Tag Archives: sexual abuse

My Ex-Boyfriend Loved Me. Everybody Told Me So.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

My ex-boyfriend was a really lovely man.  Everyone told me so.  He adored me, he cherished me, he valued me.  He thought I was special.

I know this is true because everyone told me so.

My ex-boyfriend was gentle and sweet, he was shy.  He had very little family and had been badly treated by those he did have, so he was vulnerable and needed to be loved.  He was insecure but full of heart.

Everyone told me.  Everyone.

Wasn’t I lucky to have a man like him, a man who so clearly was good and kind and loving and gentle.

So.  Fucking.  Lucky.

He loved me so much when he shoved me into walls.  He loved me so much when he hit me.  He loved me so much when he twisted my arm until I cried.

When he shouted in my face for smiling at the waiter.  When he wouldn’t let me leave the house or talk on the phone.  When he punched the walls so hard his knuckles would bleed then showed me the blood, blaming me for making him so frustrated.

He loved me so much when he raped me.  When he sent me upstairs to our bedroom to wait for him.

J.J. Barnes, Rose And Mum And More, Feminist Blog, Feminism Blog, Blogger, Feminist Blogging

Photo credit Ninocare

He was so vulnerable, so insecure.  When he interrogated me about everything I said to my mother, what her face was like, how she interpreted it.  Whether I had implied anything negative about him.  Whether anybody knew.

He was such a good man.  I know it’s true.

When he found out I had a lesbian friend on Facebook and nearly smashed my laptop.  When I smiled at the man in the chip shop and he accused me of having an affair and screamed in my face.

I crept downstairs once.  He’d sent me to wait for him and had been gone for a long time.  I found him watching violent porn.  I ran back upstairs as quietly as I could.  That was a bad night.  He loved me so much.  Everyone told me.

I knew nobody would believe me.  Why would they?  I had no proof.  And he was a good man.

When I eventually got away from him I broke his heart.  I left him crying.  He cried a lot.  He cried when I tried to talk about how much he hurt me, why would I want to upset him like that?  I was talking as if he was an abuser, why would I do that to him?  He cried when I left.

He cried to his female friends.  They hated me.  Hated me.  They told me so.

I didn’t appreciate him.  I couldn’t see how much he loved me.  How special he was.  How gentle, how good, how loving.  I had a vendetta and I was cruel and selfish.  I was a liar.

He loved me so much.  Everybody told me so.

My mum believed me.

Every time I was brave enough to tell her a little bit more she believed me.

She had thought he loved me.  That he was a good man.  That he was gentle and good and kind and vulnerable.

My mum believed me.

When I was having the nightmares, she comforted me.  When I cried, she held me.  When I struggled, she paid for my counselling.

My mum believed me.

He was such a good man.  Everybody told me so.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

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Strength In Numbers

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

When a famous man is accused of sexual abuse crimes and rape, it always seems that once one woman has made an accusation, others come forward with similar tales of abuse.  It has happened in high profile cases, the Jimmy Saville and Bill Cosby type cases, time and time again and it is always met with the same criticism.  The same accusations.  They are “jumping on the bandwagon”.  If it had really happened they’ve have come forward sooner.  They’d have spoken out.  They’re just trying to get their fifteen minutes of fame and a financial handout.

I have never gone to the police about the abusive relationships or experiences I’ve had.

I have a lot of guilt for that and I carry it with me.  I cling onto the notion that it was just me.  Nobody else went through that under those hands and I would rather not put myself through the horrendous process of reporting abuse crimes for which I have no evidence, which I would be put under an embarrassing and traumatic investigation and cross examination, where it would end up as his word against mine.  Where I would have to face those men again, men with eyes I have done everything I can to never have to look into again.

I am simply not strong enough to face that lonely road.

If others went forwards?  Then I think  would.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, Rose And Mum And More,, Feminism, Feminist Blog

Photo Credit Kauschik Chug

I’m witnessing it happening.  One woman speaks out, comes forward with a tale of abuse and suddenly, like dominoes, other silenced women are holding up their hands.  They’ve suffered the same experiences, they too believed they were alone.  They too thought they were facing the prospect of that lonely road.  But they’re not.  There are women with them, women who can hold their hands and look into their eyes and tell them they are not wrong.  They aren’t making it up, they aren’t faking it, they aren’t lying and seeking fame and fortune at the expense of an innocent maligned man.  Women who can stand together because they have each other and that gives them the strength they need to look into those eyes once more.

