Friday, May 31, 2013

"My mother-in-law sexually abused me..."

Mona, 52, Female

A long, long time ago in my past this took place...but I can never forget: 

It wasn't an arranged marriage- maybe thats why from day 1 my relationship with my in-laws was strained. Especially my mother in law. 

The day after my wedding, I was sitting in the car ready to go visit my family - but she came and literally pulled me out. Said I couldn't go see my parents because I was married into their house now. She didn't let me go for days after, eventually I pretended I was going somewhere else and thats how I managed to see my parents. But since the marriage was my decision in the first place, I didn't ever complain to my parents either. It was something I had brought on myself, and I thought that I had to deal with it alone. 

Aside from the emotional abuse, I do believe my mother-in-law sexually abused me too, something I've actually come to realise much later in life. 

When I had children and would breastfeed them, she would watch intently, she would forcefully touch my breasts and comment on how nice they looked and the attractive colour of my nipples, etc. She forbade me to lock my door, and we lived with her in a joint family - so she would barge in whenever she wanted. I was terrified of being alone in the house with her. I complained to my husband but he didn't have the courage to speak out to his mother. So he would just get angry, frustrated and leave the house, leaving me alone to deal with her yet again. Sometimes if i was dressed to go out and wearing makeup, she would pin me against the wall and kiss me, very wetly, on the mouth to smear my lipstick all over my face, and then she would cackle… laugh uncontrollably, getting off on the fear in my eyes. It never went further than that, but that was enough to make sure that I lived in fear of this woman for years. We don't live with her anymore, but my relationship is still strained. This is the fist time I am speaking out about this. I don't even know how many ways it has affected me or my marriage - but I do know that living in fear does not make for a peaceful, happy life. 

*     *     *

WOW. What. In. The. Fuck. I don't even....know what to say to you Mona. Except I'm glad you're out of this situation, and I'm so terribly sorry it happened to you in the first place. I cannot believe that despite telling your husband, he did nothing knowing that this would probably continue to happen. I can't wrap my mind around that...Or this story really...

And know something, just because you decided who to marry yourself, it certainly didn't mean you needed to suffer through all that alone. People are entitled to make a choice about who they will be spending the rest of their lives with (in fact I don't think there is anyone as qualified to make the choice), sometimes those choices don't work out  - its as simple as that really, your family should be there to support you throughout, regardless of who picked the spouse. Perhaps they would've been had you given them the chance. I'm not a fan of arranged marriage at all, it can easily be a vehicle to oppress women...and sometimes men too. Please, please teach your children to speak out and to never put up with situations that make them even slightly uncomfortable. Teach them that they can talk to you about anything. 

Aside from that I am surprised you're still married to this man, though I recognize it is not so simple to just walk away from a relationship that is abusive or allows abuse to continue. 

My heart goes out to you, thank you for sharing your story and hopefully you inspire someone to speak out for themselves today. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Brides are not oddities but zombies might be!

I've had very little time to post lately.... the courses I'm in this semester are taking every moment of my spare time...I do apologize...but today someone shared an article with me I could not ignore.

So I'm going to try to do this as quickly as possible. 

Express Tribune is not my favourite Pakistani newspaper... they often print things that are misogynistic, and just plain bad writing. But on the flipside they do create some sort of voice for more liberal Pakistani thoughts as well, by posting stories about taboos like homosexuality, etc. Their intention for doing so I believe is not as honorable - they just want hits. They want to create controversy and be talked about... which is not the worst thing...thats what all media does to an extent. But the fact that they print some horrifically offensive stuff just to get hits is what really gets my goat. Don't pretend to be pro-women and then go publish misogyny. 

Responsible journalism is a thing ET. Look it up.

There are some nice and professional people who work there that I've interacted with, but my experience with some of their people asking me if they could publish my work was less than great. They screwed up on the basic principle of giving credit where credit was due. Took my work and published it on certain social media sites without asking me AND without any real link to me or my blog at all. You'd think a simple email would fix this... oh no no...the woman I had the pleasure of dealing with was on some strange power trip where even though she asked me for my work, she wasnt willing to listen or perhaps unable to comprehend something as simple as , "hey - why did u put my work up there without telling me or linking to me, could u at least add a link?"  --- anyhow, i don't want to go on a rant about that... just telling u that i personally didnt have a great experience either. Several emails later, with multiple screenshots explaining what I meant, the problem was half-assedly fixed. 

