My Post Abuse Handbook

I think of myself as a survivor rather than a victim of sexual abuse but it was a process to reach that personal status I can tell you.

 

The complex emotions experienced by a victim are wearing to the individuals’ spirit; thinking too much about an incident can cause discomfort and distress, panic attacks, distractions, difficulty focusing on one thing. When you must return to the scene of a crime it is good to use different ways to remember details in a safe way, a way that gives you some distance from the immediacy of any trauma.

Taking someone on the journey with you is helpful. You can create the maps you will need to bring someone on the journey. What do you need a map of? Where is this map? Why would you need this map? How does this map help?

You can slow an incident down in time and place, moment by moment just the way a film plays in slow motion. If you can see three things in one place that you remember it is a great idea to draw them down, write them down.

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You can mark significant events on a calendar as signposts; birthdays, holidays, weekend activities, the movie you saw at the cinema, the drive in, the sporting event you saw, a change of style in your appearance like a haircut or needing glasses.

If you saw a movie or a band or some kind of entertainment you may as well go to the State Library and check if they have copies of the newspapers that advertised the event. I once found an exact weekend by checking the date a film played in a cinema which was very helpful.

During the process of giving evidence I realised I needed to pin point times, dates and events as closely as possible for the Police. I quickly discovered that after blocking certain things out of my mind for a long time, not dealing with them, I had made it difficult to simply recall some things.

Once I applied a few strategies of recalling things that were very helpful for me, I thought it would be useful to write these things down, make them available to other people who are dealing with the same or similar circumstances. I want to give it away, not make money out of it.

Here is an ANZ account where anyone can make a direct bank donation to my Post Abuse Handbook:

BSB: 015 354

ACCOUNT # 392747882

Please include a return email so I can send you a reward and copy of the book once produced, which, if I reach target, should be before the end of 2015.

Many thanks for any and all donations; I am due to have some surgery over the next day or so. This means I will not be posting again until the middle of next week I expect. Thanks again.

 

DPJ

 

My Post Abuse Handbook

I’ve had a gay old time at Brisbane Powerhouse

I love the Brisbane Powerhouse, it is a great venue, not least for the variety of material they have on stage. In two evenings I saw two plays…

The return season of ‘5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche’ has kicked off at the Brisbane Powerhouse; I knew very little about this show before attending. There is an American production of the play running right now stateside, and this Australian production produced by Imprint Theatricals.

The show depends on a combination of things; interactivity with the audience that smashes the fourth wall as soon as you wander into the venue, very defined characters who are ‘larger than life’ yet fully rounded and although easy to identify, these women are no gaggle of obvious cliches or stereotypes. It also depends on the audience accepting their role.

Somewhere between ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’ and ‘Dimboola’ you can find this style of loving satire. What you don’t always find with satire is the ‘love’ of the subject being lampooned, but here in the script by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood there is a lot of love. Director Nathanael Cooper and designer Sean Bryan have created a simple but effective set with some unexpected special effects and sharply stylish details.

The cast are clearly having a ball on stage with rapid scenes that sprint through various necessary insights to give us an opportunity to fit in with proceedings and be up to speed.

The overall ensemble work is so polished it is hard to tell what is improvised and what is not; off the cuff remarks and double-takes hit the mark often. Greeted at the door by the somewhat flighty Wren Robin (Lauren O’Rourke) I started smiling immediately. This is a ‘ditzy blonde American’ captured in a moment of time and drawn out with sustained hoots and sighs all through the show, but we’re not even seated in the auditorium yet, before we get to sit down we meet the other seemingly charming, fragile creatures, Vern Schultz (Lauren Jackson), Dale Prist (Bianca Zouppas) and Ginny Cadbury (Ashlee Lollback).

Time and place become clear, these are the days of “Duck and cover” the A Bomb is set to go off any day with little or no warning, unless you happen to have set up a fail safe shelter where you can weather any storm that may pass.