If other women came forward I too would stand up.  I would face those eyes, those hands.  But so far it hasn’t happened.

If I’m honest, if I look into those hidden places in my mind that I dare not explore too often, I don’t believe I’m alone.  And I believe that if I did it, if I was that brave woman who stood up and said it had happened then I’d be leading that march down that road and I wouldn’t be alone in doing it.

The women who stand up and make it known are the bravest of us all.  Braver than me.  If I stood up I am almost certain others would follow yet I am paralysed by fear.  I have seen the condemnation, the scrutiny, the abuse these brave women are met with and I am too frightened to face it myself.  His word against mine, and I know how many voices will shout from his side about how abused he is by my speaking out.  And I am afraid.  Those women who face that, who lead the way, they are the bravest of us all.

There is strength in numbers.  It is not a bandwagon.  It is a march of solidarity.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

I Believe In The Sisterhood

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

When a woman says she doesn’t think anyone will believe her, it is almost always when she’s speaking out against a man.  And pretty much always against a man with power and influence.

For some reason, the mass opinion of society is that a man with power and influence is far more likely to be the innocent victim of slander, than a woman he has power and influence over is to be the victim of abuse.  There’s the fear that a man’s reputation will be so damaged by the woman’s accusations that his life will be ruined whereas she will continue unscathed.

When men can be accused to some of the most heinous crimes; rape, murder, child abuse, and continue to have successful careers in film, television and, say, presidency, I think we can safely assume that this is bullshit.  And when women who have made accusations have been verbally and physically abused so much they’ve had to change their names and move house, or have been fallen into depressions so badly they’ve committed suicide, it is clear that women don’t get as much out of accusations as people seem to think.

So why do we continue not to believe women?

Why do we enable men to gaslight women into believing they have done something wrong, or invited their abuse?

Why do we enable this pathetic belief that women owe something to men?  That if they want us we are some how duty bound to protect their feelings, even if it sacrifices our own personal comfort or safety?  That rejecting them is an act of cruelty not self preservation?

I believe in the Sisterhood.  I believe that women should be a network of strength for one another.  I believe that when one of your fellow women comes to you and tells you of pain in her life that it is your duty as to hear her.

J.J. Barnes, Rose And Mum And More, Feminist Blog, Feminist Blogger

Photo credit Unsplash

I believe that if you flirt with a man you owe him nothing.

I believe that if you go on a date with a man you owe him nothing.

I believe that if a man is in love with you you owe him nothing.

I believe that “consent” obtained through coercion, manipulation, pressure, bullying, gas lighting or guilt tripping is not consent at all.  It is rape.

I believe that anyone, male or female, who would try to convince a woman that she is in the wrong because a man cannot control himself needs to take a long hard look at themselves and then fuck off as far as they can go.

I believe that any woman who would immediately take the stance that the woman in pain is lying and sides with the man accused of causing the pain is seriously and incredibly wrong.

None of this means I hate men, none of this means I support abuse of men, something people often seem to assume.  It means that I believe women.  I support women.

I am here for the Sisterhood.  And God help the mister who comes between me and my sister.  Because I will fight for my sisters.  I will fight for women.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Triggered By My Children

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

People like to joke about the word “triggered”.  It’s a big laugh about lefty liberals being mentally weak and unable to take criticism, unable to take a joke.  It’s used as a criticism.  To mock people.

It is not a joke.

It is especially not a joke when the person doing the triggering is your own child.  Your child who you love and adore, value over all others, and who even at their most angry has no comprehension of the fireworks bashing around on the inside of your brain when they’re doing something triggering.  They don’t mean to, and even if they did, the can’t comprehend what it is anyway.  And the whole time you’re being mentally broken by the fireworks of panic, you have to maintain at least some degree of composure because there are little human lives depending on you to parent them.

I have, at various points, been triggered by all three of my children in different ways.

