Tag Archives: women’s rights

A little bit of news…

14 Oct

I’ve been all mysterious recently… I had to postpone photoshoots (which I NEVER do). I’ve been in hospital. It’s time to reveal all!!!
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I hate secrets... 😛

On June 22nd, I was sterilised.

Almost every parent I know says that having a child is one of the most life changing things you can do. (Possibly THE most, in my opinion.) Nothing can prepare you for the reality and it is a permanent, life altering decision. Hold that thought…

As many of you may remember, I’ve been fighting to be sterilised for a long time. If you’re a newcomer, my rant is here but I’ll summarise:

I’ve never wanted children and hormonal contraception is not good for me. As I’m nearly 30, I decided enough was enough and wanted to be free of the worry once and for all. I am aware that this is a permanent decision. I have been reminded of this by friends, strangers and medical professionals and I have been fully aware of the permanence of this option since I was eight.
None of my friends with children are continually reminded by shocked people that their decision to bring another human into the world and be responsible for them for at least the next eighteen years is irreversible. None of my friends have been told “you’ll change your mind” on announcing their pregnancy. The decision whether or not to bear a child is a serious choice concerning our bodies and fertility and if age 28 (as I was) is old enough to permanently become a parent then it is old enough to permanently choose not to. What matters is having the right to make the decision in the first place. You (or ‘one’) may feel I’ve made the wrong choice, but that choice should be mine to make.

As I said in my viral rant, I got a rejection letter regarding funding. What had not been explained to me was that while funding was denied by my local hospital (which could be for any legitimate reason), it was not denied altogether- I’d just have to go to a different hospital. So when a different hospital called me for an appointment, I was grouchily prepared for a stern finger-wagging and another assertion that I was too young to make such a permanent decision. (As though parenthood is temporary…)
Not so. I walked into the doctor’s office and… SURPRISE STERILISATION! I embarrassingly enough burst into tears at the shock and relief. Yes he went through the usual questions (permanent, surgery risks etc, other options) but prefaced each question with the words “I legally have to ask…” which made all the difference. So we set a day for surgery and off I went!
The actual surgery, waiting times and hospital details were stressful and horrid (if you have questions, mail me directly- I’m happy to be open but don’t want to publicly overshare medical stuff) but the nurses were amazing, took care of me and ‘my needy boyfriend’ (the drip I was attached to) and as I was severely dehydrated, I spent the night in hospital where I got a 5am wake-up call in the form of a woman giving birth on the floor below. Changed my mind yet? Naaaaah…

Moving on! Photographers- please worry not. I have two tiny scars- one hidden in my bellybutton, one hidden just below my pubic hairline. I’m back to what passes for normal in my life. 😉

Still a fetish model, but almost everything in the shots are mine (and the coat was made by yours truly…)

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ROSWELL xxx

Between My Legs

23 Mar

I’ve been away for two weeks, touring Holland and Belgium. I was going to blog about that, but as sometimes happens when I leave England and work from dawn ’til dusk every day, I’ve missed something huge in the news and this time, it’s very serious.

As of April 1st, women in the UK who have genital piercings will be classed as victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

FGM is torture. Girls as young as nine have part or all of their genitalia removed- often without anaesthetic or sterilised blades. This includes the clitoris, labia and part of the urethra (wee tube).
It is a cultural practise centred around keeping girls ‘pure’ and it is not only excruciatingly painful but can lead to severe and fatal problems later. This includes:
– Difficulty and pain urinating- scar tissue can block the urethra and lead to infection.
– Fertility problems- menstrual blood cannot escape the body and is left inside to rot.
– Multiple kinds of infection from open wounds and old blood
– Death from blood loss
… Not to mention mental scarring.

This is, of course, done without consent from the girls and women undergoing the procedure. Here it is: for those as squeamish as me, I’ve posted one of the least horrifying pictures I found.
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In the UK, there are many kinds of genital piercings and adornments available for women. I asked friends why they have genital piercings and received a range of responses, but mostly these:
– I like the look
– I had it done on a whim and never took it out
– It enhances sexual pleasure

(Image found on the internet. No, it isn’t me.)
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Though there are women who are pressured into getting piercings, this has nothing to do with FGM and it is insulting to women who have survived FGM to suggest such a connection.
It is currently unclear whether or not female genital piercing will be made illegal, but certainly on medical records, a pierced woman will be placed in the same category as a ‘cut’ woman. How dismissive and trivialising for the survivor of such a despicable practise.
In a society still uncomfortable with discussing womens body parts, this new law can do yet more damage- trivialising FGM and confusing some as to what it consists of. I can imagine a few dim bulbs under the impression that women are brought to a remote village, given a clitoral piercing and sent home again! The true horror is masked by the non-issue of consensual piercing.