Anyway, back to the issue at hand. You can read the 'article' in question here, but for our purposes I will be responding to select parts. 

Now its true, bridezillas are for real... as are groomzillas. Horrible people get married just like not-so-horrible people do (and certain stressful situations just bring out the worst in humans)... you can joke about how they're annoying and bossy during their wedding, but some things are most certainly not funny - especially if you reduce them to fit one specific gender... and it's sad that I even have to point this out to you MsT whoever you are.... if you're a woman yourself, its even sadder. 

The title alone is enough to make u want to gag on the idiocy 

"7 Bridal oddities you are sure to meet in Pakistan!"

who's running this fucking paper? Brides are women and people... not to be referred to as 'oddity 1' or 'oddity 2'. 

*     *     *

Oddity 1:

"This secret-agent bride has an uncanny ability to conceal all information about her wedding and dodge all inquiries. Torture her if you must but she will not fess up. Confront her during her nikah signing or barge into her room on her wedding night and she will STILL deny it!"

What the fuck are you actually confronting her about and why? And WHAT on the fucking face of this earth justifies barging into someone's room on their wedding night? Just because your appetite for juicy details wasn't satisfied? I mean this is just plain rude to both individuals involved.. and not to mention a pretty stupid joke. 

Oddity 2:
Besharam Bride
"While other brides will look down modestly and steal shy glances at their men, this one will be grabbing her groom (read fiancĂ© — the nikah has probably not happened yet!) and suggesting they celebrate their wedding night before all the hullabaloo of the dholkis and dinners starts!"

So let me get this straight, you don't want her to skimp on the details, but if she quietly wants to have consensual adult sex with her FUCKING FIANCE you think its wrong besharam (shameless) ? And you site 'brides looking down modestly' as a valid example of non ridiculous behaviour? for shit's sake MsT this is a prime display of how women in Pakistan are oppressed to this day. Why the fuck should we be expected to look down modestly and steal shy glances? What century are we in? Don't you think its time that women were allowed to look in whatever direction they wanted and NOT have to 'steal' glances, and time they were allowed to make decisions about who they want to engage in intercourse with & when? Tell me MsT, when in your  expert opinion can we have that much control over our own bodies without being besharam in your eyes?

Oddity 3:
Sharmeeli Bride
"This poor bride appears to be stuck in the 1920s. Once the date for her wedding is finalised, she is blushing perpetually! Ask her the name of her groom and she will place a finger on her cheek or bite her lip."

Jesus so this is an issue too? She must be modestly looking down at all times (yet not stuck in the nineteen twenties - u prefer the fourteen twenties perhaps?)  but not be too shy either? you have a problem with recognizing inconsistency or following a linear thought pattern? Perhaps writing is not for you... because your general idea has to follow through to the end. 

Oddity 4:
Nothing-will-get-me-down Bride
"She can smile sweetly at the designer who makes her ‘shaadi ka jora’(wedding outfit) a glorified version of Lady Gaga’s meat dress. Nothing can break her, not even her nand’s incessant complaining about the 50-hour long plane journey she had to make, all the way from America.  She is, basically, Super Bride!
Reason: Perhaps she suffered something terrible in her childhood which left her completely numb? Or, a much-more intriguing possibility, she just couldn’t care less about the wedding."

This....this is where u really get me. So someone 'happy' and with a general positive attitude is considered an oddity to you? 

