Friday, 3 November 2017

My Thesis on the Unquantifiable Nature of Time

My Theses as to the Unquantifiable Nature of Time and the Healing Process after rape.

1. I do it now because there are no irrefutable laws of time.
2. I do it now because I believe in the power of truth, ownership of wrongdoing, dignity of confession, mercy of forgiveness, appeasement through reparation that serves toward the healing of a broken humanity
3. I do it now because I was not able to before.
4. I do it now because I choose to do it now, and it is my right to choose.
5. I do it now because time brings change and now I can feel empowered to disclose what shamed me into silence for years before.
6. I do it now because I speak for a million other women who have remained silent with their shame often for lifetimes. 
7. I do it now for my mother and grandmothers that came before me, my daughter and the daughters that come after me, for my sons, their sons and the ones that shall be born in generations to come.
8. I do it now because this is a moment in time where radical change for the greater good becomes possible and we are called to rise to it, to seize the moment, fearlessly.
10. I do it now because men in power have sexually abused and violated for too long setting toxic examples for our youth.
11. I do it now because I am not alone like I was when the rape happened.
12. I do it now because my family is standing by me.
13. I do it now because I am in the embrace of sisters who have also been violated.
14. I do it now because I am surrounded and supported by a vast community of those who have spent their lives struggling for justice, equality and a world free of exploitation and abuse of any form.
15. I do it now because I have voice and privilege that grants me the platform to speak out for the thousands of women and children and even men who have suffered the humiliation of rape who do not.
16. I do it now because it will make others brave to come out and speak their truth and thus challenge the oppressive culture of sexual abuse and violence in our world.
17. I do it now because I believe in the power of the ordinary woman and man to make a difference when they speak out with integrity and courage.
18. I do it now because I speak with the voice everywoman, having neither worldly accumulation of wealth nor power that could silence me.
19. I do it now because my heart will not allow me to do otherwise.
20. I do it now because I know as I am released and healed, so I heal the world around me.
21. I do it now within the loving arms of the ever-loving Creator Mother Father God, the power that is greater than us that which is our Shield, our Sword, our Comforter, our Guide, our Inspiration, our Song.
22.I do it now because the world is crying out more than ever for our collective courageous engagement and activism.
23.I do it now because of and with you.
24.I do it now because now... Now is the time.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Now we are three...

I have been in silence this last week waiting for a response to our formal outreach for mediation from Danny Jordaan. At this stage I am also speaking on behalf of another victim of Danny his sexual agression who has chosen to assume protected identity for her own safety. There is a third victim who has submitted her story of sexual harassment and a fourth, also of harassment, waiting in the wings. And we are sure there are even more who will feel courageous enough to share their painful experiences, under protected identity if necessary.

My initial disclosure of the rape was met with a massive outpouring of support from the cyber-community of men and women from South Africa and other parts of the world. These messages flowed not only from fellow artists, musicians, writers, poets, journalists, activists, NGO’s, respected leaders in the field of law, business and otherwise, but also from so many ’ordinary’ South Africans who are often living very close to the realities of sexual molestation and abuse. The most touching communications have come from men and women who themselves have been victims of rape and sexual assault and who are also trying to heal and find closure. In South Africa, my friend and sister-comrade has courageously shared her story with us. She has chosen to keep her identity protected. We have been held in profound expressions of love and support from our families despite the challenges that often accompany such disclosures. This has been a time of great sorrowing and at the same time, great healing for all of us.

The offer for mediation has been a sincere attempt to provide an opportunity for a dignified process of exchange that would be healing for both parties. Our first option has not been to enter the courts. We know only too well the emotionally and financially draining legal processes that can draw out over years on often mutually destructive paths towards questionable outcomes in the name of ’justice,’where neither party emerges victorious.

I have consistently stated that a lengthy legal process would not be my first choice of action. If Danny Jordaan maintains his innocence, then a mediated conversation would have been in his best interest. Despite our pro-active offer for mediation, the only response we have had so far has been from Advocate Mr Norman Arendse, who communicated via a mutual friend of my son’s father, asking him if he would be prepared to discuss me, ''off the record.'' (A copy of this exchange has been sent to Karima Brown of 702.)
This common strategy seeks to discredit and undermine the vicitm’s integrity as part of a smear campaign. The victim of the rape is shown to have ’loose morals’. This tactic is called ’slut-shaming.’
For the record I was in a long-term relationship with Ralph’s father and Ralph was a welcomed manifestation of love. Despite the fact that we separated, we have remained close friends over the years. Ralph was not the product of a one-night-stand.

My motives for coming out with the disclosure so long after the event have been examined by many.
All I can truly say is that I have not been ready up till now. My silence has been a form of suffering and shame, and I am so grateful to have let go of this burden in my life. It has affected me on so many levels it is beyond comprehension. My journey toward healing this painful experience can now truly begin and I am deepy thankful that somewhere I found the courage to speak the truth. But mostly, I am breathing in the journeys of other women who are also finding the courage within themselves to come forth with their stories of violation. We are helping not only ourelves to heal, but empowering our families, our communities, indeed our country to dare to start conversations that look at this terrible shame-based space of sexually distorted behaviour that is causing so much pain and injury in our communities.

