Far be it from me –

Strictly Politically

A number of us recently co-identifed as sharing very serious concerns about the continuing nightmarishly high levels of female genital mutilation (FGM or ‘cutting’) in the UK.  We therefore set about lobbying as citizens to ensure everything possible is done to bring this unthinkably grim child abuse to a halt.

The decision was made to set up an e-petition on the H.M. Government website, a website where signatories must indicate whether they are British citizens / residents – which factor we judged important, given that our demand is in effect that enough UK taxes be allocated to eradicate fully the practice of FGM in Britain. The wording of our e-petition was very carefully considered, and we also checked thoroughly that it did not duplicate any other petition on the website.

Imagine therefore our dismay that the petition has now been rejected with no apparently coherent explanation.

Is this a case, as some have suggested, of…

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Guest Post By Abigal Muchecheti – Married To A Devil

Married To A Devil  by Abigal Muchecheti

Married To A Devil is a book based on a true story.  The book explores the challenges of not only being a woman in a culture that is so patriarchal but the challenges both mentally and physically of being a disabled woman in such a society.

The protagonist moves from one form of abuse to another, from ridicule, rape and sexual violence and abuse as she grew up.  She got married to the very man who raped  her and lived in a four year hell of a marriage.  She lived in constant fear of contracting HIV/AIDS and when the marriage was finally over,  she was courageous enough to face her demons- going for tests.

Hers was a struggle and was never easy but Vimbai persevered and never gave up on life. The book raises issues that apply to many women across the globe and proves that there is always light at the end of the tunnel and we should not give up.

Being disabled was a struggle on its own and Vimbai managed to rise above it. Nothing though had prepared her for the horrors of the abusive marriage. Further to the stigma associated with being disabled she also had to stand strong against a society that thought because of her disability she was a witch and would therefore not stay last in a marriage.

She could have stayed in the abusive relationship just to fit in the society but Vimbai had to leave. She realised that once a person was an abuser, they always would be. With head held high, she walked away from the violence and the life full of sexually transmitted diseases. She had done it-the inevitable- a divorced disabled woman but she knew life had to go on.

Despite the humiliating reaction to  her disability from the villagers, she decided to work alongside the medical team to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS despite the psychological effects of all  she had gone through.

To the village Vimbai was a survivor and had proved that disability is not inability.

Enjoy the story that gives hope and inspiration for those in difficult situation. Here is the link: http://www.chipmunkapublishing.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2172 uk/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2172

Abigal Muchecheti’s blog:  exquisitelady.blogspot.com

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Ignite Your Life Though Action

The post about anti psychotics has rightfully created some controversy. These medications have and always will attract controversy, especially about the amounts and situations they are prescribed in.

The concern is that many professionals in the mental health arena take for granted the truth of pharma company advertising presented to them by the companies sales reps. It is most certainly the easier, quicker way out, rather than looking what is underneath the glossy brochures.

Thankfully there have been and always will be mental health professionals who look deeper and who are interested to give their patients save treatments. For instance, I am looking forward to a talk on ‘Subconscious Freedom’ a therapeutic tool developed by a Psychiatrist!

It was during my time as a research coordinator that I had the good fortune to be introduced into the deeper realms of pharmaceutical research. This in particular has prompted me to look…

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Guest Post By The Orchid Project – Female Genital Mutilation – Open Letter To Health Care Professionals

There is a link below to an open letter, signed by the Chief Medical Officer, the Director of Nursing and the Royal Colleges and sent to all health care professionals, following recent media coverage about FGC. It makes interesting reading – we have been saying for some time that the guidelines around FGC need to be more widely publicised.

Please disseminate widely to your own networks of health professionals including nurses, midwives, GPs, social workers – anyone you can think of.

To be honest, none of it is “rocket science” – what the letter does is bring attention to the fact that the issue is happening in the UK and that health workers have a duty to ask questions and particularly act to safeguard those at risk:

It is important that professionals do not let the fear of being branded “racist” or discriminatory weaken the protection required by vulnerable girls or women.

We think it’s important also that health care workers understand that FGC happens in diverse geographical areas – don’t forget that 91% of Egyptian women go through FGM but also girls in regions like Indonesia, Malaysia, Kurdistan, parts of India and Pakistan – this is not just a sub-saharan African issue.

In many developing countries, medical workers may be the ones carrying out FGM – the global figure is that 18% of all cases are done “medically” – let’s not make the UK one of these countries.

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Cameron won’t connect with voters with his insults and manner


Today, David Cameron had to withdraw the word “idiot” in the House of Commons. His outburst at Ed Balls will do the Prime Minister no favours as he attempts to woo voters and change the image of the Conservative Party.

But gaffes are becoming a habit for David Cameron.

In October last year, the Prime Minister apologised to women for sexist comments after he told Labour’s Angela Eagle to “calm down dear” – again during a heated encounter at Prime Minister’s Questions. He was also forced to apologise to Nadine Dorries after failing to answer one of her questions properly and appearing to mockingly laugh at his fellow Conservative MP during PMQ’s.

