Total Pageviews

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How Do You......?

"...did that [being sexually abused] cause problems in your marriage as far as getting to know someone and trying to explain everything?" That's the question that Truth, one of the hosts of The Morning Wood on Gyroscope radio, asked me during my interview. And though I gave a short answer on the show, his question inspired a question that I had to ask myself: How does being sexually abused effect my relationships?

Me and Sinn, one of the hosts of the 'Morning Wood', getting
some grooving going during a song break. 

After looking back on my history with men; noting the ones that would be considered failures; concluding that they weren't failures, just not what I needed or wanted; and evaluating what I do want in a relationship; I theorized that being sexually abused effects not only my relationships with men but my relationships with all humans. But being that I was sexually, physically and mentally abused for seventeen years of my life, it's difficult to imagine what my life would be like had I not experienced the one I've lived. Which poses another question. Who would I be had I not been abused?


A friend of mine sent me a link to a blog written by therapist Louise Behiel. Ms. Behiel's post "The 16 signs of Childhood Sexual Abuse" was both informative and disheartening. Disheartening because symptoms like "not being able to tolerate water being splashed in your face" and "seeing double entendres in ordinary conversation" suggests that almost everyone including newborn babies have been sexually abused. And informative because indicators that in my own research I've found to be associated to sexual abuse like; being unable to have sex in certain positions and a victim's abuse of drugs and alcohol, (which I myself have no issues with, but have spoken to women that do) made complete sense. Her source of this list is from a book called Secret Survivors by E. Sue Bloom (1998). I've ordered this book so I can read it in it's entirety and give it a more educated review, but the list published on Ms. Behiel's blog to me does more harm than good. Most comments in reaction to the list had people thinking that every little glitch in their lives was due to childhood sexual abuse. Yes, people tend to be products of their environment but there are other causes for alcoholism and drug abuse that have nothing to do with being touched inappropriately when you were five. 
That being said; I am more protective over my children than most parents are. Being in the same room as my abuser puts me on edge. I use to have a very sensitive gag reflex, And my sexual boundaries may be set outside the next girl's limits, but should I look at these as disfunction?

Child molestation is a grotesquely calamitous deviance in our society. It inflicts wounds on victims that may never heal and causes handicaps in survivors that no amount of therapy could ever correct. But the truth is, these wounds and handicaps are a part of who we are. Learning to function in spite of them, only makes us stronger.

I believe that destructive behaviors like self inflicted pain, promiscuity and the abuse of others, are a victim's denial that the trauma they suffered cannot be removed. If one excepts what happened to them and proceed with a course of treatment, healing and management, they could function in a productive manner. Granted, I am not a psychologist and I have no certificates to prove that my ideas are backed by an accredited institution but I have lived my life and I am still here. 

To know that the day my father touched me changed the course of my development towards a life of possible disaster saddens me. At the same time, it makes me all the more passionate about being a survivor, a parent, an advocate for women and children, a positive role model and an encouragement to other survivors.


I do not spend my time dwelling on the fact that I am different from those that have not been molested.  I do not attempt to run from things that will forever be a part of me. If I did, it would cause a constant feeling of failure and I would be miserable. I know that wounds heal and disabilities forces you to sharpen other skills.

Being abused greatly effects my personal relationships with men. While life with my father has shown me the selfish, evil potential of man kind, I also have more appreciation for loving, considerate, kind men. I am a hopeless (and hopeful) romantic, and if that's because I was molested as a child; oh well.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Victims Of Crimes Vigil

When I was asked to speak at the Passaic County Victims of Crimes Vigil, I was honored and excited. Not only would it be an opportunity to speak with other survivors of crime but it would give me a chance to continue to raise awareness on child molestation and domestic violence. I was told that the assistant prosecutor (the prosecutor who worked on my case against my father) would introduce me, and I was to speak for five to seven minutes. I thought: sure, no problem! The length of my name alone will count for two minutes, so I have nothing to worry about. Then four days before the event, I received another call saying that I was to speak for fifteen minutes! My stomach did a dive like an olympic swimmer off his board, because I couldn't imagine what I would talk about for fifteen minutes. Oh the pressure!


Well I didn't quite make it to 
fifteen minutes, but I hope that every minute I had the microphone in my hand, would be sixty seconds that a crime survivor could be touched positively.  


Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Woman's Worth Part 3

If there is anything in the world that could make a person digress from being a sophisticated, mature responsible, member of society, to a jejune, idiotic, unscrupulous social basket case; it is matters of the heart. Just the other day I watched a small group of males and females with ages ranging from 34 to 46 act like a group of kindergartners fighting over who's playing next to who in the sandbox (pure imagination considering I've not been to school lol). And it was all due to love. Whether one is 16 or 61; throw sex and emotions into the mix, we all revert to a very primal instinct. Defense of territory. Which brings me to my third and final installment of 'A Woman's Worth'

Yinka Shonibar's Diary of a Victorian Dandy: 0.300 hours
Now I really should be doing homework, but over the last few months I've developed feelings for someone that has me very distracted. He's single, but there are a lot of women in his life (old and new) vying for his attention. This predicament that I find myself in has got me thinking about womanizers, players, dandies, and polygamists; and how they effect the value that a woman put's on herself in a relationship. 

My viewpoint on committed relationships may be a little different from most women. I grew up in a family where the patriarch had relations with multiple females concurrently, yet it wasn't governed by any particular religious belief or culture. This was not a lifestyle that my parents agreed on when they first married, but something that my father manipulated my mother into over the years. 

Cleopatra is a representation of a woman's influence over men. 
I was taught that a woman is supposed to unconditionally serve the man in all aspects; and this theory was supported with examples from various cultures, belief systems and religions. Since then I've formulated my own thesis on the subject using biology to support my ideas. For me it boils down to this: if man hadn't created the institution of marriage and monogamy, as a species we'd have one primary focus. To be fruitful and multiply (or the survival or our species). On average a woman produces one egg a month, and once it is fertilized, gestation is complete, birth commences and the lactation period ends, two years would have passed. In contrast, a man has nowhere near the procreation limits that a female has. His millions of sperm gives him the ability to make multiple babies with only one orgasm. He is neither the vessel nor a source of nourishment for life, giving him free agency to plant his seeds as often and in as many places as he is physically able. That being the case I fully understand a male's struggle with maintaining a monogamous relationship. It's biological baby!

Harriet Tubman helped roughly 300 slaves
escape slavery. 


Now you may ask "Aziza, does that mean you are a polygamist?" And my answer is yes and no. 
Western culture dictates that a relationship between a man and a woman should consist of one man and one woman. Some feminists believe that any female who allows her man to be with other females, degrades and devalues herself, while putting the integrity of their coupling at risk. My opinion is that a woman sets her own value. There is no institution or belief system that can do that without her approval. You can be in monogamous relationship, but your partner cheats on you and treats you like shit, or you can be the 4th wife of a loving household who has the support of 3 sister wives. You can also represent a minuscule fraction of the bedded roster of a modern day Casanova, or one half of a power couple ready to take on the world. My point is, the going rate of a female individual is set by said female individual (yes I objectified us). If a woman holds themselves in high value, than others will hold them in high value also. If you know your worth, than you will set a standard for yourself, and everyone around you has no other choice but to except that standard.
Harriet Beecher Stow's Uncle Tom's Cabin was
pivotal in the abolition of slavery by garnering sympathy
for the plight of African Americans.


Granted we have centuries of oppression piled onto everything feminine. Periods where we were declared and burned as witches because we began menstruating. Rapes inflicted on us as a spoil of war. Belief systems that alienate us during our monthly cycle and religions that blame us for sin and suffering. But as a source of infinite power and the cradle of life, drawing those who want to own and control us is to be expected.

We as women have to recognize the power we have in ourselves. In doing so we will recognize that same power in our own daughters and other women, in turn increasing the agreed value of our species.  I mean, when you think about it from a theological stand point, if man was created first, women are version 2.0. (You know, the version after the kinks were worked out). And from a scientific standpoint, female chromosomes are XX while male are XY. What is a Y but an X missing a leg (things that make you go hmmm).

Though still working on her legacy
Aziza Kibibi knows she's the shit. 
So I go through all this to say what about love and relationships? Only you can determine how to conduct your relationship.  Titles like polygamy and monogamy only have the weight we give them. When a woman understands her worth, she sets the standards of her relationship with a man and uses the power to determine what she will and what she will not allow. Whether she shares a man with another awesome female or keeps the man to herself, does not decide her value in a relationship. 
But, the value she puts on herself as a female and human being does.  

We are the origin of humanity; we are the saviors of civilization; we are masters of ingenuity and we are the nurturers of nations. We are jewels finer than any that can be appraised by an outside source. Study and know your worth ladies, and you will find that it is beyond measure.  




Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Woman's Worth. Part 2





In an oversexed society, one challenge I've faced in raising my daughters is convincing them of the value of their sexuality. How can I expect them to heed my suggestions on when, why and who they engage sexually with, when casual sex is commonplace in the media and among their friends. 
The teenagers in my daughter's school, are engaging in sexual activity before they even know what a menstrual is. Real life examples such as these threaten to ruin all the hard work I put into establishing sexual morals and ethics in my girls. 

And don't get me started with the boys (those of body and those of mind) that try to convince young ladies that giving up the cookie  "is not a big deal" and attempt to guilt their female comrades to engage because "everybody else is doing it".  Which brings me to the point of this installment of 'A Woman's Worth'. 