When men that have been entrusted with power and leadership misuse it, using their penises as instruments of rage, as machine guns, on the people they work with, the children they fund, the women having to be in their environment, something needs to be done.
We have at the altar of the rape victim the martyrdom of Fezekile Kuzwayo ’Khwezi’. Her sacrifice is one of our great motivators.

I, and my sister-comrades are preparing for a course of action, the nature of which I will be disclosing in the near future.

I feel peaceful knowing that according to the stakes of power I have nothing to lose. I have accumlated neither wealth, wordly postion nor power. I have chosen to live a simple life focused mostly on my family, my creativity and my path of healing. I have consistently, throughout my life followed the inner-voice  that has led me to take actions which, when they occurred could have been seen to be either naive, or at the worst, foolish. However, with the insight of hindsight, I can always see how I have been guided by a fierce and uncompromising longing for truth even when the terrain seemed unclear and bewildering. The voice has never failed me. And the voice is now calling for me to act.

In the various conversations and counsel I have shared over the last 2 weeks, there is no doubt that#onenightinPE is part of a huge wave of #metoo that is sweeping not only though South Africa but the whole world. As victims (sic) of rape and sexaul assault we find ourselves now at this critical juncture in time, where the need to speak out the truth of sexual violations that have often festered for years hidden in our closets of shame is the non-negotiable terrain opening for our release.
At the same time, we are confronting the gaping hole between the legal options available to victims (sic) of rape and sexual assault and the moral imperative to speak our truth, come what may. We have now been provided a moment in time where the voices of millions of women are making themselves heard. The old frames of law are struggling to meet the current cry of moral ourtrage that is engulfing the world, and this included the voices of men and boys who have suffered the trauma of rape and abuse. The cycle of sexual abuse, assault and rape knows no colour, no creed, and no gender. It is the women, however, who have precipated an urgently uncompromising collective moral voice that is rising to speak-out, despite the centuries of hidden shame. Theirs is a clarion call for activism and protest in the form of couragoeus disclosure, for mutually supported protest, and at las, a long over-haul of a legal system that has not and is still not serving the most vulnerable vicitims of sexual crimes. Now, once again, it seem, we are being called to take up the sword of what one could call a righteous activism again.

I am grateful to have my husband Anders Nyberg at my side, as are my two beautiful sons Ralph and Gabriel, and Johanna, our daughter born with an extra-chromosome.
I am being sustained and supported by a powerful community of friends and supporters from various fields who are giving of their time, their resources and expertise in order to help this wave gain momentum. This cannot be my struggle alone. Patriarchical culture of and systemic corruption in SA is of such concern that the #metoo 'one night in PE' seems but a tiny eruption on the surface of a much bigger threat that is undermining the very heart of democratic rights and freedom so many fought and died for, and that so many seem to be giving up on in our beloved but troubled country.

May this small battle be part of the transformation of the toxic into the a healing tonic that we are all so desperately in need of.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

These painfully precious days

 'These painfully precious days' 
In the dark of two nights ago my husband and I sat shivering on the bed, frozen with an unspeakable fear. We prayed, as we do, for peace to come not only to us but in this situation. When I fell asleep at last I could rest deeply despite the air trembling around me.

This has been a turbulent time for all of us. Our family has been plunged into a washing machine of change and tumbled inside out. All the old hidden stains of the past reappeared and we have been forced to look at ourselves and each other in completely new ways. And at the same time there has been an emergence of what I can only call The Heroic within us. That part of ourselves that only can appear in times of extreme distress and challenge. We find ourselves able to see clearer, free from doubt, to reach out and be radically truthful and equally compassionate . Insight and understanding follows, illuminating every situation as we breath through the stranglehold of fear and hold each others hands. 

In my marriage we have over the last 3 days come to a miraculous breakthrough. 21 years together is a long time. We have been at the juncture of a separation. These last 3 days have placed us into a crucible where all the shit of the past could be burned and burned  and burned some more, until it emerged... as gold.

I can only call it a miracle.

I have been able to see how I have unconsciously been pushing the 'male' away. Undermining his presence in very complex ways. Creating a field of rejection even as I kept the mask of everyday on. The #metoo disclosure of the rape I experienced a long time ago has allowed for a massive release of pain and unfinished stuff that has been growing stealthily like a tumour in these years. 

Yesterday as I sat on the floor amongst the group of 7 year olds I teach music and movement to on a Tuesday afternoon, I received the blessing of the children stroking my hair and embracing me with what can only be called radical tenderness. On the ground. Surrounded by the loving hands of children. 

Last night I rested completely in the arms of my comrade, my friend, my life partner and my husband with an all-pervading gratitude that I hope will infuse the days to come.

