable and noxious to feminism. It’s not an instruction as to how to free women from men, because only we can do that. It’s just, if men want to do something for women, this is the LEAST, the VERY LEAST they can do, and it’s easy! No need to say anything! No faux-posturing or lying needed! No invading of women’s spaces! No stealing women’s work!

  1. Stop sticking your dicks in women. This is rape. This is torture.
  2. Stop sticking your dicks in women. NOW. For EVER!!!! Ever ever. Like, don’t ever put your dick in a woman or a girl again.
  3. The above is the utmost, absolute MINIMUM men can do to help women. This does not even count men’s infinite every-day torture that surrounds rape and impregnation of women by men that they should stop too. A man who sticks his dick in girls and women is a rapist (and scum). He is not helping women.
  4. Give back to women what you, and men in general, have stolen from women:
  5. Women need Land. Give land back to women.
  6. Women need money. Give money back to women.
  7. Women need houses and rooms of our own. Give houses back to women.
  8. Women need resources (food, water, equipment of all sorts…). Give resources back to women.
  9. Women need time. Clean your own shit.
  10. Reminder: stop using your dick against women, stay away from feminism, and refuse any credit for your what you give back to women. For a thief is not to be thanked for handing back what he stole.

This, above, is also the LEAST men can do. It’s very easy, all it takes is doing it, with no consequences to men’s personal integrity other than minor material loss. As opposed to more complicated things, like sabotaging the porn and prostitution industry, ridding us of the most violent rapists and abusers, things like that. Which men are also free to do of course, but let’s start with more simple things and see how it goes, ay?

To all women who may be reading: remember: if a man claims to help women, ask yourself (or him) what he does: does he continue to stick his dick into women? Yes? You can forget him. Is he parasiting a space meant to be reserved for women (feminism, support for victims, healing groups, whatever female only space…)? Easy: he shouldn’t be there, his very presence is anti-feminist. You can forget him too, or tell him to get out. If he doesn’t, then, bye bye. He claims to do things useful to women? Does he do any of the above, discreetly, without taking any credit for it, and making sure it goes to the right hands? Take it and don’t look back! Don’t feel grateful! It is impossible to steal anything from a man.

Reflecting on the readings of Sonia Johnson

First of all I thank Delphyne for discussions on Sonia Johnson and the insights she shared, that enabled me to see things with more clarity.

I started with “Sisterwitch Conspiracy”, which blew my mind, then navigated to “Going out of our minds”, which also blew my mind, and recently went back up to “Out of this world: a fictionalised true-life adventure”, by her and Jade DeForest, which blew my mind too.

As far as i know, Sonia Johnson is the only radical feminist writer to explore areas which no other writers I know of have explored to this extent – or i have yet to discover them – things that I had begun to think about myself and discuss with close friends. These areas include the critique of sexuality itself and considering sexuality or sexualisation of women as inherently violent / dehumanising (and exploring why and how), experimenting non-sexualised (sadisised, invasive) ways of touching, of experiencing pleasure and relating to other women, working with the body to free ourselves from the physical memories of violence and men’s mindbindings, and her committment to integrity between her desire to live in a world free from men’s violence and her determination not to reproduce male violence in her own life and actions. It was refreshening too to read real-life experiences from a woman and her conclusions from it – you see and follow the process of experience and knowledge from the concrete to the abstract, rather than going straight to the abstract without knowing where it comes from.

This integrity between work / words and actions and reflexions upon it struck me as refreshingly rare too (one excellent book on relationships between women though is Janice Raymond’s a passion for friends).  when I first entered real life feminist groups, I was shocked to see how ridden with male-defending, horizontal violence and insecurity these groups were, and how little women were willing to examine the implications of their own behaviour  on feminism and women’s radical feminist work. Or at least the strong willingness to deny that men’s violence continued to impact very deeply on us, our thoughts, on the way we interacted and on our behaviour here and now, and thus to deny how they were making men’s work of destroying our liberation easier. And I thought if we didn’t adress that together, we’d naturally continue to shift into the destructive, annihilating group patterns and relationships that men structured us into: using men’s annihilating terror and silencing tactics, ideologies, lies, doing gynergy sucking, destructive and man-enhancening activities, etc. And that if we wanted to create a new world for ourselves without men and their violence, we’d better learn how to do that here and now, with ourselves, for ourselves – men won’t ever do that for us, nobody else than us can determine and experience what we need to do to be safe, free, healthy and strong. We need to trust in our own capacity to create a world for ourselves wherever we are, with the means we have at hand, and let go of the belief that others need to do it for us, that we depend on others for justice, peace etc. How else would it begin than with ourselves? Anyway, I was glad to see this adressed. I’m only skimming through these ideas and might address them later, this is just a derail by the way.

Sisterwitch Conspiracy was also the first book that definitely did it for me in seeing violence and rapism and sadism as inherently male, on an essential, whole level, beyond the biological determinism I had already come to.

