Archive for September, 2007

Delete, delete, delete!

I think I’ve told you before that I love technology and all that it can do, but that I am aware of the down side to it as well. One of the main downsides is that unless you remember to delete things you don’t want people to find, there is a good chance that someone will discover it!

Best Friend has a new mobile phone. It was given to her by another friend, who had just upgraded to a shiny new one.

The friend who gave it to her is quiet and has a certain ‘good girl’ image. She’s not. And we now have proof.

It is important to remember that if you give a friend your old mobile, removing the sim card is not enough. You need to check what has been saved on the phone itself.

And delete anything before you hand it over.

Best Friend was playing with her new toy, figuring out how it worked, when I suddenly heard a gasp and then hysterical laughter.

She handed the phone to me.

There was a message from Quiet Friend’s boyfriend. It was a picture of him in a state of…um, excitement and the (completely unnecessary) information that he was horny and waiting for her.

Best Friend doesn’t feel that she’s going to be able to look at her (or him!) in the eye with a straight face for quite a while! I think she has some excellent blackmail fodder…

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Blogging Against Abuse – Rape, it can happen to anyone.

Today is the day that (hopefully) hundreds of bloggers will unite to blog against abuse. This is my post for Blogcatalog’s Blogging Against Abuse campaign.

It’s taken me a long time to decide what to write about, but in the end I decided to talk about something that has affected me personally. I decided to write about rape.

Rape has nothing to do with sex but is all about power.

When many people think about rape, they think about a woman (or man) being attacked by a stranger. However, the majority of women are raped by someone they know, whether that is a family member, friend or partner.

When I was 17 I was raped by an ex-boyfriend. Though we had split up, we still occasionally slept together; we just didn’t work in a relationship. On the night in question, he decided that ‘No’ didn’t apply to him and that he had the right to do what he wanted anyway. He couldn’t believe that I meant it when I said no or that he was doing anything wrong by continuing.

I never reported it to the police and it took me several months to even tell a friend. I didn’t feel that I would be believed. The lifestyle I led at the time would have been held against me. Unfortunately, many women do not report they have been raped and, for those that have the courage to do so, there is no guarantee that it will even reach court. In fact, research has shown that women are more likely to report domestic violence than they are rape. For many women, the fear of not being believed, or the fear of being judged, stops them. We’ve all heard the comments of “She was asking for it, look at what she was wearing” or “She accepted drinks from him, what did she expect?”.

Over time, I began to tell a few friends. I was lucky; the majority were very supportive and believed me immediately. Only two people said it was my fault, one said that I had no right to call it rape as I had been sleeping with him anyway, and the other said I had no right to deny him sex as it was ‘expected’. Bullshit. I was also lucky that only one person didn’t believe me at all, saying that I was trying to get back at him for breaking up the relationship. Though her perception was not right, I can sort of understand why she needed to view it like that. My rapist was her brother’s best friend, he was in her house a lot and I think she was scared.

I’m not saying that I knew it was not my fault straight away. I spent months feeling that it was my fault; that I should never have put myself in that situation or that I should have never said no in the first place. At first, I didn’t even know that it was still classed as rape if it was done by someone you knew. It was only through talking to friends, reading and, eventually, getting into counselling, that I saw it for what it was. All I knew at the beginning was that I hadn’t wanted it to happen.

Rape is always rape. If one party has said no, then it is not consensual. That is rape. It does not matter what relationship you have with someone, if they force themselves on you that is wrong. I have a friend who was systematically raped by her husband for many years. She eventually worked up the courage to leave him, though still does not feel able to go to the police. Mainly, because he was her husband and she does not feel that people will consider it to be rape. It was.

I have not written this as a ‘poor me’ exercise. I am trying to show that anyone can be raped, by anyone. Rape is what it is and it is never right or the victim’s fault.

If you have been raped and need some support or information, there are lots of places out there that can help. Just speak to someone, if you can’t talk to a friend then try one of the help lines below.