Monday, 23 October 2017

The levels of rape that have been normalised in our society are damaging to the very fabric of sanity in our communities. The levels of silenced pain in our nation cannot continue without serious consequences.

Men who choose to rape women are seriously damaged. Women who are raped are confronted with death and forced to continue living with the memory of their humiliation being a constant experience. A society that laughs at this pathology is betraying its future. 

We have to find another way.

We have decided to formally offer Danny Jordaan an opportunity for a mediated restorative justice process that would be facilitated by Paul Verryn in consultation with experts in this field.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

#metoo one night in PE

The #metoo campaign on social media has affected me deeply. 
Not only the obvious paradigm of predominantly white middle-class profiles and the spill-out from the Hollywood sludge, but the millions of those who are not hash-tagging their wounds. The truly voiceless.

I have been an activist and campaigner for social justice most of my life. Being born a white South African in the apartheid years gave me a wonderful and terrible soul-field to meet the best and worst of humanity. A childhood fragmented with trauma in a land marked with violation and violence, I have pursued all through my life, the path toward healing. Not only for those around me, but myself.

I know the power of Truth-Speak, of bringing light to the unloved and shamed aspects of ourselves in order to heal.  Why then has it been so hard for me to talk of this? This event that happened almost 24 years ago, one night in a PE Hotel.

High and happy as the carpet toward our liberation was being rolled out, unexpectedly nominated to the ANC National Parliament, I was invited to sing at a dinner hosted by leading South African sports bodies and representative officials. As I recall, there were not many other women present. It was a successful performance and as I was leaving a man struck up conversation with me. He was pleasant and entertaining. Danny Jordaan. I accepted his invitation to join him for a drink at the bar, but said I needed to go up to my suite and change from my performance dress. 
He joined me in the lift and said he would wait for me. I felt a little uneasy as he entered my suite, but beckoned him into the lounge and asked him to wait there while I changed.
I entered my bedroom, closed the door and began to change. A few minutes later the door opened and he entered and without a word grabbed me and forced me onto the bed from behind. He overpowered me and painfully raped me. It must have been over in about 20 seconds although it felt like a lifetime.
He left immediately without saying a word.

I was in a state of complete shock and pain. Bewildered. Not sure what to do. I washed and left the hotel and began to walk. 
I reached the beach and sat there a very long time trying to process what had happened. The thought of going to the police felt intolerable. 
What would I say? 
Should I have screamed louder? 
Fought him off harder? 
Had I been complicit in some way? 
All these questions raged in my mind. 
I wept. As the night faded into a golden dawn, I became aware of a small group of white-clad Zionists  making their way along the shore. 4 women and a man, clad in their white starched robes with green sash. Some women in blue. I watched as they neared the shore and then one by one entered the water. The man took each of them into the waves. I watched as they disappeared and emerged again.
I found myself wading into the water close by.
'Come!' he called.
I went toward him. His smiling face like a god of the sea. The women moved all around me. Hands and arms they held me like a child. They pushed me beneath the waves and then lifted me again and again. It was like dying and being born at the same time. 
I know the baptism I received in the waves of the Indian Ocean, held by these great souls of Africa, was a sacred healing no trauma counselling nor police procedure could provide.
I walked back to the hotel in my wet clothes, hair dripping.

It was not easy meeting Jordaan in the breakfast area of the Hotel. He disappeared as soon as I arrived. I would see him at many political gatherings thereafter, in the corridors of the parliament, in our caucus. He would never meet me in the eye. Slide away as fast as possible.

Why am I disclosing now? 
Partly because we need to understand how hard it is to come forward and speak out. Even for those of us who can move mountains when it comes to activism, political and social engagement, cultural creation, performance on stages. It has been hard to come out with the truth. Why? 
Because somewhere there is a template of shame and wrong-doing, a thought that it was my 'fault'
And that I no longer need in my life. 
Survivors of abuse do not need to feel any shame, anymore.We are not to blame. We are not guilty of anything.

I want my sons, my partner, my male friends to be empowered in the language of sexuality. To know that you need to ask if it's OK? And ask again, just to be sure. 
To beware of objectifying. In this age where young people are exposed to not only the highly seductive objectification of sex online, but pornographic extremities are now becoming the norm.
My rapist used me as an object for his sad need for power and twisted gratification. I was not a person to him. Where men in leadership positions, from the Presidential Office down, political leaders, liberation fighters, headmasters, teachers, priests,sports captains, have all been entrusted with power, yet it is especially in these terrains that there is a concentrated and distorted culture of abuse. This needs to be changed. The abuse needs to stop!!!

A male South African friend whom I called today in the centre of the storm said:
'It is good you are doing this.
Help the brothers to heal.
Help the brother to heal.
Help us all to heal.'

I am not speaking out to get revenge on Danny Jordaan or a million South African men like him. I am doing this so we can help each other be courageous, speak out and begin to heal as we find we are not alone. I know there are many of us out there.