Complain to the Attorney General.

I’m going to keep this short and focused.

On Friday, Adam Hulin walked free after oral rape and assault by penetration of a 12 yo girl, with a community order, counselling, and a £60 victim charge bc the judge doesn’t want to “prejudice his career.”

Here’s the story.

We have 28 days to write to the CPS and complain about the sentencing remarks & the absurdly low sentence.

It is about time this country’s judicial system took into account the lasting effects of rape on the raped, and stopped passing judgements based on the lasting effects of rape on the rapist. He had a choice. She didn’t. This is not justice and it’s long past time we kicked up a fuss.

Here is how to do it.

Thanks to @cdaargh on twitter, for digging out the complaints procedure.

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The revolution will be blogged.

I am smack bang in the middle of the one operational window I get each year, where, for a few weeks, I can forget that my body doesn’t work: things like holidays and love seem attainable, and the whole of the last eight years is dimmed, like a dark and improbable dream told to me by a stranger, and only half believed. I love this time of year.

Before, when I was well, the house almost always smelled of paint because
a) it needed EVERYTHING doing to it when I moved in – seriously, everything. Rewiring, replastering, replumbing, oy, the works; and
b) I loved doing it.

I am never happier than when muddy or painty, filthy, in old clothes, left to my own devices to BE filthy and in old clothes. Anyway, aside from one happy anomaly, in the last six years I’ve done no decoration or DIY except to repaint my bedroom about three years ago.

Long before that, I decided that my porch minged. I bought the architrave necessary to de-ming it (shh, it is a word NOW); and I propped it inside the front door, and there it has stayed probably for seven years. Maybe longer.

Here is an example of how minging my porch was:

Despite the fact that I almost always have had this period in the spring where I feel fairly normal, I have never felt normal enough to get any decoration done. This year’s different, in that this year for the first time, I’m gluten-free, and although that’s such a maligned and buzz-wordy thing to embrace, the fact is, it has made – and continues to make – a colossal difference to my health. It hasn’t cured me. But it has taken a layer of suffering off me that has real and measurable impact on what I can achieve on a good day. I’ve been off gluten for nearly four months now and am still noticing improvements. I don’t know where that will end.

Anyway, I had Daddy here for Easter, and he kindly took me to get some paint and things (just getting them would ordinarily use up any energy I had for doing anything once I had them), and here’s the result:

My porch is now very clean and bright. The cellar spiders that colonised the ceiling have been carefully lifted off with a soft broom and persuaded out. The wood is primed. The gaps are caulked. The brick, bell, frame and doors are painted. The lamp is re-hung at a less annoying height. And in the next couple of days I should finally get that architrave cut, pinned and painted.

None of this is a big deal. Except it is. It’s a transformation I effected, and being the entrance to the house, a key one.

Of course, that bell doesn’t WORK. But let’s not nit pick.

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Chimera heart wanted.

An audio version of this post is available here.

“I wouldn’t mind embarking on an affair with someone from a circus,” I said, on twitter.

In my mind, there were trapeze artists, a bearded lady (there probably aren’t bearded ladies any more, although I have known lots of bearded ladies and frankly they were beautiful. Ladybeard is TO BE ENCOURAGED); perhaps a Strong Wo/man. There were definitely tigers in this circus and possibly an elephant in a tutu. Obviously I don’t hold with actual animals in circuses, but this is an imaginary circus, and in imaginary circuses, like with imaginary sex, EVERYTHING is allowed.

Lately I have been rasslin with the idea of Finding Someone Again. This is a silly thing to rassle with, as it isn’t a thing one can force to happen. It either happens or not. One can’t preempt it, nor is there an invocation (“DARK GODS OF OKC I IMPLORE THEE…”), cribbed from the works of Crowley and L Ron Hubbard that will *poof* one into being. There is no option on eHarmony that even begins to describe the tiniest corner of who I am, much less who I might be looking for. The very act of looking on a dating site means that whoever I find will be unsuitable (reason given below).

Nonetheless, I have rassled.

I find very, very few men physically attractive at all. Then you add on the fact that I’m a Proper Feminist Right, and that’s ruled out basically 99.9% of men (you’re reading this, right now, and you’re having one of those moments where you think “ah ha! But I am a Feminist Man so clearly I would be acceptable.” You probably wouldn’t. We’d end up embroiled in passive aggressive Mutually Assured Destruction because I caught you in a darkened room, screen turned away from the door, laughing at “8 Out of 10 Cats” IN YOUR PANTS).

Yeah, I’ve got your number. *narrows eyes*

So basically it’s a given that almost all men are ruled out by virtue of the above. Then the 0.1% that isn’t patriarchal and who is beautiful[1] is – and this is guaranteed – married to someone. Tiresome. I am greedier than this model permits.

