Thursday, 5 March 2015

International Womens Day. Sunday 8th March 2015

Inequality and prejudice against women is a form of mysogeny. But it frequently goes deeper than mere words.

Can anyone listen to the words of the gang members who have been convicted of rape in India and not be moved to cry out against their cruelty and wrong thinking?

A woman was gang raped on a bus in Delhi in 2012.  She was dragged to the back of the bus screaming and was repeatedly raped.  She was then brutalized with an iron bar, so much so that her intestines were pulled out. Her rapists remained impassive thoughout the trial and their thoughts have now been recorded by the BBC:

“You can’t clap with one hand,” said Mr. Singh, who was convicted of rape and murder, though he denied taking part in the assault. “It takes two hands. A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. Boy and girl are not equal. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20 percent of girls are good. When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her,’

Beyond sickening. So whilst I shall be thinking about the suffragettes, political and economic reforms, education, and how far we've come, I shall also be thinking that there's one hell of a long way to go.

Life 4 - "Hello Dear, What Did You Do Today?"
by Annabel Rainbow

Well dear, I worried. I had coffee this morning. Coffee is the second most valuable legal commodity after oil but is largely grown by subsistence farmers and I forgot to buy Fair Trade.

Then I took our grandchildren to school. Did you know that 90% of all childcare still rests on women’s backs.

On the way to the hated supermarket to buy food, I saw that lady from the house by the park in her burkha who everyone says is lonely and abused but can’t tell the police in case her family is deported, and thought about the veiling and seclusion of women and the cult of virginity and the death penalty for women’s adultery, and tried to imagine what it was like to be killed with stones.  I thought of rape and how under Shar’ia law a rape victim needs four male witnesses to substantiate her testimony. In the west we might just say she’s making the whole thing up. I thought how rape could end if men just stopped doing it.

Then I had my hair done and looked in the mirror and saw how old I was. When you get old you cease to exist, people just don’t seem to see you any more. Perhaps I should lose weight or wear high heels to make me taller and show off my legs. Perhaps my nose needs altering or I could get my ears pierced or my teeth whitened. This made me think of trying to look nice and how odd this was when 140 million women have been circumcised and cruelly mutilated because it reduces libido and prevents promiscuity.   No, I’ll just bleach and perm my hair and put on false eyelashes and shave my legs and pad my bra, and file and paint my toenails. I’d best skip lunch or I’ll get fat.

I pottered about the garden and planted some lettuce. I thought of the women who make up over 50% of the world’s population yet only hold the title to 1% of the land, and produce more than half it’s food.  They work 2/3rd of the worlds working hours but receive 10% of the world’s income.

Then I paid a visit to that frail neighbour who The Meals On Wheels lady told me about. She’s sad and alone because her family have had to move to search for work and she’s frightened and doesn’t want to go into residential care but she’s in the system and thinks no one is listening.

Then I collected the grandchildren from school and took them to cubs and ballet and thought of childbearing and the way fertility can be controlled, and the 35% of all Puerto Rican women that were sterilized by the US Agency for Development.

Then I came home to do the cleaning and the cooking, sort out the clothes and do the washing, and remembered what the Ladybird books taught me in school. “Here we are at home says Daddy. Peter helps Daddy with the car, and Jane helps Mummy get the tea. Good girl, says Mummy to Jane. You are a good girl to help me like this.” When I had our children I worked part time for 20 years without sick pay or a pension and tried to nurture you all in sickness and life, and help keep them fed and educated.  If an Englishman’s home is his castle why doesn’t he clean it. Only 3% of PLC directors in Britain are women and only 4% of judges. 78% of all clerical workers are women, but only 11% are managers.

Then I started to work on my quilt, and you’re reading it now. Women artists only earn 1/3 of male artists. So I stopped and made your tea.  That’s how I spent my day, dear, how about you?


  1. Through my tears I cry "Truth".

  2. If that is how a nation thinks what hope is there? Appalling and I won't watch although I did catch someof the interview on tv. I had no idea about the appalling detail. These are supposed to be men?

  3. It is horrifying - but unfortunately not as unusual as we think.

  4. Very moving. I listened to the PBS report on the new documentary about the Indian rape. Gnashing teeth. Thanks for expressing it.

  5. Annabel, you know how much I love this quilt. You hit the spot.

  6. There's not much I can add really. Thank you all for taking time to comment.

  7. Thank you so much for doing what you do. You are empowered, and you are sharing your power so well. Thank you!

  8. So many truths. Heartbreaking. Are these the thoughts that some quilters (women) have not seen, because they can't see past the nakedness? Sometimes one despairs of humanity. Thank you, Annabel.