Saturday, December 2, 2017

Rape is About Sex and Sex is Power: Stop Saying It Isn’t!

Danae and the Shower of Gold Coins

Titian, 1544-45

At its best, sex is the ultimate power of loving and being loved in return. Lover and Beloved. This powerful force makes the world go round: people fall in love, get married, have children, cook, eat, work, play, travel, make art not war, and enjoy life.

Any upset to that serene balance of lover and beloved and we have rape, sexual assault, sexual molestation, sexual harassment and a myriad of other disturbing crimes, many of which are in the news now.

I have more than earned my right to speak. #notokay, #metoo are both absurd understatements compared to what happened to me. My real father put his dick in my mouth when I was 3 and my mother caught him. She wanted to commit suicide after first killing me. I don’t blame her. Her life was ruined. My father went on to abuse me for years starting again at age 11 when I was cognizant of what was happening, but still too young to know for sure that what Daddy was doing was wrong. I had the vague notion that I was cheating on my mother with her boyfriend. (It’s all in Holy Days.)

Those episodes were just the beginning of a lifetime of the kind of sexual harassment and assault that most women face every day. Boys “feeling me up” in school and on field trips: men, on a daily basis, since I was 12 years old, stopping their cars, opening the passenger door and asking me if I wanted a ride (I could have been murdered hundreds of times.); men pinching my ass on the street; men making comments on my breasts; men ogling me and grinning lasciviously; men harassing me while I put coins in the parking meter. I could go on. Men asking me to smile actually made me smile; it seemed friendly and funny compared to the trauma I’d gone through, though I can understand how some women might find it annoying or even threatening. It wasn’t until I moved to the quiet town I live in now that I could cross the street unmolested. I still remember the first time I stepped out of the car on the busy main street and walked to the coffee shop and not one man leaned out of his car window and hollered at me. Wow.

There have been professions I did not enter for of fear of being molested or sexually and professionally bullied – and, from the reports I’m hearing now, I was right.

I speak from experience. Long experience. I can tell you, as a victim, I do not appreciate it when I hear therapists and other so-called experts telling victims, “Rape is about power, not about sex.”


Rape is absolutely about sex and sex is about power.

Sex is power. Think about how powerful you feel when you are looking sexually attractive. Think about what powerful men want to show off their wealth and power – a beautiful woman. What is the most powerful image in advertising? Sex. (Although, Death runs a close second.) What made you stop and look at this article? A bare breast.

Rape is about sex and sex is power. That’s why every rape victim feels powerless. Every victim is sexually damaged. That’s why victims have to re-learn their sexuality. This is especially true of victims of childhood abuse in which the abuse is their first sexual experience. Victims of child abuse must take that first experience forth into their lives, whether they want to or not, as the definition of sex. In fact, I’m willing to bet, for most, that first sexual experience becomes a deep, sexual identity to which they respond sexually from that day forward. It was like that for me. Of course, as I got older, I discovered other things that turned me on, but that first experience has been seared on my brain and sexuality.

Saying rape is about power, not about sex is a disservice to victims. Oh, sure, it’s a nice catch phrase and it probably helps victims for the first few seconds. But, then, the doubts creep in. “But, what about the way I feel when…” “But, why do I have trouble trusting a man?” “But, why do I feel so guilty? And dirty?” “Why would I rather not have sex at all than deal with any of it?”

Do I have a solution? Yes, get rid of guilt. Guilt is more bullshit. The only thing to ever feel guilty about is hurting another person or yourself. And, your guilt is hurting you. Drop it.

I’m glad about what’s happening now. Women are being taken seriously. Women are being believed. And society is responding with justice. Hopefully.

I am especially happy for the children. At least, I have hopes in that direction. A few adult men have come forward to say they were abused as child actors in Hollywood. Actor, Anthony Edwards. Michael Reagan, son of Ronald Reagan. Corey Feldman, Hollywood actor famous for his roles in “Bad News Bears” and “Stand By Me,” who has been screaming for decades about rampant sexual abuse by Hollywood producers, is finally being believed. I do wish he would take this opportunity while the tide is turning to speak up now and name names. I wish he would not wait to raise the $10 million he needs to make the kind of film he wants to make – or I wish someone would help him make his film, like in a Disney movie, magically, I wish a good man or woman would appear and help Corey reveal the truth. Not much can be done until these pedophiles are named and arrested. At the very least, and it's a lot, parents can stop lying to themselves about what’s going on in Hollywood and protect their children.