I find far, far more women attractive than men. (I’m bi and despite the gigundous breasts, believe it or not, nonbinary.) Because

a) there are far more women feminists who are actually feminists; and
b) there are far more beautiful[1] women than men; and
c) when a woman is sexually attracted to you SHE NEVER LEAVES YOUR TEXTS UNANSWERED. (Except deliberately to make you sweat and swear.) (I don’t know why men do this, but they do and it’s shit. Stop it, ffs.)

But my attraction to women, although more frequent than my attraction to men, isn’t – usually – as strong. There are exceptions. The woman priest I saw having a fag in the St Mary Aldermanbury gardens remains one of the three “drop your coffee all down yourself” moments of vivid physical attraction I’ve had in my life. (I wasn’t carrying a coffee on that occasion, so I walked straight into a bed of verbena bonariensis instead. Stuff turns out to be surprisingly good at hooking onto your clothes, and is impossible to extricate yourself from coolly).

And I think really my problem with both is the binaryness of it all. Men. Women. It’s all alien to me. I’m always at a disadvantage, speaking binary-as-a-second language. I’m drawn to people who’ve subtly fallen through the defining net. I was brought up in a world where, two years before I was born, sexual acts “between two men” were decriminalised. But they weren’t in any way accepted. In my childhood and youth, gay men were – just about, technically – considered legal. But they weren’t considered acceptable. Lesbians didn’t exist at all. And bisexuals not only didn’t exist, when I found out that they were A Thing, I also found out they were somehow extra-filthy, because clearly they just wanted to have loads of sex with literally anyone and probably his dog, gerbil and furniture. If you’re of a generation younger than me I can’t express this to you. People were literally not permitted to be who they were. There was no way to be out when I was young. Defining yourself – figuring out what you were – was nigh on impossible, as a bisexual because the world did not contain the concept of bisexuality.

And so what becomes attractive, in that situation, specifically, is covercy. There should be a name for it. It should be a kink where everyone knows “Oh, that dude’s a covert.”

There probably wouldn’t be any coverts under 40. That’s ok. I think your grey hair and wrinkles are superhot.

So what I really probably ought to do is hunt down someone a bit like me, who specifically gets a frisson from passing and then transgressing (this is why I totally understand transvestite men), whose self definition stems from being not-that. Because really what I like is having or being a colossal secret. That’s my specific brokenness. I know I am allowed to be anything I like, now.

But what I like being is forbidden.

So I’m basically keeping my eyes open for the next MX, MS, or MR chiller. They’re probably wearing a suit. Or a priest’s robe. But under it could be ANYTHING.

[1] to me, and my idea of beauty is … well, it’s broad and rich, ok? It isn’t magazine beauty, and it incorporates both the bony and the lushly corpulent.

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A pornographic parable.

An audio version of this post is available here.

Once upon a time a lovely, very principled old woman lived in a society that was torn apart by civil war. There were more and more dead every week. She was personally endangered by the civil war, as were her friends, her family, and all of the people in her little village, all of whom worked for her company. Yet their work made them feel safe, because what they made was the very essence of a peaceful country life, a life as it should be.

She made a living making the most beautiful hunting rifles. She sold these hunting rifles in surprising numbers.

Inspired by this article, on ethical porn, which I saw tweeted by @nellbelleandme.

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You reed-bed wave of gold,
under still blue
tacit, folded
in you sleep
a million hushing
hushing birds.
I run through:
start all your words
into the sky. These waking starlings
shout, or murmur, let them fly.

An audio version of this poem is available here.

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Valentine’s Day: she went there.

An audio version of this post is available here.

The absolute worst thing about being single on any day (including this one WHICH SHALL NOT BE MENTIONED), is encouplinated people saying things like “you’ll meet someone, I know you will,” or “there’s someone out there for you,” or “you deserve to be happy” (I FUCKING KNOW I DO); or “I can’t understand why you’re single.”

Well. That might be the worst bit.

Or it might be where people post photographs of the flowers / lush jewellery / booze / puppies / houses in the country / sex toys / waders (hey – love can be topical) they’ve been bought.

Or it might be encouplinated people telling you “there are other things in life” (yes, that’s great, but if someone’s dying of dehydration telling them that peanut butter is weww tasty doesn’t help).

I got about half an hour into twitter today – and you know I like to put a full day in at the twitface – before it overwhelmed me. Having woken perky and surprisingly not in that much pain, I attained what I can only refer to as “The Full Plath” before 10am. Naturally my gas cooker has the wrong sort of gas and since I had my cellar converted there are no exposed beams over which to loop a length of woven hemp. Frankly the exposed beams I had were only five and a half foot off the ground anyway. So there’s nothing for it but to grit teeth and get through it, preferably without biting anyone. Since the very nub of the crux of the matter is that there is nobody here to bite, this in itself is frustrating.

