February 22, 2007
Broken Wings...no more.
Rape - That dreaded four letter word.
How hard it is to write, talk, think, about rape.
No woman needs a dictionary for a definition of what the act means.
Even women who are fortunate enough not to have experienced it, instinctively know about it...
It is as if that knowledge is imprinted in our archaic limbic system, from times immemorial.
Rape may come in different forms and shapes, as various as the forms and shapes that commit it.
And just as it disguises itself under different forms, it also has several levels - the several levels of rape.
The mental, the emotional, the spiritual, the political, the geographic, the economic, the social...
All the above categories necessitate de facto the physical realm of which the body is an essential part.
The body thus becomes the recipient, the receiver, the receptacle, the reservoir...of this ultimate act of violence.
The body is an integral part of rape as it is the gate, the entry point, the door, the orifice...of any forceful invasion, penetration. The body and its inner realms, mental, emotional and spiritual are hence, all non consenting recipients of the wrath coming for the "Other".
Seen in that light, rape becomes the ultimate weapon not only of coercion and domination, but also the ultimate weapon of breaking the Spirit of Resistance of its victim(s).
I am aware that men can also be victims of rape but for the sake of conveniency and since female victims outnumber male ones, I shall refer to the victim as a She.
Any victim of rape, will tell you that they tried to resist in the beginning, by words and acts...but were left no choice in the end, but to submit, to resign, to surrender...
This overpowering of the resisting victim and breaking her resistance is in my opinion, the crux of the dynamics of the act of rape.
This profound violation on all four levels; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, is precisely to break the victim's will to resist and later to continue on living.
Many rape victims would basically utter the same sentence, over and over, using different wordings - " All I want to do is die" or " I wish I was dead" or for those who cannot express that death wish, they would self destruct bringing about their own death.
This wanting to die may seem to do with the self loathing that these victims experience after the act of rape. I would argue even further. The wish to die is because these victims have no sense of self left. And I will explain that point later on.
In fact, rape is a highly sexualized form of torture. And like torture, it is a slow death ...
Much has been said about Sabreen's rape and I will not go over what has already been said, the details have already been covered.
I watched Sabreen's interview on al-Jazeerah and before saying more, I would like to salute her courage and bravery.
Speaking about rape in private is already a very hard thing to do, let alone in public like she did.
Specially in Arab culture, where shame and honor are also very much tied to the sexual realm and in particular to female sexuality.
So yes, her outstanding courage deserves nothing but praise.
I would like to focus on her words as opposed to the political reactions that later on ensued.
Sabreen's own words encapsulate everything there is to know about rape.
I, therefore, ask you to concentrate on her words well.
Sabreen is taken to some "judge" after having been raped by two "Iraqi" guards.
Whilst waiting for this "judge" to appear, a third guard puts his hands on her breasts and tells her: " They are still ok aren't they...they look good."
She replied: "I beg of you let go of me" and his reply was "I will, only if you give me one more thing"
She then says: "I have nothing to give you". He says " Yes you do..."
Then Sabreen says he took her to an adjacent room where there was a metal bed and she tried to resist and he hit her with a black hose on her thigh...as he was trying to rape her, another "higher" guard walked in and said "leave her to me, she is mine" and she was raped a third time...
She continues: "He did what he did...I told him why are you doing this to me, I am not one of those girls...his reply was " We do with you what we want, you are here for our Mutaa..."
Mutaa in arabic means extreme pleasurable gratification and not simply pleasure.
"You are here for our extreme pleasurable gratification" she continues "we will then throw you away or kill you."
I trust you took the time to reflect on Sabreen's words. What strikes you most?
For me, it is the "objectification" of the woman. She becomes literally an object of gratification.
And once a person is objectified, they are already stripped of all humanness.
They become a non-person. Hence they can be disposed of, thrown away, killed...
That is why the first thing a rape victim will tell you is "I feel cheap."
Adjectives like cheap are usually used for objects. This object becomes cheap, valueless, worthless...it lost its use so it can be easily gotten rid of, thrown away...
And when a woman becomes an object of pleasure, gratification, desire, lust, power, politics...she loses her sense of self, she irretrievably loses herself.
She becomes anything and nothing at the same time. She becomes the public orifice, the public door, the public entry point, the public gate...A non being.
In this light, the whole of Iraq and its people has become an object of rape under its various forms.
From the collective to the personal. From the public to the private. From the general to the particular...geographically, politically, economically, historically, socially, culturally,individually...raped.
In fact, Iraq has become the ultimate object of gratification.
Since 2003, this country and its women and men have been raped...over and over with no respite until "they" have reached its Soul...to break that resisting Self.
The rape of women has not only a racist, but also a sectarian flavor to it.
From the Fatimas and the Zeynabs of Abu Ghraib, to Abeer, to Sabreen and the latest victim a sunni woman from Tel Afar gang raped by five "Iraqi" guards.
Moreover, the Association of Muslim Scholars reported yesterday on the Iraqi League website, that in 2006, they received no less than 68 reports from rape victims. These are only the known figures. Only God knows how many other women are hiding that terrible "secret".
Added to the above rape victims, one can add those who were raped by the sectarian militias, then mutilated in their genitalias and subsequently thrown in some dump.
And one can also add the three women who are to be executed soon, and one can add the victims of torture from both sexes, and the list goes on and on...
For the most part, all the above victims are sunnis and are related one way or another to the Spirit of the Resistance. The rape is nothing but another mean of breaking that spirit.
The highly despicable,corrupt, sectarian "Iraqi" government and its Iran backed militias are accomplices in this collective act of rape. They are faithfully continuing in the footsteps of their masters, the Americans, who have objectified Iraq and her people, rendered them into things to be coveted, used, abused, pillaged, plundered, raped, vilified, tortured and ...killed.
The Western media is not less vile than the "Iraqi" government who discredited Sabreen's rape case as well as that of others.
The Western media overriding words are: false, allegations, claims and I shall leave you with this last quote from ABC News:
"Like so many things in Iraq these days, it is complicated and all about religion, tribe and the struggle for dominance."
Again, Iraqis living experience of the Occupation with its ramifications is blatantly denied.
Do they think that we are all Monica Lewinskys here? Carefully hiding and saving our sperm stained dresses for later?
Let me assure the Western media, we have no such calculating minds when it comes to sexual abuse and rape. You, on the other hand, are experts at it.
Iraq and Iraqis have become "the object" of the 21st century.
Stripped of her clothes, beaten, relentlessly raped in her body and soul, raped with their collective hands on her mouth so if she does remember her humanness, she must scream quietly or the neighbors will hear her and we don't want the neighbors to be disturbed...we want to break her Spirit in silence...
Out of curiosity, I did check the dictionary even though I did not need a definition of rape and I found an interesting one.
"the residue of grapes, after the juice has been extracted, used as a filter in making vinegar."
Women of Iraq, you owe it to yourselves for you are Iraq herself.
You are the grapes and the juice that has been forcefully extracted and you have become the sour vinegar...So let your revolt be as sour as that vinegar.
Speak out and scream louder and louder...
Let your screams fill the air and its sky, reaching up to the heavens.
Break it, roar it, thump it, spit it out back at them with full force.
Reach it, feel it and reclaim it .
Painting: Iraqi artist, Mohammed Sami