Saturday, 12 November 2016

Have you got one in stockings?

[I had my words stolen yesterday. By a "feminist" man. He won't apologise or acknowledge that he has done so. That happens all the time. Owen Jones supplements his income with taking feminist words. I have never been paid for writing and don't care if I'm not. I love writing.

I am annoyed, but I will do what is better for me than being angry. I can write about an experience only a woman can have had. He can't rewrite this for his own "feel good" factor. Because this cannot have happened to him.

I'll also be accused of "playing the victim". Yeah - I don't care that much.... because I was one. "Victim" is left behind when something bad has been done to you. Bad things were done. I don't see why women should feel terrible about sharing that experience so that other women can get angry and perhaps get free as I did. Now I am a survivor. Now I can look back on this awful time with more clarity and know why it matters to write about it for others. ]

This is years ago. I had taken back my abuser after splitting with him for 6 months. We do that. I had believed his promises. We do that. I had trusted he would and could change. We do that.

I hadn't realised that things had already begun to slip. I didn't know that he had been lulling me into believing that things really had changed. There was a night I knew for sure. 

I had taken him back after a break because he went on a downward spiral of drink and drugs. He had threatened to kill himself and one day I turned up at his place with our child to find him distraught and virtually unintelligible surrounded by a heap of bottles and filth.

I am a caring person and immediately set about helping. I didn't take him back at that very moment and held out for a few more weeks. I tried to stay free. But the promises and the emotional manipulation proved too strong. Another woman told me I would be better off taking him back as I was going to struggle financially. I wasn't, I had found a really good job. She said I was better off with him than letting another woman have him. This gave me the feeling that no one else would want me and that men are a valuable commodity we need to survive. I had very low self esteem and a genuine fear that I would fail at life if he wasn't around. He had been giving me that message for many years. I had doubts I would live through a year. I was afraid my child would suffer and I was being selfish. He had told me that too. Often. 

People say all sorts of unsupportive things when you are being abused. You are lost and advice is comforting. Some of it you take. Sometimes the right advice isn't offered. I had no feminist connections at that time for obvious reasons. He had severed most of my connections with friends. I had no close family to rely on. He had ensured any sort of loose connections were severed. I had a friend at that time and he accused me of sleeping with him. He still accuses me of this when he gets the chance and some free texting time. He tells anyone who will listen that my infidelity is the reason he abused me for what else could he do? It is nonsense. I didn't try to sleep with his best friend either. None of his friends were any more attractive as human beings to me than he was. 

I took him back. I enjoyed the new start and he promised that is what it was. He was more caring for a while and said less horrible things. I didn't feel controlled - as much. "A bit nicer" when you've been abused isn't that hard for an abuser to do. For anyone looking from the outside it would still look like pretty horrible treatment and a pretty horrible life. 

I didn't realise that I was still apprehensive about asking to go out with friends. A friend had asked me to drinks in another part of town. I was afraid to tell him because he didn't know these friends and he was very judgemental about that part of town. I decided to stick to my guns and new freedom and go though. I did eventually work up to telling him after deciding a few times that I wouldn't bother going. Convincing myself I preferred to be at home anyway. 

He made me fearful by telling me it was not a good venue. In a pretence at caring he dropped me off and watched me go inside. This way he knew I was "safe". I look back now and am ashamed that I ever thought myself free. I wasn't. I had been apart from him. I had never been free. He had been carefully invested in getting me back under control. That is all. 

I began to talk to people in the pub. I suspect now that he probably stayed outside a while. Watching. I felt a bit awkward but had a couple of drinks and began to talk to new people. I am pretty sociable and I had always been good at passing myself off as confident and good at socialising even when I was in the middle of being abused. 

As the night wore on I began to get texts. Texts asking how long I would be. Then another and another and another. Finally telling me to get in a taxi and come home or the door would be locked against my getting in. It was about 11.30 pm. 

I hailed a taxi in a panic. I couldn't get one at first and was on my doorstep a little after midnight. Maybe 12.10 am. It was locked. The key was in the other side. I knocked gently. My child was in bed. The next day was school. I knocked again. And again. I panicked. I became really scared. Where would I go? Eventually I saw him come downstairs. He did not speak. He stared at me and stormed back to bed. I felt confused. I went to bed and he did not speak. I didn't sleep well. The next morning I felt pretty angry. I knew inside that I hadn't done anything wrong. I went downstairs as he was going off to work and had not spoken a word to me. He had been waiting. I began by saying I had done nothing wrong. 

The switch flicked. 

