Trigger warning: sexual violence, abuse and self indulgence.
My desire to prefix this blog with an apology is almost unbearable. But I am trying to unlearn apologising with every breath and so forgive me if I just plough on. If the issues raised here do not affect you, you will probably feel this is utterly self indulgent and sympathy-seeking to write, but on the off-chance there is someone out there who may have their healing speeded a little by these words, to you, I write.
Facebook is awash with Tricolour faces I have to squint to see, which feels darkly emblematic right now. This morning my mind started roaming about how I would feel if anything so horrific happened here in the UK. Would the rest of the world know that the Union Jack seems to have been hijacked as a symbol of racist extremism in this country? Is that the same everywhere?
I have seen a few articles doing the round about what practical action you can take to help refugees. Though they seem to be well written and well intentioned, I could not help but feel there are a few key things missed off the list. Yes donating cash, time and resources may help the immediacy, but how can we prevent this being a repeating story? I think there are three key things you can do to help.
I am in Asia. People have no qualms about talking about your body here. Men walk past me in the street and tell me I am really fat. Women prod my stomach and ask if I am pregnant and laugh. Yesterday a man mimed me by puffing out his cheeks, making his arms into a circle and waddling, which his friends found hysterical.
It’s a cultural thing, apparently. It’s not rude. It’s just acceptable that my body is a freak-show for other people’s entertainment. I must accept people ridiculing my body because that’s just how things are here.
I saw a young girl who is five months pregnant collapse and smash her head on a marble floor. When we arrived at the hospital we were told it was not an emergency, and that we should go the ante-natal unit, but we must pay before we would be seen. So we queued for over an hour. This is Nepal.
Why was the only time his pathetic hate filled rhetoric and fear mongering decently grilled on LBC radio? No disrespect at all to James O’Brien (in fact full credit to him) but why was he the only one who bothered to really interview this man and fact check the reality before Nigel could lie and wriggle his way out of things.
I shall not call you Dave. For you are no friend of mine.
You tricked a lot of people with your words, Mr Cameron. Words which spread fear and convince people react in self defensive, but you have not fooled me. You have galvanised me. Out of respect for your democratically elected position (if one were to believe that First Past the Post were to be a fair system of representation) I would like to make you some promises in return.
I am not going to lie, it’s one of those one set out to deliberately tug at your heart strings to try and raise money.
Right now I feel I have nothing else I can do apart from raise money from afar. So unapologetically, this story is hard.
Let me tell you the story of a little girl in Nepal. When she was tiny her mother disappeared. She does not know if she died or if she left, but what she does know is one day her mother was not there any more.