The Blood on My Hands by Shannon O’Leary, a review via @Durre_Shahwar

Cross-posted from: Durre Shahwar
Originally published: 26.07.16

“Set in 1960s and ‘70s Australia, The Blood on My Hands is the dramatic tale of Shannon O’Leary’s childhood years, growing up with an abusive father, who was also a serial killer. No one, not even the authorities, would help O’Leary and her family. The responses of those whom O’Leary and her immediate family reached out to for help are almost as disturbing as the crimes of her violent father. Relatives were afraid to bring disgrace to the family’s good name, nuns condemned the child’s objections as disobedience and noncompliance, and laws at the time prevented the police from interfering unless someone was killed. “

 

 

The Blood on My Hands is a gripping read, with underlying tension throughout the book, right from the beginning. Every recollection is detailed and concise, be it the author’s memories of her pets and animals or her days at school. It is full of rich descriptions of the characters and the hot Australian setting. The book has a structured, chronological timeline of events, which works without losing the storytelling/memoir feel.

Yet this is not for the weak-hearted. The story is gruelling and traumatic, not for the shock effect, but because this is a story that needs to be told, and the detailed account is an evidence of that. It could be argued that it didn’t need to be so detailed and horrific, and the more traumatising recollections could have been toned down. However, while as a reader, I see the reason why others may feel this way, but as a human, there is credit to be given to Shannon for being so honest and vulnerable on the page.  ….

 

The full text is here. 

HerStory (Durre Shahwar)I’m a writer, a book reviewer, and an MA Creative Writing graduate. As a South Asian female, I’ve identified as a feminist, since a teen and to this day, I’m writing about what that means and trying to put my experiences into words. My blog was named ‘Herstory’ after my research into Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own during my degree. The term has been the driving factor behind my writing. We all have stories to tell, voices that need to be heard, especially from women of colour, and I hope to be one of them. On my blog, I write book reviews and other content related to the craft of writing and sometimes, academia. I’m interested in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, mental health, intersectional feminism, gender, religion, art, yoga – though not always in that order or mixture! I’m slowly getting my writing published, and trying to review more book by women/women of colour, for which, I am happy to be contacted for via my blog or on Twitter: @Durre_Shahwar.

 

A Child’s Right to Bodily Autonomy by @FatFemPinUp

Cross-posted from: Fat Fem Pin Up
Originally published: 28.04.15

Well I have decided that I have too much invested in this idea of a child’s right to bodily autonomy, not to blog about this. Bear with me because it’s been a while.

I’ll start with a short story: This past weekend a family member slapped her 8 year old son in the face with an open hand in front of a room full of adults. His transgression? Asking for candy. Well actually, he was asking if he could bring his aunt a piece of candy and his mother misunderstood him. Not once, but three times. Angrily. He asked and was given a stern no. He tried to clarify and was screamed at and on the third try, he was slapped.

Lets start with the fact that she heard him wrong 2 times before her irritation led her to physical violence. Sometimes parents get stressed out, they run around all day and they do for their children 24/7. They get tired, they get cranky and exhausted and they can’t always stop to have a true conversation with their child.
Read more A Child’s Right to Bodily Autonomy by @FatFemPinUp

In the child’s best interests

Cross-posted from: MairiVoice
Originally published: 15.06.15

wsas

It is pleasing that Background Briefing presented a critique of family law last Sunday.

In the child’s best interests

In Child best interests
They were critiquing the way the family court in Australia deals with family law cases.

“Today, we look at some of the most vexed cases that come before the Family Court; those alleging child sexual abuse. Background Briefing has been contacted by numerous mothers who claim that the Court is biased against parents who raise abuse allegations, and disbelieving of the children who make them. It’s a claim the Family Court rejects.”


Read more In the child’s best interests

SEQUELAE – ANOTHER WORD IN THE ABUSE SURVIVOR LEXICON by @anewselfwritten

Cross-posted from: A New Self Written
Originally published: 02.05.15

Trusty old Wikipedia tells me that a sequela (usually used in the plural, sequelae) is a “pathological condition resulting from a disease, injury, therapy, or other trauma.” Basically, something medical and noticeable, an identifiable condition that happens as a consequence of something else.

I was prompted to find a definition after I read an article in the New Statesman by Dr Phil Whitaker. It was an article that I applauded and that also made me sigh. He tackled an important issue: many women who have been sexually abused or assaulted are often unable to undergo primary healthcare checks and screening that require intimate examinations.

He related the tragic story of Martha, a woman in her late thirties, who, despite suffering ongoing infections (which is why she presented for treatment), was unable to have an internal examination. She revealed to him that she had been sexually abused in childhood. The terrible outcome of this was that she had advanced cervical cancer and died shortly afterwards. A psychological sequela (painful in itself) and a physiological sequela (in this case terminal).


Read more SEQUELAE – ANOTHER WORD IN THE ABUSE SURVIVOR LEXICON by @anewselfwritten