Friday, October 31, 2014

The simple-difficult task of breaking the silence – part IV: Conjugal Torment

In this post, part four of my ongoing series of blogs on sexual violence in India (read parts one, two, and three), i intend to discuss that tool of everyday violence and opression – sexual and otherwise – perpetrated on a majority of indian women, everyday – the great Indian marriage.

We live in a country where marriage is as much of a fact of life... for everyone … as growing up, growing body hair, feeling hunger/cold/heat, death and so on. We dont have a concept of choosing not to get married because everyone must. Neither do we, as a rule, have a concept of choosing who we marry (beyond a pretend selection among candidates vetted and put forward by parents, and even there the boys get a far better say than girls). So, we live in a society where as women, we are mentally prepared from day one – practically from the cradle onwards - to be compulsorily and without choice married off to a total stranger, and expected to fulfil our conjugal duties (read provide sex).

We are also a patrilocal society, where the new bride is expected to move in with her husband's entire family, and basically act as an unpaid maid-of-all-works for every member. She is also expected to dissolve whatever values, learning, personality she has manage to acquire at her parents' home, (often in spite of efforts to make her a blank slate) and totally reformulate her entire being in the mold of her in-laws. Basically, she is the lowest ranked member of the new household, with no rights, no voice, no one to fall back on, and only a long list of DUTIES and expectations to live up to. One foot wrong, one failing, one 'flaw' and not only does she stand to be persecuted, screamed at, even hit, her parents, their values, and their very 'culture' will come into question. Often, they will be called up to be insulted.

Into this witches' brew of seething turmoil, add the worst two ingredients. A lifelong training to grin and bear anything the husband does to her, and an almost total absence of any kind of knowledge about sex on the part of both partners, complicated by far by a huge set of myths and misconceptions on part of the man. My own personal experiences as a counsellor for sexual health, online and offline, for almost 20 years now, keeps reasserting to my mind how little we- as Indians – know of basic human sexuality, and how many wrong and dangerous notions we have.

For women, the extreme taboo surrounding not just anything sexual but anything physical means that they are often unaware of basic hygiene and health related to their own bodies. Menstruation, puberty, various discomforts and discharges, these are not just mysteries, they are things to be ahsamed of and ignored, often to the point of illness, and never to ask about or get a straight answer about. As for the male anatomy or the actual sex act, they know only what they can glean from vague but thrilling whispers overheard when the married women get together, and the suggestive jokes they are pelted with around the time of their wedding, both sources being useless as a way to learn anything meaningful and often filling their heads with dangerous notions and fear.

In the case of the men, the situation is far worse. Not only is their entire knowledge of female anatomy derived from foreign porn (leaving them with no idea what a real indian woman looks like), their total knowledge of the sex act is derived from the same source as well. This means they routinely expect their women to be 'brazillian wax'ed, buxom, unrealistically flexible, able to take monster organs with a smile both vaginally and anally, completely in love with performing oral sex, and capable of acts like 'squirting' orgasms. Sex, to them is insertion, thrusts, climax, and thats all, and they are convinced that the bigger and rougher they are and the harder they thrust, the more the woman will enjoy it. In fact, they have no concept of foreplay, no concept of sensitivity or paying attention to a partner's needs, no desire – in most cases – to even care whether the partner feels anything as long as they themselves get off.

To top that off, they also have the concept, egged on by friends and society in general and bollywood, and all kinds of popular culture, that a marriage MUST be consummated on the 'suhaag raat' or the first night. Most believe that if they don't essentially rape this practical stranger they now own on that very night, they will somehow be less of men, and their wives will question their masculinity as well. Additionally, with marriage being the only endorsed and allowed way for people to be sexually active, most of these men are like rabid starved animals who have been waiting for years for this opportunity to finally stick it in someone. And thy are not going to wait.

The result, a horrendous night for the woman, which is a good trailer for what the rest of her sex life is likely to be – for the rest of her life. Scared, anxious, nervous at having to leave everything she knows and make herself into a new person to suit the random demands of a family of strangers, married to a stranger she barely knows (inspite of the 'modern' practice of a bunch of dates – often chaperoned by cousins or unmarried aunts), and already dreading an act she has heard enough about to fear, she is given no time to get comfortable. Forget arousal, she doesnt have the choice to even relax, or just unclench – mentally- before her 'parmeshwar' or god asks for his rights.