Another reason I enjoyed Sonia Johnson so much is that everything is told in the form of stories and dialogues which are very pleasant to read and makes the point come accross with a lot of clarity. It makes it alive, and you imagine yourself sharing the discussions with her and her friends. It’s probably quite a manipulatory way of getting your ideas through, but it makes the reading pleasant anyway.

Now what I want to get to is that all the while I read her books, I’ve had this strong feeling of uncomfort with her notions of individuality. It annoyed me very much and while it seemed simple and yet different from what postmodernists say, especially because Sonia gets many things very right, it felt very wrong. I’ve finally got my head around it, that is, out of the confusion it caused me, so I’m going to lay it down here. A basic concept that she frequently repeats throughout her work is that

  1. we are ultimately responsible for what happens to us, and if we don’t get away from men it’s because we don’t want to.
  2. we can only free ourselves by working on ourselves,
  3. we can’t change other women, we can only change ourselves.

Now i’ll start with the two final assumptions, and go upwards. I agree with Sonia that it is pointless to try to control men, as much as it is pointless and counterproductive to try to control other women and oneself. As soon as you’re in the control mode, you’re going against freedom, against yourself, and against other women. By definition you can’t force someone to become free, nor can you force yourself to become free of male violence, or to be happy, or whatever. For example if a woman is currently being subjected to extreme domestic violence and I want to protect her but she refuses to talk to me (because she’s brainwashed by the male terrorist into believing that i’m evil), i can’t force her to listen to what I say. I have to respect what she’s capable of listening at X point in time, and I have to respect whatever strategies of survival she puts in place, even if it goes against her safety, or go with them and not against them. Same with myself. If I’m feeling pain I can’t force myself not to feel it any more. I have to take my pain into account, accept that it’s there and work on it from there: where it comes from, what violence caused it.

And trying to control men is counterproductive too because it’s another way for them to suck our gynergy: it’s doing things according to them and on their terms rather than according to ourselves, so it’s necessarily alienating and oppressive because their terms are always at our expense.

But Sonia confuses control with transformation. She thinks trying to change things outside of you = wanting to control things. This can be true, but it’s not necessarily true. In the same way wanting to change yourself might or might not be exercising control over yourself.  While you can’t control without it being tyrannical and violent and counterproductive, you can help women transform if they themselves are asking for this change and happen to be ready to hear and take in the message you want to convey at the moment you’re saying it. It’s them looking for the information they need, to go forward in their lives, and what you’re saying or doing happens to fit to what they needed at a given time, so they use the insights to transform their lives in the way that’s necessary for their survival. Or even if they can’t hear it now, it stays in their memory, and the day they are ready and safe enough to integrate the insights or will need it to move forward, their memory will make it resurge and they’ll use it. It might take days, weeks, months, years or even decades.

This transformation from the shadows, from destruction, despair, death, pain, sorrow, horror, shame, hatred and anger to light, joy, happiness, sharing, love, beauty, creativity, laughter; it can be shared and transmitted and it is one of the most beautiful things that life can give us. As women we are all capable of experiencing, sharing and transmitting this transformation.

And while I believe that it is fundamental to work on ourselves and improve the way we are able to protect ourselves from further violence, to free ourselves from the blocks that past and present male violence has ingrained in us, to work on the memory of violence in our body so we prevent the violence from repeating itself in our lives where we can, Sonia seems to think this self-transformation happens in a void and you can and should just choose to make it happen. She doesn’t seem to see that while we can influence the outside by changing ourselves, material, outside reality created by men also determines our capacity to change or not at a given time.

The reality is that this kind of work can only take place in a situation where we are relatively safe from torture and abuse, such as captivity to or ongoing exposure to an abusive father / parent, to an abusive husband / partner, to a pimp or trafficker, or torturer / captor of any kind (boss, colleague, brother, etc). You have to have had the possibility to escape  such kind of situations and not fall back into it again, before you can even think of going back to what you experienced and heal from it and transform it into something positive. Otherwise you literally just die from pain and stress, it is extremely dangerous to connect to our emotions in situations of threat, this is why it’s necessary to dissociate to survive. We don’t dissociate for fun. It’s a question of life and death. This is true literally, in the sense that men’s violence threatens our survival, and psychically, in that you can die of fear (caused by real threats / violence that is perceived as life-threatening).

The reality is that most women in such situations aren’t capable of getting out of it at the present time, because there’s no realistic escape, or the only escape is death or worse a situation. The second reality is that even after you’ve escaped the worse and once you’ve gained relative stability (only relative), you can’t do this transformation work alone, or only with much more difficulty, because much of healing, breaking the isolation, safety building, social changing and reparation and justice can only be done collectively (it can be just one other person, 2 or 3, but positive interaction is necessary), and we are so cut from one another and from feminism, even in feminist groups where we think we’re feminist and in fact very often we’re just doing what we know, that is, resenting women, being violent against women, even if we understood lots of things and are well-intentioned (it’s not always the case but more often than not).