Rape Crisis
Rapeline

What not to tell your parents

Parents and hangovers don’t mix. Especially if you already have a terrible habit of opening your mouth before engaging your brain.

I’m afraid I have traumatised my parents and I’m not entirely sure they will recover from the shock.

My parents visited me on Sunday and took me out to lunch. I’m sure you’re all thinking that sounds lovely and a nice way to spend a Sunday. And it would have been, if I hadn’t have been about to be awarded the prize for the worlds biggest hangover.

Saturday night had been spent at Best Friend’s house, celebrating another friend’s engagement. True to form, we consumed a lot of alcohol and I finally got home at stupid o’clock in the morning.

When my parents arrived, I attempted to make conversation, but was more than happy to just nod and smile whilst I was brought up to date on the village’s latest news and the developments with various people’s ailments (I don’t know these people, but apparently it is essential that I know all about their lives!).

By this stage, we were at the restaurant and I was trying to prepare my stomach for the fact that it was about to encounter solid food and convince it that it would be fine with this. My parents were asking me about what I had been up to, commenting that I seemed to be very busy. I explained that I was, but that it was ok and I had some more projects in the pipeline. As all good parents should do, they expressed an interest and asked what I was planning.

This is when it happened. I still don’t know why I said it. I can only think that my brain had gone back to sleep and had left my body to try and cope with the situation alone.

I informed my parents that I was going into business with Best Friend’s Bloke as a porn baron.

Well, more porn administrator really.

The world seemed to stop for a few moments and then reality came rushing in. All I could hear was the woosh as the entire restaurant whipped their heads round to stare at us.

Dad went an odd shade of purple, coughed slightly and then started eating as quickly as he could. I think he thought that if he carried on eating, time would reverse itself and this would never have happened.

Mum sat there with a fixed, slightly manic, smile on her face. As she reached for her drink and downed it in one, my brain made a very brief appearance, realised what was happening and fled.

The more I tried to explain, the bigger hole I dug myself. Best Friend’s Bloke works as a vision mixer on the local TV station’s porn channel. A lot of the women have asked him to develop their websites and I’ve said I’ll help him.

Of course, the more I attempted to reassure my parents, the worse I made it. Until it sounded like Best Friend’s Bloke ran a porn empire and I was his newest recruit, about to give up the day job and become Crystal Chandelier!

I gradually trailed off and we sat in silence for about a year. The silence was so great, that I could hear the man on the other side of the restaurant picking bits of food out of his teeth.

The only thing I could think to say was “So, Mum, how’s Fred and his hernia”.

Apparently Fred’s fine.

Take one chef, add a dash of TV…

There are so many cookery shows on TV. Ready, Steady Cook, Saturday Kitchen, Master Chef, you can’t seem to change channels without coming across one.

As much as I don’t cook (unless you can call heating things in the microwave cooking), I have occasionally watched these shows and I’ve noticed a couple of things that irritate me.

Firstly, one of the themes that seems to come up a lot is the ‘let’s use your store cupboard basics’. I never have these things in my cupboard. In fact, I only know two people who have things such as risotto rice, garlic salt and different types of mushrooms in there. Now, if they could show me what to do with a tin of beans, some instant coffee and a bit of slightly mouldy cheddar then they may be on to something!

And the chefs never wash their hands! All they seem to do is give them a quick rinse under the tap and then carry on. So what are they saying? Is E-coli a new type of seasoning now?

Oh, and I want to know where to get one of those magic ovens. For those that like to cook, imagine how much time could be saved. These are very special ovens where you can put raw food in, open it again two minutes later and, hey presto, your food is ready and piping hot!

Then we come to the final act of tasting the delights that TV Chef has just produced. Apparently, TV Chefs never make anything that doesn’t taste divine, delicious or like little angels waltzing across your tongue (Yes I did make that last bit up, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it one day!). I would love to hear someone say it tasted bloody awful, rather than practically have an orgasm over a plate of pasta with a side of listeria.