Is it a wonder then that most women, even educated, modern, free mixing allowed, working, totally 21st century Indian women have shatteringly disastrous and painfulexperiences beginning their sex life. And no, it does not get better. To add insult to injury, we dont have a concept of – let alone a law against – marital rape. She has no right to refuse to have sex with her lord and master, and in most cases she does not even realise it is possible to say no. Ill or well, happy or depressed, fresh or tired, turned on or not, doesnt matter. If he wants it, he gets it. She? She is not supposed to have wants, or needs or desires or opinions, so it doesnt matter.

Rape? But thats what strangers do to women right? Thats why we call it izzat lootna... or robbing of honour. We force raped women to MARRY their rapists because it restores their robbed honour, never mind her trauma at having to have a lifelong repeated experience of sexual acts with the monster because there cannot be trauma. By virtue of the fact that he is now her husband, the rapist becomes someone whose attentions she is required to welcome and enjoy. Simple. So how can a husband rape his wife? He owns her, he has full rights to do what he wants to her, whenever he feels the need. Where is the question of her desire, consent, or refusal thereof? She is chattel, property, she has no will of her own. This is her DUTY! And this is the attitude not just of our society, but also of our judiciary and our ministers.


Given this mentality, a woman has ZERO legal or social recourse against cruelty. No matter what he does to her sexually, and how much she suffers, she has no support. No one to turn to, no help, no way of stopping it. In most cases she does not even realise that this is abnormal. An overwhelming number of women think that it is normal for sex to hurt, all the time, everytime, and more than half of them have never even come close to an orgasm. It is not surprising that women suffer decades of sexual trauma at home, at the hands of the very peperson who is supposed to care most for her, and often does not even recognise it as torture. Even if she does, she has nowhere to turn, no one who can help. She just has to live with it until one of them dies.

Monday, October 20, 2014

time to talk about it. time to DO something

This video WILL leave you mindnumbed and depressed, but it deals with an issue which we need to talk about more and more. Most importantly, above and beyond the talking, we need to ACT against child abuse.
*****Please do not watch it with young kids around****
Please watch all three. NSFW.
trigger warning: adult survivors of abuse, or parents of young children, please be aware that the content, especially Parts 1 and 2, will trigger reactions.

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The simple-difficult task of breaking the silence – part III: “Eve Teasing”

Another apect of the daily, all pervasive, constant atmosphere of sexual harrassment (read more about it HERE and HERE), and abuse, and objectification of women, trans people, effeminate men, and all possible “others” is our very own home grown quaint and innoccuous sounding phenomenon of eve teasing.

Fantastic, isn't it? We see daily public molestation and harrasment of a large section of our population as so much of a non problem that we dont even bother to call it harrassment at all! We call it teasing. As if it is something like a dear friend gently teasing another for fun, or a sibling pulling anothers leg gently, and with love. The reality? It is abuse, it is violation, it is violence on the person, it is harrassment, it is disgusting, sick-making, scary, threatening, and a lot of other things. It is NOT fun, not for the recipient at least, and it is not cute. It is not cute when the recipient is a child (yes children are “eve teased” too), and it is not cute when she is a teen or an adult.

Most people i talk to... no thats not true ... most MEN i talk to dont realise 2 things. How common it is, and how horrible it feels to the one on the recieving end. Like ragging in colleges, eve teasing has been given social sanction, has become a “boys will be boys” “harmless fun” “dont overreact” “not a big deal” “everyone does it” kind of activity that almost seems to be a part of some male rite of passage, of proving mardangi. As if treating half the population as objects, as playthings, as less than human, says anything complimentary about you at all. Bollywood makes matters much worse, with almost every movie showing the hero “eve teasing” and harrassing the heroine for often extended periods of time as a way of showing his romantic interest, after which the heroine proceeds to fall in love with him. NO, groping, harrassing, catcalling me are NOT aceptable or welcome ways to show me you like me. And NO i am DEFINITELY not going to like you for this behaviour. It will disgust me, anger me, make me want to castrate you, but it will NOT, under any circumstance, make me want to date, romance, or marry you.