He threw the table across the kitchen smashing it into the wall where it caved plaster out of the wall. Yes. That much force. He threw the chair at me, just missing of course. He pounded on the sink draining board with his fist until it caved in. All the time screaming that I had disobeyed him. He couldn't trust me. I had promised to be in for 11 and I had stayed out beyond that. I had never said a time I would be home and he had never asked for one. I ran to the bottom of the stairs and sat crying. I pleaded and tried to reason with him. He shouted all sorts of names at me. Called me a slut and deceitful. Said I was taking the piss out of his good nature. Why had he come back when I was only making him miserable? On and on. Finally ignoring my distressed state he left, slamming the door behind him and I immediately set about clearing the mess and getting my child ready for school. Trying to act normal. Trying to field questions about the mess. Trying to hold my insides straight and tidy whilst my mind whirred in complete confusion.

I met the friend with the "go back" advice for a coffee as it was my day off. I told her what had happened. She seemed to be uncomfortable but still said it was "early days and will calm down".

I listened to her and I decided she was right. I probably hadn't tried hard enough to make him feel secure. Yes. I actually thought like that at the time.

I spent the day upset and wondering what to do. I was right. I did have the right to be out to a time I decided. I also spent some time wondering if I really had agreed to be in by 11pm and if it really was so unreasonable for him to expect me to be home. This was gas lighting. I know that now. I had never said it and both he and I knew it. 

That night he didn't come home from work. I tried calling. There was no answer. I didn't spend any time thinking about the smashed up kitchen but I spent subsequent years looking at the damage left behind that I could never quite bring myself to fix. 

I called again and again. I got scared. I wanted to apologise and fix things. We are conditioned by abusive men to try to fix situations caused by their poor behaviour.

Eventually he called me. Well I say he called me. His phone called me. I answered. I could hear footsteps as I said "Hello. Hello?" 

I heard doors opening. He had obviously called me by mistake. Or so I thought then. I don't now of course. 

I heard a woman's voice speak. I was gripped to the phone and sweating. I was still trying to get his attention by shouting his name. The woman said something I could not hear and then I heard a door open and close with a squeak. The footsteps began again. I heard his voice ask a question.

"Have you got one in stockings?"

I went cold. He was in a brothel. He admitted this later. He said it was my fault. I began to cry. I listened to him enter a room and slur something to a woman there. Then there were a lot of muffled noises whilst I screamed his name and begged him not to do what he was clearly doing. 

Eventually the phone went dead. Clearly he knew I had heard enough. I was with him for about another 4 years after that. You can imagine what they were like. 

So.... to the man on Twitter doing your "amazing work for women" by rewriting things we write and talking of our activism as though you are part of it - know this ... you can't steal these words or this experience because you haven't lived it. Many women have and for those women my heart cries.

JH x

(P.s - I'm free. I did not catch a sexually transmitted disease from that vile man. I am sorry to the poor woman he used like an object. I hope she didn't either.  I hope she got free of that terrible life. I am not sorry for sharing this experience and I have not shared it because I want people to feel sorry for me. I share because another woman somewhere is hearing shitty advice and wondering whether to take it. I hope she doesn't take it. I hope she finds some feminist advice instead.)

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Justice Nicola Davies, Chainsaw Massacre, Ched Evans and Harold Shipman.

Forgive me if this is poorly worded. Forgive me if I don't quite have my thoughts together. Forgive me if I scream and it comes out as typed words which make no sense. 

I am genuinely stunned that a man can murder his mother with a chainsaw. He can kick her as she dies and strangle her. He can initially deny this and say she fell on his chain saw. He can say that she was mad. Finally he will admit his guilt. 

I'm not stunned that Robert Owens, a son, would do all that. It isn't that much of an "isolated incident" when we know that at least 2 women a week die at the hands of men who "love them". 

What really makes me do a head whip round is this....

The presiding judge said this as she delivered sentence...

That judge is saying that a man - a son - who murdered his mother, Iris Owens, for no reason whatsoever, in her garden - is "loving and supportive".

What was this loving and supporting mother doing when her "loving and supporting" son attacked her with a chain saw? Well by testimony she was hanging out the washing. Probably pegging out his pants and socks.

She was hanging out the washing when her own son came up and hacked at her with a chain saw and kicked her and strangled her. 

Now this is a terrible summative comment. It is an appalling way to deliver judgement in a murder trial regardless of whether you send that murderer to jail or not. It suggests that things sometimes just "get out of hand" in situations of family "domestics". Or is it male violence that is out of hand Justice Nicola Davies? 

Importantly - do you know how to recognise male violence when it is out of hand? Or are you a little "forgiving" of male violence? 