Children are out there even as I write, suffering. I hope they will be helped by the changes to come. I hope. But, the children seem to be the last to be heard. There is an International Sex Slavery system and if you don’t believe it, you are naïve. Hollywood is just a part of it. The Catholic Church is just a part of it. Every so often, there is a purge. It happened recently after a series of articles in The Daily Beast about the situation of children being used for sex. What usually happens is, the old are weeded out. One man is revealed to be a molester. His friends and cronies drop him like a hot potato, and, after a few months or so, he dies. That’s usually the pattern. It’s been the pattern for the international child abuse ring since time immemorial, since Caligula’s uncle used to throw little slave boys over the cliff when he was done with them, up till the present day, when care homes, like Boys Town; homeless kids and Hollywood child actors, are harvested for victims. One man said, in the film An Open Secret (not available at this time, but here's the trailer), about Hollywood child sex abuse, “that’s the way it’s always been!”

I’m happy for the actresses who, hopefully, no longer have to worry about the casting couch. I’ve watched them demure in interviews for years, saying, “Well, I’ve heard of the casting couch, of course, but I’ve never actually experienced it myself.” Now, they are finally talking. But I worry about the hotel workers, office cleaners, nurses, waitresses, farm workers, factory workers, big store clerks, small store clerks, late nights at McDonald’s, late nights coming home from the mall or the hospital or the office.

I’m hoping the justice we’re seeing now will translate into a deterrent in the future. Maybe that guy with a hard-on will think twice before “expressing himself” (what a man I know called sexual abuse) by violating another person. Senator Elizabeth Warren, in a recent interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, said, “…When the jerk over in accounting decides that pressing up against women who are caught at the coping machine might not be smart. When the boss decides telling those dirty jokes and talking about whose got great boobs and a killer ass, that he’d better re-think his management strategy, when that sort of thing happens for women all across this country, then we’ll know there’s been real change.”

But, really, I want to quote the Great Master of Horror, Stephen King - “I know they say that a stiff dick has no conscience, but I tell you now that some cunts have teeth…” By the way, the Indie film "Teeth" is available to watch now on Netflix.

Sex is power.

In Holy Days, my heroine, Gloria muses that every girl should get a pink gun at birth with five legal shots. Gloria decides that since men would never know how many legal shots were left in that gun, they’d have to behave themselves.

Sex is power.

©Patricia Goodwin, 2017

Patricia Goodwin is the author of When Two Women Die, about Marblehead legends and true crime and its sequel, Dreamwater, about the Salem witch trials and the vicious 11-year-old pirate Ned Low. Holy Days is her third novel, about the sexual, psychological seduction of Gloria Wisher and her subsequent transformation. Her newest book is Telling Time By Apples, And Other Poems About Life On The Remnants of Olde Humphrey Farme, illustrated by the author. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Salvator Mundi – Savior of the World – Yin and Yang

Salvator Mundi, Savior of the World
by Leonardo Da Vinci

This year, on November 15, Christie’s will offer Leonardo DaVinci’s lost painting, Salvator Mundi, Savior of the World, at auction. This enigmatic work of art has supposedly been “lost” for decades, that is, hidden, out of sight, in private collections, including that of England’s King Charles I (1600-1649); it disappeared (from 1763 to 1900), was purchased in 1958 for 45 pounds, and disappeared again until its dramatic unveiling by Christie’s in 2011.

That must have been when I saw it for the first time. One look and I ran from it. I covered my eyes and ran away.

Why? My initial impression, and it’s rather a burden, but every one of my first impressions have been spot on, my first impression was that I was looking at Jesus in a dress.

I still think so. Bear with me. I don’t think the artist meant it literally, though, clearly, to me, at least, the neckline is low, there is a suggestion of slight cleavage in the chest. The clothing is rich and richly decorated; Da Vinci used the luxurious lapis lazuli for Christ’s heavenly robes which are very much a departure from the simple cloth in which Jesus is usually depicted. And he is wearing two jewels in the center of his chest. Not typical for Christ but very Renaissance. These jewels seem to take on a deeper mystery, as though we could look into their depths and discover some truth. The Salvator Mundi was painted around the same time as The Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa has long been considered by some to be androgynous, and to be smiling at some secret shared with the artist.

We know that Da Vinci was what I like to call a Magdalena, that is, a member of the Priory of Sion, who believed in the idea that Jesus had not been celibate as the Catholic Church proclaims, but had married his apostle, Mary Magdalene and together they’d had a child, a daughter, Sarah, who continued the Sang Réal, or Royal Bloodline. The hexagon embroidery along Christ’s robe could be considered the Magdalena Rose or the Flower of Life in a continuous line, like the Bloodline itself, or, like some ancient replication of a human DNA strand, making Jesus truly the giver of life.