It doesn’t happen all the time.  If I’m feeling at my most strong and my most healthy I can ride through most things they throw at me.  But if I’m feeling bogged down by the weight of life already, if I’m already struggling to process a stress or anxiety that is really pushing into me, what they add to that load can be incredibly difficult to carry.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, Rose And Mum And More, Lilly Prospero, Mummy Blogger

Photo credit Counselling

Miss Rose will, when fully enraged (which thankfully is rare) stamp her foot with huge force.  It shakes the floor.  The rage in her beautifully little face, the impact of the foot on the floor,  I feel it.  It hits hard at my chest and catches my breath.  So much of me feels that stamping is a great way for her to externalise her anger without harming anyone or breaking anything.  It’s also a classic child tantrum manoeuvre.  There probably isn’t a child in history who hasn’t stamped at their mother when angry about some perceived injustice.  But I beg her not to do it.  I have, at times of weakness, broken down in tears because of her stamping at me and I cannot tell you how pathetic I feel when that happens.  When I cry it immediately calms her and she comes to me, holds me, and tells me she’s sorry.  The pain of others is something she instinctively needs to fix, and then I feel like an emotional blackmailer and hate myself even more.

Her other move that I struggle with is when she’s being clingy.  I feel her pressing against me where I sit, her arms snaking around me, her fingers pulling at my clothes, her breath wafting against me.  I feel suffocated.  I can’t breathe.  Sometimes it’s fine and I cuddle her back, I know she’s feeling insecure or vulnerable, maybe poorly or sad, and all I want to do is give her the physical comfort she needs.  But sometimes I can’t handle it.  I feel intruded upon, like ownership and control of my body is being taken from me.  I need space.  I have to get away from her.  And how terrible I feel when that happens I cannot express.  Moving away slows my heart rate and usually I am able to come back and give her the cuddle she needs, but in the moment I betray that and I hate myself for it.

In a similar way Baby Boo has triggered me by being so permanently attached to me that I feel out of control of my body.  Violated.  Owned.  I hate it.  I have to put her down, or in the arms of another, and take a break.  When she’s crying and clawing at me I feel my head fog coming and I have to escape.  She’s a tiny baby who knows nothing except her need for comfort from mummy and I run away.  I run away.

My step son triggers me because, in the words of Jonathan McKinney, I cannot show him that I’m the baboon with the biggest, reddest ass.  When he gets angry he will sometimes hit out.  I have taken fists to the face, the arms, the head.  I was kicked in the belly whilst I was pregnant.  I panic.  I cannot handle it.  I’ve been broken to tears and a shaking wreck because the moment those tiny, male fists land on me I just cannot handle it.  I know he’s a little boy not a grown man.  I know I am bigger and stronger.  I know I’m the parent.  But I just break.  I panic.  I am afraid.  The swirling , exploding, fog of fear in my head won’t let me see my own power and strength and instead breaks me into a cowering, woman below the anger of a dominant male.  There are no words for how much I hate myself for that.  I have taken to backing away from him should anger flare up, avoiding the confrontation, and in so doing that I am failing him.  I am failing to parent a child who needs me.  A child I love and am responsible for.

Being triggered is not a joke.  It stops you living your life normally.  When your own child is the one doing the triggering, you take them down with you.

My children aren’t harmed or neglected through this struggle, but they are negatively impacted.  Made to feel that they’re doing something worse than they are, because if I was not being triggered I would be able to handle it so much more successfully and parent them through it.

JJ. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly PRospero Series, Rose And Mum And More,, The Lilly Prospero Series, Mummy Blogger

Photo Credit Greyer Baby

But hitting walls and stamping feet has been a precursor to pain.  Fists to the face have carried genuine weight and power.  Snaking hands and breath on my neck has been followed by violations of my body and self that haunt me.  I wish it were different.

I am not a snowflake.  I am dealing as best as I can with something I can only assume those who joke about triggers have no comprehension of.  And I’m pleased for them.  I wouldn’t wish these triggers on a soul.  I wouldn’t wish panic attacks on anyone.  I wouldn’t wish anyone’s child to be carrying the burden of seeing their mother in that state.

But if you aren’t triggered don’t mock those who are.  Respect what they’re going through.  Because it’s not an easy weight to bare.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

 

The World Needs Angry Women

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

I never used to be an angry woman.  I was calm and quiet, I was intimidated by angry women who shouted about the patriarchy.  I considered myself a humanist not a feminist.

How times have changed.

I started exploring the world more.  Not physically, but by reading an watching.  I watched documentaries, I read articles, I engaged in conversations on Twitter and Facebook.  Something, perhaps age or motherhood, pushed me to want to know more.  To want to learn about the world.