So much so, that you use some sick joke about a traumatic childhood to make light of this? What exactly are you referring to here? Let me think... what could be so possibly terrible in your childhood that it would leave you numb (and by the way, here u go again with your terrible inconsistencies, someone numb wouldn't be perpetually happy they would be indifferent... i.e., numb ) - but lets see..things that can leave a child numb... the loss of a parent(s) or sibling, physical abuse, childhood sexual abuse, and other absolutely HORRID fucking things.... things that should not be joked about ...i'm truly beginning to wonder if its empathy or intellect you lack MsT... We haven't even begun to have a conversation about child abuse, yet you've already decided to mock it. 
Are you listening ET? Since you claim to care about Childhood Sexual Abuse, and you post articles about it...perhaps you should put your contributors through some sensitivity training, or maybe... i dunno, exercise your own freakin' discretion about not printing shit. 

Oddity 5:
Everything-gets-me-down Bride
"Granted that tears are inevitable in every ‘shaadi ka ghar,’ this bride takes it to a whole new level! She cries, whines and screams before, during and after the wedding.
Reasons: This melodrama can only be explained by an obsessive need for perfection and focusing all her frustrations on the decor to temporarily forget about what is to come after the wedding."

So she can't be too happy or too sad...too shy or too assertive... and again you proceed to joke about how she might be trying to forget 'whats to come after the wedding'. One simply cannot make jokes like that in our society.... a place where women are often forced/pressured into arranged marriages... sometimes raped on their wedding night and for days to come... where they are shamed about not birthing sons, they are made to feel worthless/helpless... of course not all women are treated like this in Pakistan, but if even a few are... this is not something to take lightly - because you're RIGHT... she might be crying because she is terrified of all those things that might actually happen to her. Heck if i was getting married to someone I didn't know and was expected to have sex with him... I'd be bawling my eyes out. If you're half a human ...try to be a little more sensitive to the kind of shit women are put through...especially in countries like Pakistan. 

Oddity 6:
"No-cost-spared Bride
She has a talent for emptying peoples’ pockets. She will make ridiculous requests that nobody can, or will want to, entertain, such as arriving at the venue on a unicorn, asking her in-laws to bring in a gold-spun dress from Paris and requesting her buddies to colour-coordinate their outfits, etc.
Reasons: YOMO! You Only Marry Once and might as well milk the cow. Not to mention, this is the only way of getting even for all the spending she had to do on others’ weddings."

Ok, so here you maybe have a reason to joke about extravagant spenders, especially when they are surrounded by poverty like in Pakistan. But... this kind of behaviour is not exclusive to women I'd like to point out. And also, I'd remove the word oddity --- because as I've mentioned brides are people not oddities...and they are terribly objectified as is in Pakistan. Bought and sold almost...

Oddity 7:
"The religious fanatic bride
No one is allowed to smile at this event — unless it is done without your teeth showing and eyes sparkling. Music is out of the question, unless the bride is in party mode and you can only play the duff very ligtly. The nikah is being held at a masjid!"
Wait... so you don't want her to be too religious either - she should be modest enough to not even look up but not be too shy - She's a skank if she wants to have premarital sex with her fiance but you also have a problem if she wants to sign her papers in a mosque. Got it. Oh and not too happy or too sad either. 
Soounds totally doable, send us an account of your wedding would ya? since you dont like people who hold back on details... 

As much as I dislike religion and abhor it's involvement in weddings, I just don't understand what you want from a Pakistani bride. 

Cheers, keep up the quality journalism ET. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

You're such a Pakistani Rockstarrrr (manson reference for those of u who werent spooky kids in ur youth)

So I was practicing photoshop selection skills for my class and wondered what it'd be like if our respectable/beloved politicians were indeed the rockstars they pretend to be...

Now mind you, some of these hybrid creatures turned out better than others.... and I have only taken a beginners photoshop class... so don't be criticizing my skills, cuz I'm well aware they aren't the best...

you may critique me after i take PhotoShop 2  :)

Anyhoo, thought i'd share these with you, because I found them amusing... also, I'd just like to throw out that this is in no way an endorsement for any of the politicians... they are all pretty evil as far as I'm concerned ... and I actually like some of these musicians/singers (no, not bieber) - so however cool one of these rockstars might be, it is not a reflection upon how cool/uncool the pakistani politician in the picture is.


yea i got lazy with altaf....realised i was using a 
hard brush, then didnt bother to do it over again..
shit happens, *shrug*