And most men seriously dont understand how common or horrible it is! The occassional news report of a woman molested in something as flashy as the Delhi Metro, and protesting, has them clicking their tongues in annoyance and muttering about how unsafe Delhi has always been for women, but they have NO clue what their own friends, sisters, mothers, wives, aunts, daughters face every single day as they go about the business of their daily lives. Of all the men i have talked to in my life... and that numbers in tens of thousands both online as well as face to face ... almost 90-95% had no idea how everyday and common molestation in daily life was and is for women, especially in india.

I do not know of a single indian woman who has never faced the nasty creepiness of “eve teasing”. The milder forms – catcalling, crude comments, leers – we just habitually shrug off, in spite of the ditry feeling it leaves on our skins and the nasty taste in the mouth, because it could have been so much worse, and often is. The first few times a girl (yes girl... for example the first explicit molestation i can remember in public transport was when i was 10-11) has to deal with some creepy man pressing in too close to her in a bus or local train, often with an erection (which she may not know about but which feels icky nevertheless) pressing into her back, it comes a a huge shock. She freezes, feels nauseated, shaky, and before she can get her wits together, she has been groped a few times and the guy is gone.

She may or may not choose to tell someone about it. May not... because she has been brought up not only to feel powerless and without agency in most things, but also because anything to do with sex, men and women, those body parts, and so on is such a taboo that she may not even have language to describe what happened or why she feels violated. May not because she fears, rightly, that she will be the one to blame, that it is somehow her fault, because that is what society will think too. Too much freedom, too short/tight/few clothes, too much agressiveness, too much something. If she does tell, it will probably be another woman, her mother or an elder sister/cousin, or friends. And that's when she will realise that it happens to all of them, even to much larger and scarier extents, and that they shrug it off as part of being a woman in india. And they will advise her to do the same, and she will learn to do it.

And it gets worse when men are in groups. All girls/women/transpeople/ohers soon realise the basic rule. You can easily and and safely walk past or be around most men, as long as they are alone. Chances are above avarage (not good, but better than otherwise) that you will be fine, and unmolested. Yet put them in a group, and it is best to cross the road to avoid them. Even boys we knew, at durga pujas or neighbourhood gatherings, perfectly well behaved and even nice as some of them were, we would not walk past them when they were surrounded by a bunch of their pals. Something about havint to prove themselves to be men in the eyes of their pals, and the egging on from the mob, makes perfectly decent seeming men (or are they pervs but just afraid to act alone?) to turn into creatures to be afraid of.

It is a coping mechanism for us, ignoring or just not thinking about what happens almost everyday. We cant afford to think about it, because if we did, the rage, humuliation, disgust would be so great that we would just curl up in bed and refuse to go anywhere and do anything. So, we tell each other our stories (or not), tell each other “hota hai” and we move on. When a faceless stranger gropes you on the bus, move on. When a passing bicyclist reaches over and pinches your not yet fully grown breasts, move on. When men expose themselves to you and jerk off while looking you in the eye-- on the street, in trains, across the street, in the house next door, move on. When an autorickshaw/cab driver adjusts his rearview mirror specifically to look into your cleavage, move on. When 4 boys, not much older than you, feel perfectly secure about surrounding you on your way back from school to grope, pinch and molest you while saying nasty things, move on. When a long distance taxi driver thinks it is perfectly fine to lean over and grope you between your 14 year old legs just because you happen to be sitting in the front passenger seat, move on. When the guy next to you on the bus keeps “accidentally” pushing his thigh into yours and his elbow into your breast, move on. When travelling in the ladies compartment of a local train, when a man in a saree presses his erection into your lower back, move on.

And no age does not seem to matter much. From around 8-9 unless you have the misfortune to run into serious pedophiles on a regular basis, this has been part of life, expected, accepted, shrugged off wth a “what can you do, that's what it is like” till today, when i am less than a year away from 40. and no it has not abated, reduced, or disappeared. Nor do looks or figure. All the women i know face these things, no matter what they look like, and whether skinny or massively overweight. Neither does what she is wearing. We have faced these things in everything from burkhas and demure salwaar kameezes to jeans.It becomes so everyday, so much of a non event, that we dont even think about it anymore.