Did Da Vinci also paint the Salvator Mundi as a joining of the masculine and feminine forces of nature? Yin and yang?

Jesus taught yin and yang. He said, “If they ask you, ‘What is the sign of your Father in you?’ say to them, ‘It is a movement and a rest.’”

Regarding how to enter and live in the Infinite Universe, Jesus said to his disciples, “When you make the two one, and when you make the inner as the outer and the outer s the inner and the above as below, and when you make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male will not be male and the female not be female (as in the Salvator Mundi which joins male and female), when you make an eye in the place of an eye, and a hand in the place of a hand, and a foot in the place of a foot, and an image in the place of an image, then shall you enter the Kingdom.”

In our modern words, Jesus was saying that when his disciple could change yin into yang and yang into yin, and achieve harmony and balance through the unification of both, then they could live in health, freedom and happiness.

An understanding of yin and yang can truly bring salvation to the world. How? As a macrobiotic person, I use yin and yang every day to keep healthy. The world may achieve salvation through health because healthy people do not want to destroy anything or make war.

How does yin and yang work? Energy moves in two ways: spiraling inward, yang; spiraling outward, yin. By controlling the balance of these two energies in the body, we can maintain or achieve health. The yin/yang symbol shows us the movements of this energy. Yin and yang complete the circle. Yin is always trying to become yang. Yang is always trying to become yin. This movement is shown by the tiny dot within each section. Within yin is always some yang. Within yang, a tiny bit of yin. Together, they achieve balance. The Infinite Universe.

In the Salvator Mundi, DaVinci paints Jesus holding a crystal globe, representing the world, in his left hand. DaVinci scholar, Martin Kemp noted, “The Saviour literally holds the well-being of the world and its inhabitants in the palm of his hand.” Gods, both Christian and pagan, have throughout time held an orb in their hand as a symbol of their power and control over the world. However, we can clearly see a line dividing this orb into two parts, along the curve of his robe, yin and yang. Christ holds the ultimate power of yin and yang in his hand and he is offering this knowledge to the world.

According to Christie’s article about the painting, “Christ’s orb is an emblem of kingship as well as a symbol of the world itself…the tiny specks and inclusions that Leonardo has painstakingly reproduced in the orb indicate that it is meant to be made of rock crystal, the purest form of quartz, and widely believed in the Renaissance to possess formidable magical powers. Rock crystals cut in Antiquity had been set into reliquaries since the Middle Ages, giving the stone sacred associations. Therefore, the very substance of the globe, as well as the perfection of its regular and continuous spherical form, endows it with a nearly miraculous essence. “

We now know that crystal can hold information – the Superman crystal, so named after the crystals of knowledge in the movie Superman - a realized modern incarnation of the so-called mythical crystal ball that “tells all.” Crystal fascinated Da Vinci as a substance light could pass through without altering – “diaphanous bodies like glass or crystal produce the ‘same effect as though nothing intervened between the shaded object and the light that falls upon it.” The light, in this case, seems to emanate from the palm of Jesus. He holds the world and the light.

Jesus, especially as adopted by the hippie movement, has often been represented as a gentle, almost effeminate entity. Jesus taught Love. He has always had long, wavy hair. In this painting, I think his curls refer once again to spirals of energy. His lighted right hand, blessing us, is extended, almost three dimensionally, reaching toward us. He does not have a halo. The light comes from him as it does from healthy people. I used to call it the “macro glow,” but it is really the glow of life, the power of our pulsing blood, and his. We know from the Shroud of Turin that Jesus was a perfectly proportioned, balanced human form, unlike the rest of us who are unevenly proportioned all over. His physical balance, coupled with eating and living simply, would have just about sealed his health and spiritual perfection.

Jesus most certainly, by his presence, must have projected a powerful energy. The power of this painting cannot be denied. Christ’s gentle, lighted face emerges from the darkness with an almost mesmerizing intensity, not a challenge, but a communication, a grip, a lock on us. We feel – I felt – the artist communicating with me through time, telling me everything all at once in a way only a painting can.

This time, I became immobilized. Yes! was all I could say. Yes!

©Patricia Goodwin, 2017

Patricia Goodwin is the author of When Two Women Die, about Marblehead legends and true crime and its sequel, Dreamwater, about the Salem witch trials and the vicious 11-year-old pirate Ned Low. Holy Days is her third novel, about the sexual, psychological seduction of Gloria Wisher and her subsequent transformation. Her newest book is Telling Time By Apples, And Other Poems About Life On The Remnants of Olde Humphrey Farme, illustrated by the author.