Earlier this year, Cameron had to apologise when Ed Balls again was his target. The PM angered people with Tourett’s Syndrome and campaigners when he said “it’s like having someone with Tourette’s permanently sitting opposite you” about the…

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Guest Post By Denise Fletcher – Exploring The World Of Art

In a world gone awry, art can become a welcome release from your troubles and is a very important part of healing from trauma. Art is both fun and relaxing and a great stress reliever. Art can be utilized as a method not only to express your deepest thoughts and feelings, but as a tool to get to know yourself better and to discover your hidden talents. Create art for art’s sake. Art does not always have to be for public consumption, competition or for material gain. Art should definitely not be used as a way for others to analyze your psyche. If your art is very personal, it may be best to use discretion and share it only with trusted friends or family. Ask others you know for their personal perspectives on art, but do not let them discourage you from exploring new modes of personal expression. Make it your goal to try your hand at something new and different that you’ve never done before.

When determining what types of art that you would like to pursue, you may consider exploring the world of art by visiting your local community center or art gallery. Take a good look around your community to get a sense of where your interests may lie. Art takes many forms, such as sculptures in the park, flower gardens, rock formations, and paintings, drawings or photos hanging on the walls of Churches, libraries or local restaurants. Other valuable resources for various ideas are craft and fabric stores, bookstores, or art supply stores. Taking a walk in the woods or walking along the beach will stir your imagination and may bring out the collector in you. Shells, rocks, petrified wood and other assorted nature items are great resources for craft projects like mobiles or collages. The more you observe your environment, the more you will become attuned to the many art forms available to you. Even baking cakes or cookies can become an art form!

It is always helpful to take a class to learn a new skill and art is no exception. There are many opportunities for classes through art centers, community colleges, or even at craft stores, depending on the level of your interest and skill. If finances are a problem, then consider checking out art books or video tapes at the nearest library. There are innumerable experts who have written how-to books on many different art forms, such as jewelry, woodworking, quilting, computer graphics, etc. You can learn almost anything you want to know in self-help books. If you live in a large city, there are large Institutes of Art which are open to the public where you can tour exhibits by world-renowned artists. These displays change with the seasons and are full of amazing works of art that bring fresh ideas no matter how many times you visit.

Find a relaxed atmosphere such as a coffee shop or reading room and bring a spiral notebook or journal with you to jot down notes. Challenge yourself to write a short poem or song on something that is of value to you. Give yourself some personal time to reflect on your creative goals.

Contemplate such questions as:

What types of art do I like most? Least?
What methods of art would I like to learn?
What is my primary interest? Secondary?
What subjects would I like to concentrate on most? Least?
What points do I want to convey?
What is the best way to express a particular point?
What motivates me to create art the most? Least?
What are my future goals?

Write your own questions related to art and write down your answers in your notebook. Your questions and answers will change over time. Keeping an art journal is a good way to measure your progress. If you are proficient in a particular skill which you would like to share, you may consider teaching a class or volunteering with a non-profit agency which specializes in the healing arts. My challenge to you is to embrace your inner child by doing any creative activity which brings you joy and which helps you to focus on the present moment.

Denise Fletcher is the author of “A Thread of Hope” available through Chipmunka Publishing.

Read more: http://www.arttherapyblog.com/mental-health/mental-health-and-art-getting-started/#ixzz1vTxICbf9

 By Denise Fletcher © 2012

 About the Author: Denise Fletcher is a freelance writer/artist. She finds healing in the arts and writing is her passion. Her creative works have been published through Kaleidoscope, Hopekeeper’s Magazine, Open Minds Quarterly, Bloomington Art Center and other numerous venues. She is the author of “A Thread of Hope” and her latest book, “A House With A Broken Heart” is available for sale on Amazon for Kindle.

Visit the book blog at: www.ahousewithabrokenheart.wordpress.com


Don’t Mind Me

Don’t Mind Me by Judith Haire (Chipmunkapublishing) –  the story of my dysfunctional childhood and teenage depression;  my abusive first marriage and experience of rape and domestic violence.  My terrifying descent into psychosis, my experience of electro convulsive therapy (ECT) and my recovery.   I wrote this book to help others as well as myself and to inform mental health professionals and anyone wanting to gain an insight into mental illness.


Updated Bibliography of First Person Narratives of Madness Now Available

Updated Bibliography of First Person Narratives of Madness Now Available.

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My Freedom ROCKS! Emotional Healing and Self Love

My Freedom ROCKS! Emotional Healing and Self Love.

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Please share this and if you use twitter the hashtag is #NoFGM. Please contact your MP too.

Hilary Burrage

Estimates suggest more than 50 small children in Britain are at risk of, or suffer, the grim cruelty of FGM every day.  It leaves deep scars, physically and mentally, and it maims and kills.  How much more pain must be inflicted on girls and babies before this practice is stopped? Who will accept responsibility for halting the horrors of FGM?
Will only a full moral panic about scandals of professional ‘failure to care’ bring the barbarism of FGM to an end?

Please sign and forward this e-petition (for UK citizens), posted 25 June 2012 on the HM Government website:

STOP Female Genital Mutilation (FGM / ‘cutting’) in Britain

If you have a Twitter account and would like to draw more attention to this issue, please use the hashtag   #NoFGM  and follow  @NoFGM1.  Thank you.

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