Saturday, March 22, 2014

Domestic and personal violence. Terrorism used to keep the victims quiet.

by Sean O'Torrain
I see two items in the New York Times today which are of interest. They are in relation to the brutal pressure that is put on women and to a lesser extent men to keep quiet about rape and assault that they suffer. In 2012 there were an estimated 26,000 sexual assaults on women and men in the US military. Yet only 3,374 were reported to the authorities and only 880 were prosecuted. This is a staggering statistic. Sexual assault is followed up by a campaign and culture of terrorism to keep the victim quiet. Once again I congratulate and extend my admiration and respect to all who take an open stand and speak out and fight this brutality. Thank you Comrades.
I wrote a book some years ago called The Donegal Woman. It was based on the life of my grandmother who was an Irish peasant woman and who was abused. Without an agent and only myself and two friends and a bank account which we called a publishing house the book reached number two on the best sellers list back home.  I live in Chicago now. The book can be ordered from me at We have it on the book list on this blog here.  Scroll down to Women's Struggles and there are some reviews on it.
I have a bad memory but every now and then things come back to me. When I was launching this book I held a lot of launches in small villages and rural hamlets in Donegal, Ireland. The attendance was usually about 20 to 25 and usually only about three or four men at most. We had a launch in a small hamlet called St. Johnston one night. There were about 20 people there. The discussion was going on and then a lady about 55 or so just burst out. She had been sitting all night bent over and with her head and eyes looking down at the floor. I had noticed her and been watching her. 

I think that on many occasions mistreatment of different kinds often has an affect on peoples’ physical shape. I have a relative whose partner treats her bad, not physically but emotionally and mentally. I am continually watching her posture. I am trying to convince those closer to her that we must intervene as her shoulders are getting rounded and she has a hard time looking people in the eye. So far I have not had success in this. But back to the launch of the book.

This lady just burst out and interrupted the discussion. She said:"I hate worms you know." Nobody had been talking about worms in any way. She then went on:"I was working in a big house. She was good to me. But he was a boyo. One night she was out and he tackled me to the floor." The lady then looked up, seemingly in shock at  her audacity to speak out. She went on:"But nothing happened you know nothing happened. I never told about this to anybody before." She then gathered the large shopping bag she had and rushed from the room. That poor women I still wonder if she got any help. In that rural backwater there were no counseling services or women's groups. I was very proud to hear some years later that my book The Donegal Woman about the life of my grandmother was being used as a text in some women's counseling circles that developed. I think from what the lady said and how she acted that "something" had happened but she could not say more. While proud that my book has been used I am ashamed that i was not able to act quicker to get that poor woman help there on that night.

I have started reading Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici.  But with my head the way it is it is slow going. I would be very interested to hear from people what their opinions are on this book. So far I find it powerful and it is adding to my knowledge in so many ways.

I am trying to make progress with my own book which I am presently writing. It is about my own evolution from a rural right wing Orange Order family in Donegal to full time organizer for revolutionary socialism. I think it might be positive for people who read it if I ever get it done.

Talking about writing I was reading an article recently and it included a quote from Oscar Wilde, that mad Irish man. I went to visit his tomb in Paris once and the huge rock that covers it was covered with lip stick marks in the shape of lips. What a character. The quote I read recently was in relation to "creativity." He said that a writer was "someone who had taught his or her mind to misbehave." I will have to work on that. I think I am too rigid in my thinking. 

Sorry for taking up time and space on this blog.

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