If giving up the cookie is not a big deal, why are their so many people lined up to stick their hands in the cookie jar? And if everybody is doing it and seeing it and showing it, why should that decrease it's value?

As Summer's Eve demonstrates in the advertisement above, one thing that adds to a woman's worth, is her sex (that may sound sexist, but it's a fact). Men fight for it; they are inspired by it; they build careers based on it (money, cars and nice houses draws cookie like light draws moths); they go to jail for it; they die for it; they sacrifice for it; I mean, the list goes on. 

Yoni is the source of life, it is inspiration for music and poetry and has been a subject of visual art for centuries. It has been a bargaining chip in times of war and it's required to maintain civilization. Some religions and cultures believe that it's essence can increase personal power and extend one's life span. It is the one thing that no matter how available it is, it never depreciates. So I teach my girls to take care of it, keep it clean and healthy and that instead of giving up the cookie to whoever asks, make sure they know that the one they share it with, is worthy. 


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Woman's Worth. Part 1





I am a feminist; I am a humanist; I am an egalitarian; I am an entrepreneur; I am an employee; I am an employer; I am a writer; I am a mother; I am a survivor; I am a daughter; I am a sister; I am a woman.


I have contemplated what position I want to portray to the public concerning my beliefs politically, religiously and otherwise. Then I thought; why does it matter? It really shouldn't because my experiences growing up effects every single one of us (directly and indirectly) no matter your race, color, income bracket, political position and yes; sex or gender. 

But of course, as someone who is in the process of publishing a book, I have to take these things into consideration when it comes to marketing. As a female in the public eye with a platform concerning sex, I have to consider how I dress, what I say, how my own sexuality is received etc; if I want my message to get across. I call this the necessary evils of consumerism. But, God help me, I will stay true to myself, the cause and by all means maintain my integrity. 

Amidst the many hat's that I wear, professional consumer is one of them. I love fashion, movies, fine dining, music and technology. I can tell you when Christian Louboutins are going on sale, and which "Italian" designer handbags are really made in china. I utilize Ebates on most of my online purchases for cash back benefits, and I was a member of GILT and Ideeli before the websites even launched.  

It was through my automatic repeat of Beyonce's new album 'Beyonce', playing on my iPad Mini, connected via bluetooth to my Big Jambox that I first heard of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (Even in my consumer hat I still learn stuff)

She is a beautiful African author who happens to be born the same year as me, five days later. She is a feminist; a humanist; an egalitarian; a writer; a daughter; a friend and my new inspiration. 

Please enjoy and share your thoughts!

Be great!


('A Woman's Worth' will be a series of short posts on this blog during the month of February, acknowledging the awesome power of female. Please check back often.)






Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Birds and the Bees

As a survivor of sexual exploitation, the most challenging aspect of recovery is one's outlook on sex. I went through many stages in my sexual growth and it's safe to say I continue to go through them. As a little girl I was confused between the sensations I was feeling, if what was happening to me was right or wrong, fear, and the stress on my body. I have children and I know sexual exploration is a part of growing up, but to have it forced on you is traumatizing to say the least.
 By the time I reached puberty my father had pushed my body to the point that my physical senses were numb and my mentality was that him raping me was another one of my household chores. If I wanted to avoid being choked or punched while he had intercourse with me, it was best that I didn't fight. 
I went from a little girl who's innocence and love for her father was used against her, to a teenager who's will had been broken to the point that she fit perfectly into the role created for her; to a grown woman with little identity of her own; sexual or otherwise. So what now?


At twenty five years old I'd already been having sex most of my life; but I'd never had an orgasm, I didn't see sex as something that was suppose to be pleasurable for a woman, and I'd been trained to please one person. When I was with my first, outside of my dad, I really wanted to express how I felt about him physically. We talked on the phone, spent time together and I told him what happened to me. I trusted him and when we kissed for the first time (one of the many things I hated doing with my father) my body ignited with sensations that I didn't know was possible. I wanted him, and I wanted him bad! But when the day finally came, it was a disaster. As soon as I felt his penis, seventeen years of sexual abuse came flooding back. I didn't break down, I didn't bolt and I didn't refuse; I reverted back to the trained obedient little girl I grew up as, and I went through the motions of making this man cum. As soon as that happened, I felt nothing. No amazing sensation running through my body, no will, no understanding if I liked what was happening or not. I was again the orifice being used for a man to get his rocks off on. And it was horrible. 
I felt like everything that I built with this man went out of the window. I was embarrassed, ashamed and because he didn't orgasm, I felt like I didn't do my job. 
This whole experience made me resentful. I was away from my father, yet he was still present in my life through my interactions with another man. I knew that had to change.
Thanks to my dad, sex was something negative in many ways, and I had to dispel so many head games it was crazy! Without knowing anything about psychology, I knew I had to deprogram the associations I made between sex and misery, and start all over again. 
 Sex statue in Thirumayam temple.
I started to read books on sex (scientific and entertainment), masturbation, female anatomy, sexual art, fetishes, female orgasm (and ejaculation) and different cultural sexual practices. I watched porn and read erotic literature, while paying attention to what aroused me and what didn't. If I saw images that pertained to my father but still triggered sensual sensations in me, I didn't shy away from it. I told myself that if other women can enjoy it, than there's no reason I couldn't either. From there, I started masturbating. I was the only one I trusted with myself so, I enjoyed myself, by myself. I communicated with the man (who became my first love) everything that I did and he was in full support. Then one day while having an erotic dream, I woke up in the middle of my first orgasm! After that, I couldn't get enough. Rape? What rape? Molestation? What molestation? Daddy? Who the hell was that and what did he have to do with my orgasm? This became my viewpoint of the pleasure my body was capable of feeling.

