Suicide

Many times in my life I have wanted to die. I just never seemed to have the nerve to go through with it.

The thing that made me want to die was how often in my life my pain was made to disappear because I came from the upper middle-class.

I believe all types of women and girls can be raped. All types of girls can live with sexual abuse. All types of women and girls can be trapped in the sex trade.

But all too often there are stereotypes of the deserving victim. Having money makes a woman or girl undeserving.

This attitude encourages my silence. It feeds my self-hatred.

Suicide was a friend.

I lived in a street where girls where silently starving themselves.

Wives did not speak of being battered. Girls were silent as their fathers raped them.

The silence went into drinking spirits. I first drunk whisky when I was 14, there such easy access to it.

The silence went into cutting up the body. Most girls on my street would have scars. Every summer, long sleeves was our fashion.

Anorexia was common. My neighbours had three daughters, each ending in hospital as they starve themselves. The youngest died, and no-one spoke about it.

No-one said they had heard the wife had bruises. 

Hidden in bedrooms, teenage girls said rumours that the girls were abused by their dad. But we never said too much, we just eat down our own pain.

This is how the English upper middle-class deals with male violence. It puts it into silence.

I was taught by my background never to show emotion, never to complain or whine.

We were not allow to feel pain, that was a weakness.

After we were privileged, what the hell could any upper-middle white woman or girl have to complain about.

I didn’t complain, I cut my wrists, I took overdoses and drunk to poison myself.

But I was damned if I would say I was in pain. I would never say I was scared.

I would not admit I had lost control.

Sometimes I look back at my entrance into the sex trade, I know that as a 14-year-old, I imagined I was some kind of rebel to sell my body for sex.

I thought I was punk. I imagined it made hard.

I thought I would lose my family background if I whored myself.

All I was a damaged posh kid who did not know how to make the pain stop.

I meet many girls like me when I was in the sex trade.

Girls who became invisible, because prostitutes are stereotyped as coming from poverty.

I meet girls who were from monied backgrounds from many cultures, who were so used to male violence from their families – that before they became prostituted their souls had been murdered.

Men would go with “posh whores” imagining it is not abuse.

After all, if you don’t need the money, no woman or girl would choose to be prostituted.

This said to me in many ways by all kinds of people.

When I put my toe into Socialism, and I said a small part about male violence. I was told,

Why didn’t you buy your way out of it.

I have heard that girls and women are on drugs, poor and desperate to become prostituted. This was said to me when I was in the life, so it made me go into deep denial.

I drunk loads of alcohol, I smoked, but I did not take illegal drugs.

I was not poor, I often throw away the rapists give after I had been prostituted.

And when I was in the middle of that life, I could not view myself as desperate, I had to believe I had control. I had chose to let men rape and torture me.

If I thought outside that box, then I always came back to suicide.

I thought I was dead inside. But when I was choosing to die, I remembered that I was alive.

As I cut hard into my arms, stomach and near my cunt, I was relieved if I could still have pain. As I saw the blood, I know I was alive.

I took overdoses, challenging my body to fight for life.

One night I drunk lager and whisky, took 50 paracetamols, and lost consciousness.

I lost three days.

But my body would not die. I would not die.

Suicide was my anger. Suicide was a scream saying I am in pain.

I do count. Just because I am posh, does not stop men raping and torturing me.

Suicide came as I viewed women and girls like me having their ignored or ridiculed.

I don’t think feminist are any different at ignoring that all types of women and girls are vulnerable to male violence.

I have been silenced by some feminists. Made to feel I was a bad victim.

I should not moan, for rich women can never know “real” abuse.

This made me silent, when I was just asking for help. I was ready to be vulnerable, but I fall back into hardness. Back into the sex trade.

I went more and more with men who may kill me.

If I could not succeed with suicide, then murder may happen by accident.

I thought women like me were not worthy of receiving help. After all, I was just a spoilt middle-class girl.

I write this howl of pain, because I hate all stereotyping.

If you say as a cliche that all types of women and girls can be on the receiving end of male violence – then listen and hear those words.

 Do not look at at a battered woman’s background, and think you know her.

Don’t think that all abused girls are the same.

Don’t think you know the reason a woman or girl is in the sex trade.

If even a small part of your mind is saying, she has money – you are already making her into someone who is undeserving.

Look at the pain. Be prepare to hear the anger. Let her say she is confused.

Break away from easy boxes, that may make you distance yourself.

For many people who will not allow that middle-class girls and women are suffering, are from the middle-class.

They are scared to know that they could at any time be the abusers, or on the receiving end of abuse.

So they will prefer to have silence.

But I will not shut up. Not whilst I know posh women and girls are dreaming of suicide, instead of screaming out that they being raped, tortured, battered and made silent.

I want that all women to count. Even women who are appear privileged.