How do you even go on a date with someone when you’re mostly housebound? You don’t, I suppose. Are all disabled people who weren’t encouplinated before they became disabled just sitting there, at home today, thinking “ah, feck”?

My last relationship ended in 2003. Eleven – ELEVEN – years ago. Aside from the odd loveless shag – not loveless on my part: I can’t bear one-nighters, find sex just for the sake of sex the single most unrewarding and actively depressing thing in the universe (largely because blokes you have casual sex with are rarely invested in whether you’re enjoying it, or in doing anything to ensure that you are), but I’m terrible for falling vividly in love with people who turn out to just sort of eeh like me a bit, ish, kinda. So passes eleven years. I sort of can’t imagine what relationships are like any more. I mean: someone living with you. Cluttering up your head space. Strewing socks hither and yon. Getting annoyed with you for, you know, existing. Trusting someone. Someone being kind to you. How does that work? The last bit, the being kind bit – particularly if we’re talking about being physically kind, which shaggers aren’t – pretty much makes me panic. I’m guessing (without looking too hard at it) that that’s because it’s the bit I miss the most, and is the bit that I am therefore least likely to permit anyone to do. Because not having it is one thing. Having ten minutes of it and then nothing again is simply a variety of agony I cannot bear.

I can’t pretend to be awash with despair on the topic of love. Neither can I pretend that I don’t think about it. Nor that I hope, particularly. I think about it more than I would like to. Or not think – I don’t think about it, I feel the hollow ache of it. And I suppose my approach to it can basically be summed up as “well, either it happens by some astounding fluke or it doesn’t, there really isn’t much I can do about it. And it hasn’t happened for eleven years, and now I’m in a position of never meeting anyone new, so it’s unlikely. So let’s proceed on that basis and just try to ignore it.” I’m pretty ok at ignoring it. It’s like living with an eating disorder of the heart. Always hungry.

I won’t see this blog entry pop up on twitter, because I’ve muted all mentions of This Particular Day from my TL, not through bitterness – I don’t resent you your loving relationship one bit – but just as a damage limitation. But if you’re fortunate enough to have somebody in your life who isn’t going away, so you can allow them to be kind to you, I hope that you have a very lovely day, or evening together. And you’re right to revel in it. It’s a good thing.

Happy V-day, yo. x

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Calendar girl.

An audio version of this post is available here.

I’m writing this as part of Twitter’s #TimeToTalk day, encouraging people with MH issues to speak about it (and, very importantly, other people to listen!).

There’s this thing you do if you have PTSD – or maybe it was just me, maybe nobody else does it, but that seems unlikely. You mark your calendar with the dates that are triggering. You don’t do it because you want to remember, you do it in the way a road worker sprays bright yellow paint around a hole, so people don’t fall into it. You’re afraid of those dates, those days, those moments when the Earth treads back through the tracks it made a year, five, ten years ago. Somehow when this happens you can feel that event still occurring, through the thinnest veil (time is not substantial, after all), and the gravity of it pulls you to pieces. Again.

Human brains prioritise fear. It’s not a choice, it’s mere biology. You can’t “snap out of it” once your amygdala’s gone into party mode, any more than you can will your liver to process an aspirin more quickly. It’s an organ. All animals’ brains will prioritise the things that frighten them, because doing so helps the animal react and survive. This is great until you have PTSD and your brain is prioritising something that isn’t happening, as if it was.

Years ago – and that was years after the event – I deleted those calendar entries. It made no difference, of course. The dates rolled around. Up pricked my ears. The fear engines started up again each time, and I would know weeks before the date, that that date was coming. I don’t mean I’d sit and think about it. But it was there, like the world’s worst sort of exam-dread. Manageable (in the day). Unavoidable.

Something happened, though. Last year I noticed it. The Earth rolled back into its own footsteps and … wait. Was it the 30th? Or the 31st? I stared at the blank calendar. It was gone. I mean, it wasn’t totally gone. I knew it was the 30th or the 31st. I think it was the 30th. But here’s the thing: I AM NOT CERTAIN. It has faded.

Then a date I do remember rolled around. And on that date, I thought, once, briefly: “oh, it’s that date”, and it rolled past, with that as its only memorial, as unemotional as noticing the weather. I had other things in my head that day, normal things. Maybe I’ve grown a whole new head. I’ve definitely stepped out of that worn-deep track of behaviour and memory. I’m not standing in that muddy ditch any more.

Anyway, the point of this is this: when you feel you can without it making you panic, delete those calendar entries. It won’t make those days less awful. Not for a long time. But it is the start of the process that leads to those days becoming just days, and to you becoming a person who steps out of that worn trench and chooses where they walk. x

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