As I am writing, it is also unclear whether genital surgery (e.g. labiaplasty) will be included under the FGM umbrella or not. There are many unanswered questions but one thing is clear: This will not affect men. Men can still get any part of their body pierced without being labelled a torture victim.
Remember last year’s new porn laws, which banned women (but not men) from being filmed facesitting (among other things) despite their written consent?

The issue with both of these laws is that our consent is ignored.
Sex without consent is rape.
Surgery without consent is mutilation.
Either of these things with consent is none of your fucking business.

Pierced or not, please sign this petition to support the right of women to adorn our bodies as we wish, and to acknowledge the fact that FGM is a separate issue- pretending otherwise insults everyone.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/75889

Aftermath

4 Aug

UPDATE #2 12/08/2014
Deeeear Daily Maaaail, It has come to my recent atten-shun…
Okay, I won’t do an Amanda Palmer on you, but apparently I broke down on the stand. Wrong model. Not that crying’s a bad thing but I’m sure you want to have our actions in the right order and matched to the right people.
Colclough was also only charged for four offences and acquitted of two. Thanks.

UPDATE 12/08/2014
If you have arrived via the Times, I’m afraid I have been Rita Skeeter-ed*. 😦
I agreed to be named in today’s article only after reading the original text, which gave equal coverage to the other women who testified against the rapist Shaun Colclough.  The editor has cut out those stories and stuck my face on top of the piece like the cherry on top of a butchered cake. I did not give my permission for my image to be used in any way- in fact I forbade it. I feel these actions trivialise the harrowing experiences suffered by the other women and in light of this, I have withdrawn all co-operation with The Times newspaper.
I would like to make clear that the journalist responsible for writing the article bears no responsibility for the heavy-handed editing his original words were subjected to.

*If you are not a Harry Potter fan, Rita Skeeter embodies the worst journalistic stereotype possible.

____________________________________

I must apologise to all of the people who have sent such kind and inspiring comments and messages for me- the whole Colclough experience has been exhausting and so I went offline for a few days in order just to breathe (and attend the wedding of a friend.) I’m writing replies to you all right now.
So, we’ve hit the papers! Colclough’s face and story are in the Times, the Standard, the Hackney Citizen, the Daily Mail (who credited me with yelling “victim” at his retreating back. What I actually said was “you look vulnerable to me”- the same words he repeated during my shoot). More articles are pending and a very unflattering photo of the man himself is doing the rounds. There is now a nationwide appeal for more witnesses to come forward. If you are one, please call the police and tell your story- support is available from now and through the entire court journey.
By virtue of being a writer with a strong online presence, I was able to shout the loudest. However, please let me stress that my experience was minor compared to the other women involved and these are the real warriors behind the conviction. My case was one of ‘unauthorised touching’ and hinged on a hug he denied giving- nearly impossible to prove or convict on. All I did was sound the alarm.

A few days ago I had a lovely stay on the Isle of Wight- shooting on a farm, meeting kittens, girly chats with the fantastic photographer Luci-Alice and her family, brushing through meadows full of wildflowers and stripy cinnabar moth caterpillars- pretty idyllic, right? It had been a much-needed break, friends are a good sadness remedy and I was enjoying my phone-caught memories on a high-speed train though I’ve forgotten where I was going. While I hate the cliche of a world going cold, I remembered the judges’ words describing Shaun and suddenly felt as though the train couldn’t go fast enough. I had an urge to get up and run.
I have the highest respect for those who work with the sickest, most twisted in society- I couldn’t do it. I met this one man, who radiated such a sense of menace that I was more afraid than I have ever been in my life- and as a result, something has changed. Perhaps it’s just the gaining of the knowledge that these people who lurk in CSI’s dark corners and grin like sharks in straight-to-video thrillers really exist.

Still, I know myself a little better. Should I be attacked, raped, threatened- I can and will defend myself- all of the four women wo testified have done so and though not all of us achieved a conviction, in one way we still have won. Should the same thing ever happen again, I would report immediately and take it all the way to court. I think most of us would agree on that.

And so I’ll answer the questions, do the interviews and continue this blog- which has been a huge source of comfort for me. And I’m going to get on with my life. I’m eating Green and Blacks (which I doubt you get in prison), watching four fluffball moorhen chicks (which you don’t get in prison) and enjoying the freedom to work and chill on my own terms (which you sure as hell don’t get in prison.)

Shaun Colclough called us vulnerable. Not any more- if ever we were.

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Photo by Luci-Alice (who I will blog about soon- I urge you to help her in her current quest).
All parts of the headdress were recycled, collected or otherwise ethically obtained.