Dear West Dumbartonshire Council… (Guest Post By Jane McDoe)

This letter comes to you in response to the campaign by Scottish Women’s Aid to challenge proposed cuts to funding for specialise support services for women and children at both Dumbarton District Women’s Aid and Clydebank Women’s Aid. As a former child resident of Clydebank and a survivor of domestic/child abuse I thought I would share my own story with you in the hope that you would come to a better understanding of why these services are so vital and what can go wrong when vulnerable women and children are failed.

I was born in Drumchapel in the 1970’s, not the ‘old’ bit that the estate agents try to pretend is part of Drumchapel and is in fact Knightswood, by the water tower. The water tower is significant to me because you can see it for miles across Glasgow, a marker of where my life began.

As I understand it by the time I was born my mother, having already had my two siblings in a previous marriage, had been unwell for a a few years. She was diagnosed with Puerperal Psychosis, a severe post-natal mental illness. I don’t know if she was diagnosed after my siblings birth or my birth but I do know she was advised not to have another child under any circumstances before I was conceived and that her health deteriorated further after my birth. If you say Puerperal in a Glaswegian accent it sounds like pure peril and for my mother that’s exactly what it was, not just because of her illness but because of my Father.

My eldest sibling remembers the early violence best. Years later she described to me one incident where she had been alone in our room one day when he just walked in and started beating her up and throwing her about. She didn’t know why it happened, he was ‘just angry’. She also described our mother regularly experiencing the same kind of violence and the police taking him away only to bring him back again the next morning like nothing had happened, something that my sibling couldn’t understand at the time. The fear of reprisals for pressing charges and the emotional blackmail was too great for our mother. But violence wasn’t the only problem. Puerperal Psychosis is treatable with anti-psychotic drugs. It’s very important that the course of medicine is prescribed alongside continued support from mental health specialists and most importantly immediate family members, partners in particular. In our mother’s case not only was she subjected to sustained episodes of violence, she also had to endure verbal and emotional abuse, episodes of forced confinement in her own home and often had her medicine taken away and flushed down the toilet. As a result of all this she didn’t recover.

We left Drumchapel when I was pre-school age and moved in with my grandparents, our mother’s parents, in Singer. Although this was a breath of fresh air for us the threat of violence and the emotional abuse continued and although our mother was still receiving support from family, local mental health specialists and social work her health deteriorated even further until she found it unbearable to cope with. She took her own life. She was 32.

Unfortunately it didn’t end there. After my Mother’s death my father was given custody. I was separated from my siblings and endured the same violence and abuse. Social services didn’t help, the police didn’t help. The violence and abuse continued for over twenty years right into my adulthood. In the end the only people I could turn to for help beyond my friends and immediate family were Women’s Aid.

Severe cases of Puerperal Psychosis may be rare, but stories like mine are not. These experiences are why Scottish Women’s Aid was established and since its creation in 1973 countless women and children have been saved from the danger of domestic abuse and been guided through processing the trauma they and their children experience and resettled in a new safer environment. The support Scottish Women’s Aid offer is often unrivalled and all of the services they provide are essential for making that journey from danger to safety a real possibility. But, this can only be achieved through regular funding for all services. Services I still access now because there is no quick fix when it comes to Domestic abuse, it’s a long journey.

The huge difference made by all branches of Scottish Women’s Aid cannot be counted in pounds and pence but neither can the devastating damage done to lives when there is no help at all. Therefore, as a survivor and as a feminist I ask you to please continue funding all specialist services to both Dumbarton District and Clydebank branches of Women’s Aid and and support continued funding all over Scotland.



Loki’s Top 5 Most Influenza Scots 2014

“I would like to dedicate this list to the Scottish Hip Hop community who, this year, managed to make most political artists look like vanilla V-necks designed by Vivienne Westwood.”