Some of us do, however, take some innovative countermeasures. Making a noise may not always be fesible, or comfortable. So we come up with our own ways of discouraging the pervs. A rolled up umbrella under my arm, for example, is standard equipment for me when i step out of the house, rain or shine, summer or winter or monsoon. Delicate darling afraid of a few drops or a tan i am not, but the umbrella has a serious purpose. Any lothario who makes the mistake of getting too close is going to feel it thrust back... sharply... into his solar plexus. When a hand reaches between the seat and the bus wall and under my arm to grope my breast while i travel, or reaches forward from the row behind me in a cinema theatre to do the same, it will feel the sharp jab of my supersize safety pin – another essential i always carry.


And yet, we still call it teasing. We still dont think it happens very much, or assume that it is mild, harmless, and fun for both parties when it does happen. Isnt't it time to wake up? Realise the truth? And act?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The simple-difficult task of breaking the silence – part II: Child Sexual Abuse

When one begins to talk, write or think about sexual violence (as i decided to do HERE), it can be a massive undertaking. There are so many forms of sexual violence women (often men, and frequently all other genders as well) have to face everyday, that a comprehensive analysis is a gargantuan project. I have no illusions that i can analyse it all in any kind of complete way. I just want to examine my thoughts, opinions, experiences and emotions on the range of sexual violence that people have to face everyday. The only way i can even imagine trying to do this is piece by piece, facet by facet.

The earliest, longest lasting, most pervasive form of sexual violence most humans face is Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). And yes, boys face as much of it, are as much as risk from it, as girls, and non conforming kids of all genders, trans kids, are all at high risk. It's not something we like to think or talk about. The idea of children at risk, coming to harm, being permanently and deeply scarred and damaged, is not something any parent, or sensitive human being, would like to face. And when we do talk about it, as we have just started doing, thanks to TV talk shows, exposure to global news and current affairs, and “human interest” pieces in the print media – we still think of it as something to protect girls from. Yes, girls need protection, but so do boys, and transkids and other gender variant kids, or queer kids (but then recognising that anything other than boys and girls even exist is a whole different struggle in the making in our country).

We persistently shy away from the thought that "boys" might be at risk too. It goes against everything conditioned into us by patriarchy. Boys/men are never weak enough to be victimised after all. And they shouldn't be, right? Men as abusers of boys is also something we dont like to think about, bringing, as it does, the whole “homosexual” spectre to the forefront of our minds (another myth – that all gay men are potential abusers or that all male abusers are gay. They are not. Abusers are a category by themselves. They are either on a power trip, or are pedophiles, or both.) As for a woman as abuser? That's possibly an even worse and more uncomfortable thought to get our minds around. Women are supposed to be weak, the victims, the pairon ki jooti, in patriarchy. Alternatively they are supposed to be the maa, the devi, or other backhhanded ways of keeping her subservient and without real power. Being an abuser assigns some agency, some power, some authority to the abuser...like it or not... and we don't like the thought of that.

We also persistently warn our children (when we do so at all) to “not speak to/take sweets from strangers”. Yet, statistics show that most of the perpetrators of CSA are people known to the child, trusted by the child and the family. They are people who are so much a part of the family or social circle that they are trusted to be alone with the kid for various lengths of time. They are uncles, aunts, neighbours, tutors, teachers, family friends, caregivers, domestic help, doctors, and so many other people. And this in itself makes CSA such a devastating thing for the child. The child's entire world view is threatened and destroyed when someone who is supposed to keep it safe, protect it from “strangers”, take care of it, actually abuses and tortures the child. These are people with authority over the child, people the child is taught to respect and obey, which makes the situation worse. No matter how much discomfort or guilt or shame or disgust the child feels over what is happening, he/she/ze feels the pressure of that conditioning to obey, to do what they are told, to silently bear the abuse. This leads to further lifelong guilt at their own inability to prevent the abuse, or stop it, a sense of having deserved such treatment, shame, and a total destruction of self esteem.

Telling is the toughest thing for any survivor of sexual abuse. Given the personal, intimate nature of the crime, and our glaring taboos with regard to anything to do with our bodies or sex, it can be almost impossible to comprehend the abuse as abuse, and even if they do recognise that, it is not easy to talk. In a society where a child cannot ask – or get a clear answer for – where it came from, where girls routinely have hysterics at school at first menstruation because no one told them anything and they think they are hurt, seriously ill, or dying, where the TV channel is switched every time there is an ad for a feminine hygiene product or a kiss on screen, where we NEVER use the correct words to name body parts that have anything to do with sex, childbirth, feeding, and so on, how is the child supposed to get up the courage to tell its parents of sexual abuse? Where is the child supposed to even find the language to understand what is happening to him/her/ze, let alone tell someone?