Unfortunately, all that generally happens when I watch these programmes is that I sit there wishing my pizza would be delivered faster…

Avoid eye contact

I have spent a lot of this week on a train, travelling to and from London (hence the lack of blogs). As much as I like travelling by train, it never fails to amaze me the lengths people go to so they don’t have to share their seat with anyone.

Over the years, I have noticed there is an unwritten code of practise for train travel. I don’t agree with it, but it’s there. It basically boils down to the fundamental rule of; unless there is some form of emergency, you must NOT acknowledge your fellow passengers. This can be quite a complicated process and everyone seems to have their own tactics, but there appears to be common techniques used by the majority.

You sit on the seat next to the window, with your bag on the aisle seat, then, either look like you’re reading, put your i-pod on or talk into your mobile. Or all three at once. It doesn’t matter if you are actually doing any of these things, as long as it looks like you are, then you may fool the people that get on at the station after you. One of the most important parts of this process seems to be that you must not make eye contact with people trying to get a seat. If you do, then the good old British sense of duty may kick in and you will end up moving your bag and having to actually sit next to someone for the duration of your journey.

If you find yourself on a commuter train, you will have no choice but to sit next to someone. You will find yourself squashed up against a random person, whilst you all desperately try to avoid the reality that someone you don’t know is about to sit on your lap. However, the tubes are worse in rush hour. There, you are very likely to find yourself in the position of having your nose in someone’s armpit whilst someone else uses your back as a convenient place to lean.

One of the most popular ways to deal with this seems to be to go to sleep. And snore. And dribble. On your neighbour’s shoulder preferably. Then, when you reach your station, you must suddenly leap up and trip over your fellow passenger’s feet as you try and get off the train before the doors close.

Your other alternatives to try and convince yourself you are in fact the only person on the train (or at least irritate the others enough so they might move) are; chat on your mobile, telling whoever’s on the other end that you are on the train (Really? Bloody hell, my mistake, I thought we were on some kind of magic carpet!). Put your bag on the overhead rack and then stand up every five minutes to get something out of it. If you can drop something on your fellow passenger’s head whilst doing this, then that is a bonus. When you have to sit in one of the blocks of seats that face each other, ensure that you place your legs in a way so that no one else can put their legs in a natural position. This way, when you stand up, you will be the only person not to fall over due to the complete lack of blood flow to the lower limbs for the last hour.

Trains are supposed to be a convenient way to travel around the country. Sure, as long as there’s not the wrong type of leaf/snow/rain/cow on the line, then they can be great. However, it involves such a complicated set of rules, that I feel that everyone should be made to take a test before travelling to avoid mistakes!

Public dancing solution!

Some of you are aware that my sense of rhythm is sorely lacking. I have made some progress recently thanks to dancing in Best Friend’s kitchen and embarrassing small children, but there is still vast room for improvement (though I did manage a Burlesque-like shimmy type thing the other day!).

I will not dance in public, unless I am under the influence of a serious amount of alcohol, and even then it’s pushing it. But I think I may have found a solution!

I have recently heard about these things called Headphone disco’s. It seems that when you enter the venue, you are immediately issued with wireless headphones. Two different DJ’s play at the same time and you can choose which one you listen to. There is no music pumped into the club, it only comes through the headphones. So if you take them off, all you will see are people dancing to…nothing.

I guess it looks a little odd at first, a bit like a Mime’s disco, but imagine the potential. No one would be able to tell if you were a bad dancer as they would just think you were dancing to different music to them. However, I guess it could also make a good dancer look bad, but I don’t really care about that!

I need to find somewhere where they are using these. Not only could I dance in public without embarrassing myself or anyone who knows me, I would willingly pay good money to see those that think they can dance look as silly as me!

Oh! Thank you!

The wonderful Fish has given this to me!Fish, thank you so much. It’s very much appreciated. I’m getting all embarrassed now so I’ll stop there!