It started around the time of my daughter’s birth four years ago.  It grew after the breakdown of my marriage.  It developed in my time as a single mother.  The more I learned, researched, the angrier I got.  The angrier I got the more I wrote.

I wrote because the world needs women to write.  Because the world needs female voices.  The world needs angry female voices because without anger nothing will change.  Without anger nobody will fight.

And there is so much to fight.

I don’t count myself as a humanist anymore.  I count myself as a feminist.  I believed being a humanist made me more focused on equality, but if you don’t recognise where the inequality lies, how can you properly address it?  Internationally it is women who primarily are being oppressed, not men.  I am a feminist.  I recognise this imbalance and that needs correcting before anything else.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Feminist Blog, Feminism Blog, Parenting Blog,

Photo credit Alexas Photos

And I am angry.  And I assume that anyone who isn’t angry simply doesn’t know the truth.

How can you not be angry when you learn that every single year between 600,000 and 800,00 people are trafficked (Stop The Traffik).  That is an active slave trade happening right now.  They are trafficked primarily into the sex trade, forced into prostitution in brothels, forced into pornography and raped repeatedly on camera, forced into arranged marriages and raped repeatedly by their husbands.  How can that not make you angry?  And when you learn that approximately 80% of those trafficking victims are women and girls, how can that not make you a feminist?  Hundreds of thousands of women and girls being raped for money every fucking year.

How can you not be angry when you learn that every hour in England and Wales alone, approximately 11 adults will be raped (that doesn’t include all the children) (Rape Crisis).  Eleven people being forcibly penetrated without their consent.  The lasting psychological damage of rape is huge and it is happening to eleven people every damn hour.  That is outrageous.  It is horrific.  And when you learn that 88% of these rapes are female victims, how can you not be a feminist?

How can you not be angry when you learn that there are at least 200 million females alive today who have been subjected to female genital mutilation? (Unicef).  That is girls who have had their vulva cut, labia sliced off, clitoris removed, and sometimes have their wounded body sewn shut.  How does that not make you furious?  And do you know why they do it?  Why they would mutilate young girls so badly, cause them so much pain and damage?  For men.  To ensure virginity for marriage.  And because a cut vulva is apparently more sexually satisfying for a man to put his penis in.  How can you not be a feminist when you  know that this is what is happening to girls every damn day?

J.J. Barnes, Rose And Mum And More Blog, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Lilly Prospero

Photo credit Bohed

Then there’s the differences in pay forcing women to do the same work for less money, the rates of domestic violence, the pressures of the beauty industry causing a huge rise in anorexia and plastic surgery and depression, the representation of women in the media and ageism.  These are all genuine issues that people dismiss because “other people have it worse”.  But they’re still issues.  They still exist.  They still demonstrate the inequality the world gives to women.

This is all worthy of anger.  And all of it is an issue for women and girls primarily.

You can talk about the men who are victims too.  Men who suffer too.  I hear you, I get it.  But men are not crushed every damn day based purely on their biology in the same way as women.  They are not cut, raped, sold, abused as routinely as women.  And not only are men not as regularly victims of the evils of the world, they’re the ones primarily perpetrating the crimes in the first place.

Be angry.  Be furious!  I find so much comfort from seeing the voices of fury rising from women around the world.  I know I am not alone, I know we are doing something.  We are marching, we are campaigning, we are petitioning.  We are shouting about it.  Writing about it.  We are doing anything we can to make people know because dammit it is worthy of anger.  It is worthy of rage.

And if you refuse to acknowledge that women need the focus, if you refuse to acknowledge that inequality cannot be changed if you don’t recognise where that inequality lies, you are part of the problem.  If you refuse to accept that it is women and girls who are being treated so badly because “men suffer too” you are part of the problem.  You are part of the problem.

I am angry, and I love the angry women around me.  The more of us putting our voices out there, the more of us telling the truth to the world, the more people will know and learn.  The more people know and learn, the more people will get angry.  The more people get angry, the more they will shout about it.  The more of us shout, the more change can happen.

Be angry.  Be fucking furious.  The world needs your rage.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

TERF

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

I’ve been asked quite a lot recently what a “TERF” is and what it stands for.  Though it may not seem it on the surface, these are actually two different questions.

TERF stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist.  A feminist who puts the needs and focus of biological women as the focus of their feminism, at the exclusion of all others.  A feminist not interested in fighting for men, not interested in fighting for transwomen.  A feminist who recognises the oppression of women because of their sex, not their gender (which is what the brain identifies as rather than the body), and fights to correct that imbalance.