I don't care about his addiction troubles. Or his divorce. Or how Iris took him in. Of course she did. She looked after him in the dark times of his life as she did when he was a baby. Iris Owens loved him. Iris Owens was supportive. Her son hacked her to death with a chainsaw. 

Women love the men who murder them. Don't forgive those men as you send them for punishment. The message is abhorrent. "Ah bless. I know you didn't mean to!"

This Judge is also the judge in the Ched Evans retrial. You know the one with the summative comments on the case. The one who presided while section 41 evidence was used to discredit a complainant and parade her sexual history for an entire nation to digest with their tea. 

This judge also defended Harold Shipman as a barrister. Now... barristers can't refuse cases that come their way as "cab rank". I know that. But still. Harold Shipman. Murdered 144 women. 144 women. That right there is #maleviolence and that right there is the woman who taught herself how to defend it. 

Iris Owens had a first class honours degree in English which she gained at age 64. She was a volunteer for charity, she was a bilingual tour guide. She was a woman and she was murdered by a man she loved more than other men. We love our children. Even the ones we see coming towards us with a chain saw.  

I am speechless and sad.


JH x

Monday, 31 October 2016

The @fifthwavefeminism nonsense - get over it.

The account @fifthwavefeminism was deliberately targeting feminists. It had more than 16,000 followers. Those followers were aware that their job was to look at the screenshot of a feminist comment, find that feminist and target her with whatever you felt like from derision to abuse and every shade in between.

In itself derision is ok. When 16,000 people (mainly men) see that as their "duty" having sworn allegiance to an account by following it like particularly bigoted sheep, it is absolutely not ok and it is targeted trolling. I have been accused of shutting down the account because I couldn't take "constructive criticism". Hmmm. Ok. Is this sort of thing "constructive criticism" these days?

More importantly when there is a dog pile of that type, and the account's operator knows full well that will be the result when he "chooses" his feminist for "satire".... the account of the feminist becomes virtually useless. I had 563 notifications when I turned on. It is still happening. I am currently raising money for Rape Crisis and the complainant in the Ched Evans debacle. This was important to me and a lot of people.

This anti-feminist account can play innocent about its intentions all it likes ... but it stopped me from doing something worthwhile for over 24 hours. That is a direct attack. That same day that account did the same to 2 other feminists and to Lily Allen and it had been targeting women in this way for weeks. It was not a harmless account. It was a font of misogyny. It has been replaced by another whining account.

I will however address the "satire". The account wasn't happy with my tweet below. This actually wasn't that important to me either. I was busy focusing on poor application of a section of law in rape cases. But don't let that get in the way of a good misogynist.

Here was the picture of the condom machine placed in a woman's toilet and the slogan on that machine which makes no reference to the women who will be using it.

Let's be clear. I approve of the use of condoms. I talk to my daughter about their importance. I have, in the past done the whole condom on a banana thing. I have zero problems with condoms. They are a good and positive thing.

I commented on the placement of a machine with a slogan clearly aimed at men, within a women's toilet which used language which didn't refer to them at all other than as a "thing" to enter. 

I know how to deconstruct the language of advertising. I understand semiotics. I have studied Saussure. I know how to apply feminist theory on advertising too.

So here goes... one last attempt to stop the stupid onslaught of attacks about a topic that frankly I'd forgotten about about ten minutes after posting as it really isn't the key issue of the day for me. There are a lot of offensively marketed products for women. A LOT. It was just one that caught my eye and I had  a little tweet about it.

The key thing is that it was placed in a woman's toilet. That should mean the advertising would be sensibly aimed at women. "Don't let him in" might be appropriate. This means a woman is protecting her own body and referring to your own body as an entrance is ok. This is discussing the intimacy of your own vagina. A woman talking of her vagina as a thing that is part of her is fine.  Her having agency in gatekeeping access to her own body is fine. That isn't what this does.

When the language used is clearly addressed to a man the connotations are very different. The words "don't go in" very clearly remove the woman as a human being from the sexual act and make her a "thing" to be entered. The woman is nowhere in that message. Yet it is in a space that only females would (should) access. I don't think a human with a penis is a woman.  That isn't phobia. It is biology.

The language removes a woman from  her part in the sexual act. It makes her vagina an object. It makes that object a danger to men but does not discuss how their penis may be a danger to her. It is placed in a woman's space. These were my objections.

For a woman to be targeted by this product effectively it would need to talk about the diseases she could catch from a penis that she allows into her body. I was right in suggesting that putting a product that can be used by women too, in a woman's loo, but talking of her vagina as an object that is a problem to go in. That is not good. I still don't think that is good. It is the last I will say about something I'm not THAT arsed about.


