Requiem for a Sunday Afternoon

November 20, 2016


Diary 20th November

They say time flows in strange ways on a Sunday. Why that should be so, I don’t know? But because of it, vision can become strangely distorted, the commonplace manifest elements of the unfamiliar – but I still bring you your usual cup of tea in bed.


Wet and very windy outside this morning. A wild, restless night.


The Imam’s greatest fear? A woman who can read and write apparently…

However, there are in this world any number of males, regardless of race, creed or colour, who treat women as if they were a kind of mindless masturbation device. A woman is raped in Dubai, complains to the authorities and is promptly arrested for her involvement in ‘extra marital sex’.

Unfortunately, the patriarchical society existing in the United Arab Emirates sees no difference between rape and consensual sexual intercourse. Perhaps, because these males regularly force themselves on their women, they feel this to be the norm?

The area’s human rights record generally stinks. The local interpretations of Shari’a law also stinks.

An Australian woman was recently sent to prison for 11 months after reporting a gang-rape to police. She was surprised, no doubt, to be treated like an offender rather than a victim. The bemused and bewildered police officers asked why she’d made such a complaint? Didn’t she enjoy the sex?

In the United Arab Emirates, as in many other countries using Islamic law, a rape conviction requires either a full confession from the perpetrator / s, or the testimony of four adult male witnesses to the offence! DNA evidence and medical reports count for nothing! Nor does the testimony of a woman.

The fact is, debilitating gender stereotypes and assumptions about women threaten women’s personal safety – and not just in the UAE, either.

In the United States of America reported sexual assaults against women occur statistically at the rate of one every two minutes (US Justice Department survey). According to an old Federal study, National Violence Against Women, the total figure of sexual assaults against women is nearer five every two minutes.

And in the UK approximately 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales each year (These figures are assaults by penetration and attempted penetration). Nearly half a million adults are sexually assaulted in England and Wales every year. One in 5 women aged 16 – 59 has experienced some form of sexual violence since attaining the age of 16 (figures come from An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales).

Heartbreaking and totally unacceptable statistics. The biggest threat to women in today’s world, it would seem, is the male of the species.



Memories of school days this morning: of unexpected turmoil, teachers, traffic, telly and the torture of masses of homework. Anxiety over ‘O’ levels. First love. Heavy petting. And parents, red-faced with rage, devotedly hating each other – and so much of that hatred spilling over on me as an innocent bystander at the wreck of their marriage.

I remember it mostly as a time without smiles…


D’you remember going for a sleigh ride in the snow on Christmas day? We were in Switzerland, remember? That old man wrapped fur blankets round us to keep out the cold, and we rode up through the trees, our breath steaming in the crystal air. It was magical, wasn’t it?


Magic has the power to experience and fathom things which are inaccessible to human reason. For magic is a great secret wisdom; and reasoning against it is nothing else but an extreme folly.
Paracelsus, De Occulta Philosophia

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