If the child does manage to tell someone, somehow, chances are they will not be believed. I have seen and counselled so many survivors who did tell, and who were punished for it, or simply disbelieved, told not to make up such horrible stories about such-and-such uncle/aunty/bhaiya. They were scolded, threatened, told not to be such bad children. Imagine what that does to the child. Not only do they have to live through a nightmare they will carry with them lifelong, not only do they have to find ways to survive and deal with things that will scar them forever, they also have to deal with the disbelief, the lack of trust, from other adults that they trusted enough to tell.

Society and the predators also take advantage of our basic sqeamishness and discomfort with these topics to deflect blame from where it lies. So organisations like NAMBLA can claim that some boys want/need to be sexual with adult men, while judges of one of the foremost justice systems in the world assign ridiculous sentences to abusers because the girl was “older than her chronological age” and supposedly tempted/seduced a man 30 years her senior, an adult. Or repeated rapists of teenagers get away with no prison time because they need to be “rehabilitated” after a “light” crime.

We forget one basic fact. The adult is the person with power, in authority, and therefore with responsibility. The child may not know enough to resist, the child may even instigate or enjoy sexual acts, it is still abuse, because the child does not know the full implications and repercussions – physical, emotional, and mental – it is the responsibility of the adult to not go there, to put a stop to it. We do not allow a child under our care to eat as much ice cream as he/she/ze wants, even though it loves the ice-cream, wants it, begs for it. Why? Because we know what the child doesn't – it will harm them, make them sick. Precisely the same logic of responsibility applies to sexual acts (not comparing CSA to too much ice cream in any way). The adult MUST take the responsibility for the power imbalance.

And yet, society looks the other way, or actually blames the child! When it comes to sex, we are all massive hypocrites, and nowhere is it more evident than in the way we handle cases of sexual violence, and our attitude towards it. No wonder it comes to light so rarely. Children hardly ever tell, and even as adults, most never acknowledge or talk about their abuse. It takes years and years for even an adult to be able to discuss abuse in anything more than vague and general terms. It even takes someone like me – so bold, open, frank, brutally straight forward, never mincing words, writing about so many taboo things – years and years to write about it. It takes months of trepidation even after i make the decision, it takes shying away every time i sit down to write, it takes avoidance – doing anything else to avoid actually writing, and in the end i am still uncomfortable getting too personal.

It is not surprising then, that as many as an estimated 90% of child sexual abuse cases are never reported, never brought to light. The children just continue to be abused, often by a series of abusers, often over a long period of time, sometimes even years. These children just survive the experience in any way they can manage, and go on to live whatever type and quality of life they can manage as grown ups. They are forced to deal with their demons and their trauma on their own. From my own experiences, from my friend circles, and from the large number of people i have informally counselled over 20 something years, i am forced to think that 60-70 percent of adults, including men, and all other genders (the proportion is higher in gender/orientation variant people often as PUNISHMENT for their variance) have endured some form and duration of abuse, or at least an attempt at sexual abuse, as children. Worldwide statistics support this estimate too.

These are NOT isolated incidents, they are not RARE, they are NOT too few to be talked about. I dont know of many people who HAVEN'T faced it, and i know a lot of people. On the contrary, it is ESSENTIAL and IMPERATIVE that we talk about it, that we face the reality, that we recognise the truths of Child Sexual Abuse. Only then can we have any hope of protecting our children from it.

CSA is not isolated. It is happening all around us, all the time.
CSA does not happen only to girls, boys are equally at risk, all genders are at risk.
Abusers are not monster-like strangers who can be recognised at a glance. They are freindly, nice, amiable, seemingly trustworthy. They are friends, relatives, caregivers, authority figures.
Abusers are not all men. Although a majority are male, there are many women abusers too.

No matter what the perpetrator says, the child IS the victim, and it IS a crime

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The simple-impossible task of breaking the silence – and why it matters: Part I

My mother has been writing a sort of memoirs, a kind of autobiography, in serialised form on her FaceBook writers' group wall. It has been much appreciated not just in her many literary circles online, but among her friends as well – many of whom are much younger. She has always had a talent for putting her say across in simple, touching, easily digestible language and a fluid style that appeals to people across age, class, and educational segments, so her popularity is not surprising.