Actually - it really doesn't matter what I say. This wasn't a case of "A feminist said something I don't agree with..." It was a case of "a feminist said ....something"

The account has now been replaced by an which continues to "target me" / whine like a door that needs oiling. It accuses me of removing free speech. Yeah. That old chestnut. I have no idea how many women reported that account. I hope they always report accounts that attempt to silence women. Incidentally the account also tried to endanger a young student and was happily gloating about it as she emailed it.

Also, the stuff I said wasn't even new. This research from "Women as Subject and Audience In World War II Venereal Disease Posters"  - Whitton 2010 reveals the following...

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Twitter Attack


I have had to temporarily delete my Twitter account.

Yesterday I was targeted by an account called @fifthwavefem - This account picks out random feminists and then causes a "dog pile" - where all his followers attack you saying anything they like about feminists. It isn't good believe me. I couldn't operate my account by tea time and this had happened to at least 2 other women in the past 24 hours.

I received abuse from hundreds of misogynist account saying the most horrible of things. One told me to "choke on a dick".

I can handle that kind of thing and have done before. However, why should I?

I'm tired and my family are tired of watching me take this crap. I have a right to have a voice online and I don't harass others.

I reported directly to Twitter who tell me that moves are on the way to rectify that problem. Well that isn't now.

Meanwhile I cannot respond to messages about the Go Fund Me. I can't stay in touch with other women either for or to offer support.

I have good friends around me and will be taking a break but this isn't right at all.

I wanted to help women. This guy wants to stop me. I'm the one who is driven from Twitter? Is that ok?

JH x

Monday, 24 October 2016

What would a rapist's past sexual history look like? Would that be pleasant?

The day after the Ched Evans trial verdict was grim. Women were contacting me in sheer agony. Most had listened to the graphic details of the case in horror. The callous, indifferent treatment of Woman X during the night in 2011 and the treatment of her in that courtroom, where her sexual history was paraded for the world; unbearably painful to hear. How painful must it have been for that poor woman? Women wept for her. Women are still crying.

A few women said we should do something. They wanted me to front it. I said I would. I have taken abuse before and another round would make little difference. So I took a deep breath and started the fund. I very deliberately chose to list the target as £50,000 as this was the amount of "reward" offered for evidence by the website of Ched Evans. Surely we could try our best to raise that amount for a decent cause instead?

What happened has been overwhelming. The messages of support for Woman X are heartbreaking. I have cried many times this past week listening. Women talk of their own experiences and how this verdict left them on their knees and feeling hopeless that anyone would ever care about their experience. Men are quieter in their expression, but they are donating in support of women they know and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Every £5 is a gesture of love, kindness and understanding that this woman and other women need their solidarity and support. Some of those women donating are going hungry to do so. It matters more to them than food that women get justice from our courts. That thought makes me weep. With misery at what has probably happened to them and joy that they have such compassion for others.

The reporting rate for rapes has doubled over the last five years whilst convictions have halved. This probably means more rapes and less rapists in jail. It means that women are disbelieved, in very large numbers, by juries. Or before that stage, by police who take the initial report. It means that we have a serious failure to help women at every step of our justice system.

Few rapes are reported. Of those, only 11% result in a conviction. The women who report them are still 100% raped. The men who raped them are still 100% on our streets.

The problem that has now been raised by the use of past sexual history via the hideous loophole of section 41, means fewer women than ever will dare to report. The thought of that happening to them is terrifying. It isn’t a precedent legally. It has been in existence and frugally used since 1999. But, this case has amplified the awareness of it for victims and for rapists. That will potentially have a disastrous effect.

A woman’s sexual history is irrelevant. Raped women react in a vast variety of ways. Women who enjoy sex can be raped just as easily as women who have never had sex. The rapist is the common denominator here. His past sexual history would probably be a lot more revealing.

Women are helped by rape crisis after the most horrific invasions of their body and their spirit by men. It can often be the first point of contact and it can go on long after the incident and any attempts to seek justice. Rape Crisis England And Wales have agreed to accept half the fund. I am pleased about that. Women will be helped by this fund in a very practical way.

Woman X has asked why people are doing this? She can’t believe there are people who care after what she went through in court. She is comforted to hear the answer. The answer is simple. Women love women. We help women. I’m told Woman X is drawing strength from reading the messages. The police officer involved in liasing with her said the fund has restored his faith in humanity. This is not just money. This is people behaving very, very, decently.

Thank you to the men who have helped too. You are lighting the way for other men. There are lots who remain very dark. They shout on Twitter. They don’t help anyone.

Men who rape women are subhuman. Women who help women overcome those rapes are being the very best humans they can be.