(Side note: God created sex as a means to reproduce. In order to make a baby a man has to orgasm but a woman doesn't. Yet we still have the ability to orgasm. Which means, God gave us our orgasm just for us to enjoy! I'm just saying... woo hoo!)

Once I was comfortable with my ability to have sexual feelings without associating it with something negative, I introduced my boyfriend. And the rest is history. 

Recovering after sexual trauma is a process. It takes work, focus and practice. But first one must accept that they have a right to and deserve to enjoy sex again. Starting with the passion to retake the power stolen from you, and not allowing the abuser to maintain control after the attack, enjoying sex without hangups is possible, and very probable. 



My father performed cunnilingus on me when he started molesting me, and today cunnilingus is probably my favorite sexual activity. Im not ashamed to say that there may be some association pertaining to (this is where I get technical) Unconditioned Stimulus, Conditioned Stimulus and everything else concerning classical conditioning and Ivan Pavlov. But I don't care! It could be, and it could not be. I'm not going to dwell on it because doing so would just be a continuation of crediting and/or discrediting my father for my sex life.  At the same time if there is association, oh well. There's nothing I can do about it now. I need to live my life, and that includes enjoying the pleasure that myself and someone I care about can give me.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

S.O.S.

I'm not sure if I should be blogging while I'm in this state of mind, but I'm going to anyway.
I'm not usually one to pity myself; shit happens basically. I've had children looking up to me all my life. First my siblings; they depended on me to entertain them for the hours our parents weren't home, to figure out what to eat when I wasn't old enough to use the stove; to keep them focused when we had to do our homework and stop whichever baby from crying when our mother wasn't around to breastfeed. When I had my own children I had to do some of the same things, but on top of that be a better example of a mother than what my own was. And that included protecting my daughters from my father. 
  



My father favored my children which also created animosity amongst everyone else. There were so many  psychologically confusing dynamics in our family that it's made me somewhat of a pro at dealing with stress in my life today. In addition I feel like I have to project a certain level of togetherness and strength to those around me. I can count the times on one hand that my children have seen me cry. Eighty percent of the time that I'm sick, I still go to work and school. Depression is not an option and if I feel a rut coming on I get exercising, or writing. You may ask; what is your point Aziza? And my reply is: despite the fact that I am doing well considering what my life has been there are times that I need help. But I have a serious problem asking for it. 

                                                                           

When my father would come into my bedroom when I was nine, he'd tell me that telling my mother would make her go crazy and I'd never see her again. And this was only one of the many lies he used to confuse his daughter to maintain control. After beating me because I tried to fight back when I was twelve, he said that my compliance gave him the strength to take care of the family.  I became use to having a lot of responsibility with little assistance.  There were decisions I had to make as a child that effected my entire family. And I was led to believe that if I asked for help the result would end in someone else's peril or sacrifice. Today, I don't want to put anyone out of their way, or have them inconvenience themselves for me. It's natural for me to put the needs of others in front of my own, but I have to convince myself that I'm deserving of the same treatment. Which is work in itself. So If I have a problem or a challenge, I pull up my boot straps, buckle down and handle my own business. But just lately I've been feeling  overwhelmed. There aren't enough hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in the month or months in the year for me to get all I have to do done. At the same time if I have a day where there isn't as much to do or things can't get done because they are outside of my control, I feel useless and unproductive. 


                                                                         
What am I suppose to do with myself? And that question is not rhetorical either. If anyone reading this post has any suggestions, I implore you to let me know. And while I'm at it, if you know a literary agent, a publisher, an editor, how to write a grant proposal, a financial advisor, a lawyer and have suggestions on dealing with a fourteen year old boy who's father is his grandfather who happens to be in jail for molesting, beating and raping his mother; please tell me. Because I need some help.