What I wish I’d known before giving birth

Forceps - the follow-on blog

[Following a vaginal delivery] “Some 42% of women show some symptoms of urinary incontinence, 4%-12% of women suffer from faecal incontinence. According to Thornton, “If you have a forceps delivery the chance of having faecal incontinence increases to 40% or 45%. If you have an elective caesarean you shouldn’t have any issues.”

I did not know you could be faecal incontinent following childbirth. Until it happened to me. Neither the midwives, my antenatal class teacher nor the books and websites I had read mentioned it.  This Guardian article is worth reading. I have highlighted the section that is of most interest for this blog.

‘We know the reality of childbirth’

A new report on NHS maternity care has revealed divisions between midwives and obstetricians. One of the disputes, says Bridget O’Donnell, is over the best way to give birth. While midwives, and the government, advocate natural birth, many female obstetricians…

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Statement on 2nd November at The Casa

Manky Scumbag Seamus OScumagoligan strikes again.


This statement is to clarify events surrounding the “Pack a Scrum of Solidarity” event at The Casa, Liverpool, held on 2nd November to raise funds for the family of Chelsea Manning.

AWOL is amongst the many and varied organisations that have been falsely credited with organising this action.  We were not involved as an organisation, though some of our regular attendees were aware of the planned fundraiser and the controversy surrounding its organisers.  We are making this statement because we were in a position to speak to some of the individuals who decided to take action, and we felt that somebody unconnected to the event organisers needed to clarify what took place and the reasons for it.

We have compiled this information because accounts of these events on Indymedia have been edited with a clear bias towards the organisers, members of whom are on the Indymedia editorial collective.  Consequently…

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AMAG Communique #1: What happened with Anarchist Memes?

The Expropriationist

The admins of the new page wish to make the following clear. We established the new Anarchist Memes page after being betrayed by an admin who had serious charges leveled against him but refused to accept accountability that was not on his own terms. A survivor named that admin as a serial harasser and a rape apologist. The rest of the admins were in a tailspin for a couple of days trying to figure out how to deal with these charges which (nearly) all of us took very seriously. The accused admin’s first suggestion was to unpublish the page for a few months until people forgot about the issue. The rest of the admins rejected that proposal immediately. We put forth an accountability process and at first the accused admin agreed. The accused admin offered to step away, but then did not. Repeatedly. He continued to post his defense and…

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‘Poor Must Learn to go Without’, Says err…Rupert Ponsonby, 7th Baron de Mauley

Scriptonite Daily


Conservative Environment Minister Lord De Mauley has today called on the poor to reconsider their buying habits and resist the temptation to spend more money on the latest electronic gadgets, clothes and food that they will not eat” in efforts to recapture the spirit of “make, do and mend”.  In a week that has echoed with unchecked privilege, this takes the biscuit.

Make, Do and Mend?


The current Environment Minister, Rupert Ponsonby, 7th Baron De Mauley was educated at Eton, the fees for which are currently more than £30,000 a year (more than the average UK wage). He went on to marry the daughter of Lord Fanshawe of Richmond (former Tory MP and peer), Lucinda.  He is a hereditary peer and succeeded his uncle, the 6th Baron De Mauley.  He is the proud owner of myriad farmland and property in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. It…

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The Orgasm Gap, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Clitoris.

A E I O U and sometimes Sex.


For some time now I have wanted to write a blog about sex (men, women, and other gender identities) and sex (intercourse, banging, making love, heavy petting, f***ing, masturbating, etc). Deciding on a topic for a first post was no small task: it would have to showcase how gender equality can be gainfully discussed with a sex-positive message.

Of course, I’m not the first person to take on this challenge. This blog will draw heavily on the work of others.

Indeed, the inspiration to highlight the orgasm gap front and center came while reading some poignant writing by Yashar Ali, author of The Current Conscience and an articulate advocate for gender equality. The points he raises in his article on the fake female orgasm embody the spirit of this blog.

Just read it. It’s worth your time whether you are female or male.

However, if you…

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