JH x

Friday, 14 October 2016

What Ched Evans Told Women

Of course Ched Evans himself didn't tell women that much. He sometimes doesn't talk to women he has sex with. He doesn't talk to feminists at all.

I really mean what the Ched Evans case told us.


That's the message from this whole sordid mess.

Manifesto For Women According To The Courts, The Football 'Industry', The Main Stream Media, Social Media, The Blokes In The Pub, The Blokes In Some Women's Beds, The Blokes In Some Women's Heads.

DON'T go out after work
DON'T get drunk
DON'T have sex
DON'T enjoy the sex you have
DON'T move around whilst having sex
DON'T get into "positions" whilst having sex
DON'T refuse to suck a man's penis especially if he asks in a funny voice
DON'T wear high heels
DON'T fall over
DON'T expect a famous footballer to pick you up off the floor like a reasonable human would
DON'T order pizza in a takeaway
DON'T drop your pizza
DON'T drop your handbag
DON'T ever have sex with more than one man in your entire life
DON'T text the man you have had sex with or consider them friends who might help you
DON'T have sex with the man you have been dating more than once
DON'T tell anyone if you wake up and don't know where you are
DON'T groan or squeal if you are in a room in a hotel drunk
DON'T go into a hotel room and assume no one else will come in and access it and your vagina
DON'T tell your friends if you think your drink has been spiked
DON'T tell the police anything
DON'T seek help if you wake up covered in bruises and don't know where you are
DON'T ask a man for help in the street he might "get" you
DON'T have sex with footballers. They are from the Planet Football with special rules about sex.
DON'T get raped
DON'T speak out
DON'T stay quiet. Even if you are too drunk to speak. Or unconscious. Or asleep.
DON'T go to court
DON'T go to court again
DON'T seek justice
DON'T carry on living if the courts let you down as they let down women every day
DON'T expect anything has changed since the days our grandmothers were raped
DON'T believe that women matter
DON'T fight the system. It is male and it will break you

Here is my response.

DON'T listen.

Get up from this knockdown. Stay on your feet.

Have sex where you like. Have sex with who you like. Move around. Move your own body. Move it away from men you find repulsive. Drink what you want. Wear what you feel like. Talk to who you want to. Talk loud. Talk soft. Talk often. Say yes. Say no. Say something. Say something else. Shout. Ask for help. Stay quiet for a while. Or forever if it helps. Cry. Laugh. Dream. Fight. 

Women are humans. Women have a voice. Women are 52% of the population of this world and women will not let men make rules for them forever. Women will keep fighting to keep other women safe. Women will fight for women who can't fight themselves. Women are loved by other women. That makes us very, VERY special. It makes us terrifying and beautiful.

Love to the sisters who keep other sisters strong

JH x

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Green Party Women and Blockbot

I just want to share this with you.

I contacted Caroline Lucas to ask her position on Green Party  Women endorsing the Blockbot blocking of feminists who have a varying view of gender identity issues to the Blockbot owners and administrators.

I asked if she endorsed this silencing.

I can't share the full response as it is a protected email. The summary of the Green Party response is approximately this...

"We are looking into this. Please give evidence that the Blockbot is run by Men's Rights Activists....."

This is not something I asserted at all.

Here is my response.


I don't assert that the Blockbot application is run from the perspective, or even by, Men's Rights Activists. I think the problematic issue here is that an aggressive transgender rights group of self-identifying women and their biological counterparts are unwilling to allow the free voice of those women who may have a dissenting or oppositional view. They have therefore devised an application that effectively prevents those women from being heard. This is a deeply aggressive action against women whether it is perpetrated by other women or by men.

It is not just or fair that biological women should be denied the opportunity of connecting with other women, or men, via online communities at the behest of those with a differing ideological view of key feminist issues such as gender identity.

For the Green Party to endorse such no-platforming and silencing of women, many of whom work increasingly hard, on ever-dwindling resources, in a variety of ways to end violence against women is staggering and frankly savagely misguided.

The term "TERF" is both offensive and categorically untrue. No such thing exists and the bigotry and misogyny intrinsic within that term - used against biological women by self-identified women - is the thing that should be condemned rather than legitimised and encouraged by the Green Party.

I do hope that this can be addressed with Green Party Women who seem to be happily aligning themselves against women who are vehemently devoted to protecting safe women's space and advocating for the abolition of all violence against women and girls. Perhaps Caroline can explain how she makes sense of that and whether she endorses it.

Kind regards,

Jean Hatchet 
I await a response from Caroline Lucas but meanwhile perhaps she should really be considering the legal challenges that are being made against the Blockbot. Like this one....

Have the Green Party really thought through their alignment with something so obviously insidious and libellous as this thing is?