Now I come to the first point: Sonia says something to the gist of: we choose what happens to us, and if men continue to inflict violence on us, it’s because we chose not to escape, or refused to escape. Here Sonia confuses choices and constraints, confuses responsibility for our own actions and responsibility for what others do to us, or chooses to see only the choices without the constraints. As women, we always make choices to survive. that is, all choices are always positive choices for survival within the constraints that men surround us with. Our body wants us to survive, we want to survive, so the choices and decisions we make are the result of conscious and unconscious processes, reactions to any given situation of threat and violence, the way we think is the best we can do according to the very real material, physical and psychic means we have at the time.

So yes, in that sense, whichever the situation we’re in, as long we’re still alive, we’re never passive, we always react in a given way according to what we perceive is best for our survival and according to what we are capable of doing, according to how far we have been destroyed or not: according to the tools we have at hand: material, physical and spiritual / mind.

But we can only choose so far as the external (and internalised) constraints allow us. We are certainly not responsible for the abusive situations we’ve been put in and for the fact that men have constrained us into survival strategies that are just as destructive as the violence they subject us to. It is essentially, naturally impossible to go against your own life, to make negative choices, so if we do make decisions that go against ourselves, we know they are not our decisions but those of the abuser / captor, imposed through violence – and it this external violence that creates this internal paradox, this contradiction between our will to survive and the fact that what we choose for our survival, destroys us – but it doesn’t belong to us. In other words, if we make decisions against ourselves, it’s because men have so constrained our choices that these were sadly, the only best options we could find for our survival at the time, (artificially constructed by men in such a way we think it’s US doing the choosing) which is excruciating and deliberately organises self-betrayal. Forcing us to opt for destroying and mutilating ourselves in order to escape even more intolerable forms of violence in the male world is the most efficient way to instil self-hatred, loss of self, sense of self-betrayal and of being abandoned by life. These are part of men’s genocidal tactics.

Believing in masochism, or that some women want to remain victims somehow, and Sonia johnson often goes there, is extremely victim-blaming and completely denies the existence, nature, purpose, intention and totalising effect of violence: to strip us of our autonomy. It blames victims for being crippled by men to the extent that we can’t walk out any more. It blames victims for the fact men’s terror tactics did their job of terrorising and colonising us.

The only reason Sonia and her friend could do the experiments they did at the time (early nineties) is because they had already freed themselves to the extent that they could be relatively safe from violence, individually, safe enough to go to the end of their thoughts, safe enough to express and relive and thus heal past trauma. The material, physical and psychological conditions they were in made this possible, they wouldn’t have been able to do this before because they wouldn’t have been safe enough and they wouldn’t have been ready. The body can’t jump steps. It takes each step one after the other. If it didn’t do something at some point, it’s because it couldn’t. It had taken Sonia Johnson decades between the moment she fled her husband and the mormon community, and the point where she was with Jade DeForest doing her experiments. She could not have done it faster because it wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, because the material conditions and internal conditions wouldn’t have allowed it.

The only thing we are and can be responsible for is our actions to get away from the violence and preserve ourselves. This means that we alone can make the decisions to get out of the situation we’re trapped in, and have the will to do it. Nobody can do this for us. We alone can decide to do the job of decolonising ourselves from the violence we’ve been subjected to, and learn to protect ourselves from violence in the future. I agree with this. But as I said earlier, to believe that we don’t make choices for our own interest and survival,  assuming that we never tried hard enough to survive or that we aren’t doing our best to protect ourselves with the little means and options we have, is extremely insulting to women and all victims. If we know we’re safe enough to choose a better alternative, we take it immediately. We’re not stupid. If we can’t accept help or choose options even if from the outside it seems easy, it means there is real violence (past or present) that prevents us from taking it, and that making this move will put us in danger. Besides, what might seem from the outside like an insignificant change, might be an immense improvement at the cost of huge efforts for the victim (for instance managing to negotiate things from the abuser that he wouldn’t otherwise concede).

Sonia is right in that if we perceived things differently, things would be different. But this is precisely why men use violence to colonise our thoughts and change our perceptions: so we don’t act. Sonia’s mistake is to think that because men change our perceptions through violence, that violence is perceived, not real. This is wrong, because men’s violence is real, has real effects on our thoughts and actions, and for our thoughts to cease to be colonised by men’s brainwashing, the violence has to stop, or we have to get away from the violence. It can’t go the other way round, it’s not possible. We can’t change our perceptions of ourselves, of our external world and our capacities in a situation where the violence is still present. Something might happen with us that makes us get away from the violence, a breaking point, a light, an external hand, whatever, but only then, only after we have gotten away from the immediate danger, can we begin to change how we were forced to see ourselves.

To conclude, this is why getting girls and women away from men and ensuring our physical and emotional safety from men’s violence and all forms of violence must always be our utmost priority for women in general, as feminists. Focusing on healing and expirementing decolonisation from internalised male violence without thinking about the context we are in and whether this context makes it possible or not, is wishful thinking, and hurtful, because then we end up blaming ourselves for failing to achieve our goals, and this humiliates and hurts us.

I’ll stop this article here because it’s getting a bit long but I hope my point came accross.


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