You might not understand why what a TERF is might be different to what it stands for.  But I’ll explain.

“TERF” has become warped in meaning and into a slur.  It is now an insult thrown at women who challenge trans activist’s ideology.  ANY trans ideology.

If you question whether transing children is a smart move, point out the potential danger of blocking puberty, suggest that the children as  young as two who are being raised as the opposite sex because of toy and clothes preferences can’t possibly be expected to comprehend the long term impact of such decisions, then you’re a TERF.

If you argue that allowing men who have raped and assaulted women to identify as women and be housed in a women’s prison, locked in a cell with a female, is dangerous and wrong,  you’re a TERF.

If you question the ramifications of self identification, whether the idea that anyone can change their sex and immediately become a woman (or man) based on their own feelings and thoughts, is a good idea.  When you recognise that this opens up vulnerable women’s spaces such as changing rooms, sheltered housing, rape crisis centres, to any men who decide they’re women, and question whether that is safe, let alone fair.  When you point out the crimes that have been committed against women because of this law, the women who have been raped and assaulted because of this law.  You’re a TERF.

“KILL ALL TERFS” is a chant.  They sell “DIE CIS SCUM” and “TERF STOMPER” badges. Cis being the phrase used for anyone who’s gender and sex match.  Violence against women is being celebrated, sold without question, and the women who point out how dangerous this is are the women who are being called bigots by society.

TERF is now a slur used for women who are non compliant.  You may as well tattoo NC on our wrists and send us to prison, because we dare question and challenge the idea that something might not be right here.  We dare put the safety of women ahead of the feelings of men.

J.J. Barnes, Rose And Mum And More Blog, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Lilly Prospero

Photo credit Bohed

Women and men get angry and defensive about women’s desire to have spaces free from male bodies.  It’s bigoted.  We’re all people, and regardless of our bodies and our biology, if someone is a transwoman it’s cruel to refuse to allow them in spaces made exclusively for women.

So I’m going to say this.

If you’re being accused of being a bigot because you’re a lesbian and you don’t want to have sex with someone with a penis, I will stand with you.  Nobody has the right to try and pressure you into sex because it hurts their feelings when you won’t.

If you have been raped and assaulted by men, and you value your spaces where you are vulnerable and naked for being penis free, and you’re now terrified of going into them, I will stand with you.  You’re not being unreasonable or transphobic, you’re not being unnecessarily afraid, when so much damage has been done to your mind and body to depend on spaces where that threat is removed.  You deserve that protection.  Your need to feel safe matters.  We have divided vulnerable spaces by sex for a reason, and your right to feel safe is one of them.

If you have watched the fight of women throughout history to erase the idea that a woman’s brain is different to a man’s, and see that work being erased by those around you in the name of progress, and feel sick about it, I will stand with you.  A woman’s brain being different has been used as an excuse to prevent us from attaining positions of power and responsibility, kept us from the vote and from voicing our thoughts publicly without being called hysterical, and we’ve finally started to erase that notion.  Now it’s coming back into acceptance what damage will it do?

If you have seen men who are raised male, lived as men, and received all the societal privileges of being men, suddenly putting on a wig and a dress and telling you that you’re wrong about your feminism for not accepting them as exactly the same as you without question, and you want to scream in frustration, I will stand with you.  You have the right to question them, the right to point out the flaws to this argument.  The right to say “No, Caitlyn Jenner, the hardest part of being a woman is NOT choosing what to wear.”

If you are watching your sisters around you reject your feelings, your fears, and prioritise those of men and you want to cry, I will stand with you.  If you’ve been threatened and abused for not bowing down to the commands of male voices demanding access to your entire identity without question, I will stand with you.

 

Questioning this movement does not make you a TERF.  Demanding your feelings are respected does not make you a TERF.  Prioritising your sex above their gender does not make you a TERF.

We should question; our safety and sense of self is being put aside for people based on what?  Explain it.  Explain what it is to be a woman and how you can identify as one.  That question shouldn’t even have to be asked.  We should demand respect, we have fought for centuries to get it and we deserve it.  If you’re forced to accept self identification without question that is giving women no respect.