One of the more recent posts was about a couple of incidents of sexual harassment/abuse she faced in her childhood. The responses to the post have been interesting, to say the least, and have reconfirmed some of the things I firmly believe in, about issues relating to sexual harassment and abuse – of anyone, anywhere. How common it all is, is evident from the numerous women who have shared their own stories in response. The flip side is also highly visible – how many men choose to believe that these things don't really happen, or are isolated cases perpetrated by mentally ill or monster-like criminals – such that we need not even pay attention or talk about the issues at all.

It's not easy to talk about, especially for the survivor. Society, upbringing, conditioning, all succeed in convincing women, and girls, that not only is being the victim of a sexual crime something to be ashamed of, but it also, in most cases, her own fault. Add to that the trauma resulting from being on the recieving end of any kind of violence, as well as the intensely personal and intimate nature of sexual violence, and it is not surprising that women dont really talk about it.

And the men? Men, in India at least, are culturally discouraged from even wanting to know. If they also happen to face such an incident, it is all the more impossible for them to open their mouths about it, given the additional pressure of masculinity imposed by patriarchy. A man who is a victim or rape, or molestation, or sexual abuse as a child, teen, or adult, must bear the additional burden of continuing to prove he is a MAN, a MARD. The very incident causing so much trauma, in his own conditioned eyes and mind, as well as in the eyes and minds of a hetero-patriarchal society, makes him weak, makes him less than a mard, and no better than a woman. No wonder then that they do not talk about it, even with each other (least of all with each other actually, not surprisingly).

In my numerous years of being the social butterfly, of counselling, of connections to NGOs and dabbling in activism, it has become evident from my own experiences, both personal and heard/seen/dealt with, just how common this type of violence and abuse generally are, especially in India. Statistics from countries like the US, which are more proactive in recognising and identifying the problem, where people are far more likely to at least know of the issues, and where a much larger proportion of such crimes actually gets reported, estimate that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse. And this does not even include the daily Indian hell known as “eve-teasing” that every Indian woman faces, everyday, or sexual harrassment at the workplace, or at home, or outright rape. Given the fact that 95% or more survivors never tell anyone, and given the head in the sand, taboo riddled attitude we Indians have to anything even remotely connected to physicality or sexuality, one can imagine how bad things must be here.

After seeing some of the more ostrich-like responses on my mother's post, i made up my mind to write of my own experiences, which seem to be fairly extensive compared to some of the commentators who would rather ignore the issues altogether, or create a senseless argument for the sake of argument itself – in the process ignoring the real problem. And yet, it took me – educated, articulate, bold, don't-care-what-the-world-thinks, i-write-my-mind, i mince no words, me, the activist, politically aware, outreach oriented me, the agony aunt, confidant, and counsellor for so many survivors me, more than a month to even begin! THAT's how tough it is to talk about.

However, here it comes. This and a few following blog posts will examine some of the issues raised in the comments of my mother's post, some issues i think it is high time we really look at.

  1. Is this situation that i keep talking and ranting about merely in india? Or is it this bad elsewhere as well? (am i speaking from personal knowledge?)
  2. Is it unnecessary for me to comment on the topic simply because “everyone knows that these things happen sometimes, and accepts it”?
  3. Is it necessary to talk about it when we can't change things? Can something be done? What is the way to do it?
  4. Shouting does not solve any problems (why not? Its a start)

And a bunch of others, thrown up by the readers, and some things i wish to elaborate on as well, which just cannot be done in the limited canvas of a comment to a post on someone's timeline. It is going to be difficult – not just to pour out this seething mass of negative emotions collected over decades of hands on dirty work in the field in an articulate and comprehensible manner – but also to delve into personal history and use experiences as ways to illistrate, examine, and explain my stand, and some of the reality that being born female in India automatically lets you in for.


The reason i am breaking this up into individual posts is twofold. It makes the posts shorter and easier to read, rather than the enormous and involved narrative/critique it would be if i did it all in one go. However, it also gives me more time, and space, to ruminate, chew-the-cud, and properly formulate everything in a more logical than emotional manner. It is time to break the silence, time to shout about it, time to --- no matter how hard it is.