Tag Archives: violence

Be Bold


Don’t be too nervous to challenge inequality.

Today is International Womens Day. There are many ways to support the causes of women throughout the world. Find out more HERE.

For me, two issues stand out above the rest; they are ones which already have a lot of my attention, but I plan to:

  • Take more opportunity to campaign against violence and abuse, whatever the age, gender or race of the perpetrator

“For most of recorded history, parental violence against children and men’s violence against wives was explicitly or implicitly condoned. Those who had the power to prevent and/or punish this violence through religion, law, or custom, openly or tacitly approved it. …..The reason violence against women and children is finally out in the open is that activists have brought it to global attention”. Riane Eisler

  • Focus more on education for women in developing countries

“If you educate a man, you educate one person. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation”.

What will you do? It doesn’t have to be a lot. Having the courage to calmly speak up against injustice – when the opportunity arises – will help fertilise the soil in which other seeds may grow.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”.  Mahatma Gandhi.

If you’re interested in doing more, you can find a list of

  • womens rights organisations HERE
  • human rights organisations HERE

Written for The Daily Post #Nervous

©Jane Paterson Basil



I’m thirteen,
dreaming in bottle green box pleats, rolled at the waist,
to display my knees and a hint of sleek, wicked thigh,
a sly pretence at womanhood, and 1968’s fashion statement
for rebellious school-time teens.
I’ve dabbled in suggestive games played with eyes and shy, but sneaky smiles,
but these days I look askance at boys who would try to dance
a horizontal jig with me.

I’m thirteen,
dreaming in bottle green box pleats,
in lessons two and three on Tuesday.
While our biology teacher speaks of sexual reproduction in plants,
I shrink and blush, thinking of
kind of
the thing that men and women do.
The act that my parents must have undertaken at least five times, as that’s how many children they had, and I’m sure my mum only did it because she wanted us, but I’m not so certain about my dad, as men have needs which I don’t want to think about; I don’t want to, but I can’t help it. There are pictures in my head and I want to dispel them; my poor mum, having to do that; my poor mum, and I know I will never be able to do that – that- that thing again. I didn’t want to the last time, but I was held down, and he was stronger than me. Nobody had been stronger than me before, but I didn’t have the strength to fight and there was so much blood I could smell it like iron up my nose and someone was screaming crying for mum and the sounds came from my mouth and it hurt and I was scared and I struggled but he was gripping my arms against my sides and my mouth his tongue his tongue I didn’t bite it I was too frightened at what he’d do what he was doing and everything was wet even before I felt the gush and then it stopped but somewhere inside me it never stopped it never stopped and a few days later I was told about the blood in the back of the car and somebody laughed not knowing it was mine and weaving through all the pain I felt shame that my violation my disgusting secret had somehow become a dirty joke and on top of knowing that I must be to blameI must be to blame I couldn’t tell anyone because of the oh-so-hilarious seepage on the leather car seat I couldn’t let them know it was me they were laughing about me who had been ravaged unravelled my petals screwed up screwed up screwed sinking away with my mind and why do I speak in metaphors when the word is something harsh which rhymes with:

tape, tape that adheres to my secret places, filthy tape from which there is no escape,

ape, ape that takes what he wants, then ambles away, sated,

grape, grapes which you pluck from the vine and bite and chew spitting out the pips spitting wet dribbling things it plays out in my head taking me back taking me back where I hear a baby crying mummee mummee and the baby is me being born into hell.

The bell rings.
We troop out, an unruly crew speckled with the better kids;
the studious boys with shiny shoes,
the plain and pretty budding little ladies, pigtails swinging
and no rolled-up bulk beneath their waist,
too well-behaved to be raped by a neighbour,
too cool to mistake him for a friend.

In English I make a mental list
of things that wouldn’t melt in their sensible mouths,
and when coughs and shuffles ruffle the silent air
I practice sighing my mantra so quietly
that none but me can hear.
My top teeth touch and and release my lower lip,
followed by a curl of the tongue, a breathing aah,
another tongue-trick, this time hitting my palate,
rolling a little, and releasing
a final, subtle, “key” sound.

I am thirteen,
dreaming in bottle green box pleats.
I should be reading,
but each word brings me back to you and my dilemma.
It’s not that you won’t understand,
more that it’s embarrassing to have to explain.
Maybe I’ll wait until I’m sixteen
and we’re engaged and making wedding plans.

You’ll understand, I know you will.

I’ll say I can’t do the thing that other couples do between the sheets, the thing that squeezes suffering children through bruised tubes; the thing they call normal. Some say it’s fun. I know that’s not true, unless you’re a man, forcing his way in, invading you. I knew that before he made me do it. I knew the moment I heard the dirty words whispered in the schoolyard.

You’ll understand I can’t do it, I know you will.

You’re above such base desires and you’re one of the only two people I told about what he did to me, although I never described the searing pain the bruising the limp that I had to cover up for shame or the sting or the itch that doesn’t go away and maybe nobody told you how funny it was that there was blood on the grubby upholstery the grubby upholstery that had been flattened by so many arses before my bare skin got crushed against its greasy surface.

You’ll understand that we can’t have children. I know you will. You don’t have those base desires, and even if you do, you will crush them because you love me so much.

I am thirteen,
dreaming in bottle green box pleats,
and I love you so much that it hurts to be anywhere but by your side.
I don’t understand, as I refuse to believe the world
is the way they say it is.

I am thirteen,
and though you are the best thing I can see,
a romance which will play out endlessly in my memory
and you will forever be the beginning
and the meaning of love for me,
I am dreaming a fantasy.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The end


violent act
a gushing apology
a promise of future bliss
followed by the suggestion that I was to blame
citing bad hair, weak tea…
unless I escape
this will


Written for The Daily Post‘s word prompt #Apology, this poem uses the fibonacci sequence, a mathematical sequence in which the word count on each line is equal to the word count on the previous two lines, and then reversed,thus: 1,1,2,3,5,8,5,3,2,1,1,

©Jane Paterson Basil