I will stand with you if you’ve ever been called a TERF because you’ve not stepped down and accepted whatever  you’ve been told without question, because that’s what a woman’s duty is.  I will stand with you.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Carrie

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

2016 has been the year of celebrity deaths and it’s now at a point where we’re not shocked as more and more actors, singers and authors pass away far too early.  People say we shouldn’t mourn celebrity deaths as “real” people are dying and leaving sadness in their wake all the time and celebrity deaths don’t deserve any more attention than any other strangers’ passing.  But they’re not just strangers and the grief we feel is real.

For some David Bowie was the immortal Jareth and his presence was felt in life as much as his absence in death.  For some Alan Rickman is always going to be missed.  For my friend Kylie the loss of George Michael has broken her heart.  All these feelings of sadness are genuine and valid, and the pain we feel when someone who means something to us, for whatever reason, should be respected.

For me the celebrity death that has brought out such despair is Carrie Fisher.

Even writing this I feel such sorrow I could cry, though it would confuse and trouble my daughter so much that I’m holding it in.

Why Carrie?

I’m not the hugest Star Wars fan in the world.  I’m a fan, I adore Leia, I’ve seen the movies several times and been to the One Man Star Wars Show (hysterically funny and very clever if it comes to a theatre near you).  But there are certainly bigger fans than me, including me step son Z.

But still.  Carrie.

It’s not all about Leia, though she was an amazing character.  A female role model, strong, smart, fearless in a very male dominated franchise and genre.  She never went to the dark side despite being surrounded by men who succumbed.  She was a warrior.  She beat the shit out of the monster who enslaved her and went on to become a general leading rebel troops.

People keep using the image of her chained up at Jabba The Hut’s feet in her gold bikini to memorialise her and it’s pissing me right off.  Sure the scene is iconic but Carrie Fisher and Leia were both more than that scene.  They were both worth more than being remembered as a sex slave.  She choked the monster who enslaved her with her own chains for fuck’s sake!  Use that image!  Use her freeing herself with strength and courage not sitting at the monster’s feet!  Use images of her as General Organa, that would be even better.  But as a chained woman?  She was a badass.  You’re doing her a disservice purely for the titillation of men who get off on women being dominated.

Indeed, she said herself to Daisy Ridley, “Don’t be a slave like I was…You keep fighting against that slave outfit.”  She would never have wanted to be remembered that way.  Leia was worth more.  Carrie was worth more.

Carrie herself is why I grieve.  She is the woman the world has lost.

Carrie Fisher spoke openly about her mental health.  She had no shame and spoke with pride about how she coped.

“At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.”

She made it okay to be mentally ill and she made everyone understand how impressive it is to cope.  Even now when people talk to me about how weak they feel for struggling, I remind them how badass they are for surviving.  How proud they should be. How strong they are.  Carrie knew that.  Carrie told the world.

She spoke against body shaming and the way women are treated.  Obligated to be young and beautiful forever to entertain the men.

“Am I obliged to entertain you with my appearance?” she asked.

“What I didn’t realize, back when I was this 25-year-old pinup for geeks… was that I had signed an invisible contract to stay looking the exact same way for the next 30 to 40 years. Well, clearly I’ve broken that contract.”

It is okay to age and Carrie knew that and fought against those who tried to shame her for it.  In a world, and industry, where women aren’t allowed to age at the same rate as their male counterparts, Carrie gave zero fucks and encouraged us all to do the same.

Carrie was an outspoken pissed off feminist in a way I aspire to.  I am still too apologetic.  I am still too anxious about offending.  I want to be Carrie.  Carrie said it how it is without apology.  She was bold.  She was strong.  She was what I wish I was strong enough to be.

Another of my aspirations is to be a best selling author.  She wrote fiction and non fiction, she wrote plays and screen plays.  She was a highly respected script doctor.   She was a respected best seller in a field I long to be successful and respected in.  She was a master of the written word in a way I aspire to be.

Carrie Fisher has died.  A woman I admire, who inspires me, whom I aspire to be.  A woman who was strong, brave, smart, phenomenal.

My gaping celebrity wound of 2016 is Carrie Fisher.

I truly believed she’d make it.  When news of her cardiac arrest hit I said no.  She will pull through and we can start 2017 knowing she is still here.  That good can come from fear.  That the world isn’t doomed.

Now we enter saying goodbye to some amazing people and characters, and looking ahead to a Trump presidency.  And that could mean we lose even more people and 2018 will start even gloomier.

Good luck world.  Goodbye Carrie.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!