|Arlene Bailey, ''Rage of a Woman''|
“I Am Woman Hear Me Roar.” -Helen Reddy
Rape is red, blue and black.
Red is blood. Blue is bruises. Black is trauma.
Red is the menstrual Muladhara, a downward cleansing tide of energy that connects the ‘blood root of existence’ to Mother Earth. Mula ‘root’ and dhara ‘in flow’ are primordial, intelligent, purifying actions – completed by the moon. Muladhara flows down to Gaia and up to Divine Female Cosmic Power. To violate this sanctum is the ultimate act of savagery, upon the survivor, the Goddess and the creative force of life itself.
Blue is shock. It is the liminal, safe space above the body, where the soul escapes to, when the body-mind freezes and pain can no longer be endured. Just as bruises fade, blue cedes to the violet of cosmic ‘knowing’. Trauma unleashes a state of hyper awareness. Learning to surf this wave unlocks boundless vaults of intuition and clarity. A healed survivor can never be fooled.
Black is the abyss. Dissociation. Disconnect. Chaos. A coffin- shaped space of grief and mourning. Black is damage and flashbacks. The cosmic void. The place of death, internal battles, self-loathing, renewal, recovery, resolve and magic. The womb of time where the immense and terrifying forces of destruction and creation reside.
When a daughter is raped, her mother is reminded of her own rape. When Red becomes Rage it is Raw, as raw as the welts lacerating Boudicca’s flesh, from her public whipping. Boudicca’s story is about harnessing the molten menstrual larva of Red Rage as it heaves, in response to the attack upon her daughters, like vomit, out of every orifice.
When Catus Decianus seized Boudicca’s land, he threw her daughters, Isolda and Siora, to the slaves and soldiers, as if he was throwing meat to a dog. This was a Roman rape, in the tradition of the spectacle of the Colosseum, where lions are slaughtered and gladiators fight for survival before a salacious crowd, frenzied with blood-lust. Violence for gratuitous violence sake. It was a trophy rape, of hierarchy, nationalism and public humiliation, where slaves and soldiers, fight for their master’s scraps.
It was a political rape, a culture clash, between the extreme patriarchy of the conquerors and the matrifocal values of the colonised. It was Rome telling Briton, her Warrior Women had no voice. No more decision making, owning land or inheriting titles. It was the ultimate form of power and control, silencing ALL women.
In Rome there were good women and there were bad women – madonnas and whores. Good women were good mothers – defined by the values of the Roman male. Other behaviours were viewed as stepping out of line.
Isolda and Siora were no more than twelve when they were attacked and Boudicca was forced to watch.
What sort of sick regime brutalises the vulnerable like this? How do a mother and child recover from such sadism?
Fight is Red. Flight is Blue. Freeze is Black. The Fight, Flight, Freeze mechanism can kick in so violently, it cripples the survivor, possibly for years. Confusion. Anxiety. Numbness. Disconnect. Goodbye feeling safe. Hello bouts of shame, flashbacks and complex trauma. Victims and witnesses of violence need prompt physical and psychological care. There can be no rights or wrongs in recovery. It is a personal journey.
-An excerpt of a longer paper in our upcoming anthology, In Defiance of Oppression -The Legacy of Boudicca
Goldsmiths: BA Hons Fine Art.
Main Employment: Journalist and Creative, UK and overseas.
Artist: Most notable group show; Pillow Talk at the Tate Modern. Included in the Pillow Talk Book.
Curator: 3 x grass roots SLWA exhibitions and educational events on the subject of Female Empowerment, showcasing female artists, academic speeches and local musicians. Silence Is Over – Raising awareness on violence towards women; Ex Voto – Existential Mexican Art Therapy; Heo – Female empowerment in the self-portrait.
Extra study: Suppressed Female History: History of the Goddess; Accessing Creative Wisdom; Sound and Breath Work; Reiki Master; Colour Therapy; Hand Mudras; Reflexology; Sculpture.
Teaching Workshops: Sculpture and Drawing.