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6 responses to “Suicide

  1. You’re correct– it doesn’t matter what economic class a woman or girl is from– she can still be subject to men’s violence. I’m privileged compared to most people around the world, and I live in one of the richest towns in the U.S.A., but depression still hits me– it doesn’t discriminate. Try not to let the economic-class aspect of your life make you feel guilty or undeserving of help and care. I get emails from this Women’s Studies listserv and there was a discussion about domestic violence and poverty. The woman who worked for the domestic violence agency wrote about how domestic violence occurs in all economic classes– that’s a fact that DV agencies educate people about. Believing otherwise is making the violence invisible. Drink plenty of water so you get physically healthier soon (if you’re still sick).

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  2. Thanks Bluecoat for your compassionate comment. I think I wrote this post from anger at other’s ignorant attitudes to women like me.
    I have always thought guilt was a wasted emotion, and just another way that abusers get away with their behaviour. I do not feel guilt for what I was born into, that seem quite self-indulgent to me. I will change what I can, I will learn what I can. But guilt is not part of my approach to life.
    I think when I wrote about undeserving of help, it can from my deep anger of how often is the past I was pushed away, because I find it hard to act the perfect victim. Like many women who have lived extreme male violence, I survived by being hard and by not allowing vulnerability. I survived by being proud, and not being able to lose that I was intelligent. So, I was not a victim in many people’s eyes, and was rejected.
    It was a very hard time, so there is still pain and anger about that time.
    You are spot on at saying that I find it hard to allow others to care for me. I have always struggle alone, making many mistakes and also finding a way to exist without violence or being controlled.
    Being care for means letting go, which is very scary.
    Thanks for reminding me to drink water, coz I still have the habit of ignoring my body.

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  3. Wow, yeah. I feel the same way a lot. I mean, yeah, I was abused or whatever, but the rest of my life was really good. Privileged, safe, lots of opportunities, two nice parents, a nice sister, good school systems, food on the table, etc etc. So I feel guilty to complain, I feel stupid for being so miserable when most other people in the world have it so much worse than me. I feel so weak.

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  4. The claim that only certain women and girls are ‘victims’ of men’s sexual and physical violence is a deliberate strategy because it systematically hides the realities of men’s violence against women and children. Irrespective of whether or not a woman or girl comes from a ‘privileged’ background this in itself will not protect her if a male decides he will rape or commit other forms of violence against her.

    Likewise many women survivors of men’s violence feel guilty because their experiences were not identical to other women survivors of male violence. Society is very adept at blaming women survivors because they are not the ‘perfect victim.’ Believing there is such a thing as the ‘perfect victim’ serves to justify and excuse those men who choose to commit these acts of violence against women and children.

    No, I don’t think all women are the same and no I don’t think all women who’ve been battered and raped by violent male partners are all identical. Nor do I think that all women who enter prostitution do so because their lives are identical. What I do know is that men who commit these acts have commonalities and it is these commonalities which ensures male violence against women continues unabated. Dividing women into ‘good victims’ and ‘bad victims’ plays directly into the hands of those who excuse and justify male violence against women and children.

    As Rebecca rightly says ‘I want all women to count, even women who appear privileged.’ But our patriarchal society does not believe this and that is why some women are perceived as ‘blameless’ whilst other women are dehumanised because they were not ‘blameless.’

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  5. WOW. What an amazing post, geez, Rebecca, your writings get more and more amazing every day, even when you’re sick.

    You are so, so correct. Rape, battering, abuse, all women experience it, richest to poorest, all of us know what it is. Middle and upper middle class women are thought to be too privileged to have been raped/prostituted/battered for another reason as well: because the people who have the most power in the world — affluent men — stand to lose if everyone believes, recognizes that they are no different from other men, that in fact, they do NOT protect the women they have connections with (the excuse they have historically given for making war on other men, that they were “protecting” “their” women).

    I have been silenced by some feminists. Made to feel I was a bad victim.

    I should not moan, for rich women can never know “real” abuse.

    This made me silent, when I was just asking for help. I was ready to be vulnerable, but I fall back into hardness.

    I wasn’t raised rich, but I was raised in a middle/upper middle class professional family, and this same has often been true for me. Those with various agendas point to the fact of my “privilege” and erase the facts of my repeated rapes, batterings, and abuse of all kind, as though somehow the way I grew up erases its horror, and then when I fought and clawed my way through my adult life despite the rapes and batterings and abuses and finally won a lawsuit against some of these assholes, *that* gets used against me, too, see, I won this lawsuit, I am rich, I am privileged with the inference that… what. I can’t talk about being raped? Battered? Abused? I’m too “privileged” to fight for women? I’m too “privileged” to fight for my own life? It’s bizarre and hideous.

    This also happens to women because they are born stereotypically beautiful as we see all around us. Somehow a beautiful woman has “privilege” and this is what should be the focus, not the fact that she has been raped and abused and tortured and tormented by men because she was a woman.

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  6. Pingback: The Eighteenth Carnival of Radical Feminists « Well I’ll Go To The Foot Of My Stairs…

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