The last character we meet is Lulie Stanwyck (Catherine Alcorn); her name speaks volumes to the satarist in us immediately. Lulie seems like a complete Gorgon to start with, but she’s not at all, it’s just the way she rocks and rolls. After all she has just come from a very taxing task. Where this script works best is in the discovery of the unknown moments.

We here in 2015 are a savvy bunch. We have some appreciation of the American values of the 1950’s including the social expectations placed upon women; we know that women were held back after the second world war, expected to fit into a role they had long evolved beyond. When the story plays out in front of us we know this is a buffet of sorts; that these characters represent a complex world that doesn’t exist any more… but for some.

It is possible to simply sit and laugh at all the amusement; you don’t have to think about it, but if you do start to join the dots and think about the deeper meanings at play in this wonderful production you will find yourself rethinking many things.

The important thing is – 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche is really entertaining and is the only piece of theatre where 99% of the audience come out as being a lesbian (me included) with relish. Why not?

The return season in Brisbane runs until June 21. Every performance has something to savour. The ensemble work beautifully. The physical comedy knows no bounds, but hey, no spoilers here. I suggest you get along and see this quiche be consumed, you’ve never seen anything quite like it before in your life… or maybe you have?

5 Lesbians Eating A QuicheThe cast after the show

Brisbane Powerhouse season ends 21 June 2015

Sven Svenson's Tiptoe

Tiptoe by Sven Svenson

Sven is a playwright I knew little of until I started to chat to people around the Powerhouse. Incredible that he has been awarded the Premiere’s Literature Prize for drama in Queensland, yet I don’t know of him. His work is essentially centered on Queensland’s history. I only saw the first portion of Tiptoe, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for.

Simultaneously two different stories play out on opposite sides of the stage. The writing is split and stilted at times between the two scenes so you find words echoing and resonances emerging that point to further development. The first scene however, that I was closest to, concerned a couple of fellows planning a buck’s night for a sixteen year old lad about to marry his sixteen year old fiancee.

Unfortunately for me, a survivor of child sexual assault (being held down by men and raped) my internal alarms started going off pretty quickly. The chaps were clearly planning to get their mate drunk and rape him.

I understand very well how this type of behaviour has been an unspoken part of our history in Australia, and I think it is probably one of the more effectively written pieces of work about the circumstance of planned male on male rape. I myself could not continue watching the show as I was taken by surprise by the content.

I actually think I’d like to see the complete play out of the stories that Svenson has created, but I need to know that is what I’m about to see.

I know the general public are not too concerned with how a male abuse survivor copes after the abuse (even 40 years after the abuse) and I don’t intend on using this review to start banging on about that. The work was well written and compelling. Svenson has evidently created a group of plays that all intertwine and reflect on eachother. This is most like a novel series or a rambling television series played out on stage. Fascinating approach I think.

The audience have a complete experience in one evening, yet they can come to another show in a few months and discover the same characters or related characters are shifting in and out of the journey. On an academic level I find this fascinating. I suppose Shakespeare did it with the War of the Roses, different though that is.

What I liked about the production was that Ayckbourne quality. What I didn’t like was the singular playing level for the performers. The actors were extremely effective, cast in roles that are out of their actual age range they still managed to bring all the elements you would expect. The set design includes some projections and mysterious happening off in the darkest part of the stage, all good. What I found a touch distracting was the singular level everyone was working on physically. With action happening simultaneously it can feel a little like being at a tennis match and having to split focus constantly. There were moments where I think this would have worked better had the stage been multilevel; I can’t draw an overall assessment of the production before I left because I had a flashback (one of those sexual abuse survivor things that happens) and needed to leave before I started yelling at the actors; warning the victim and calling the police. Seriously.

However I’m impressed with what I saw, and I think it would be something I want to see more of, as long as I know what I’m getting myself in to.

I guess it would be odd for companies to start placing a warning sign outside a venue informing people the production contained sexual violence and rape? It would have helped me a great deal to steel my nerves, because I think I was thinking about A Manual Of Trench Warfare when I walked into the venue; first world war, homoerotic, sad play.

Tiptoe is well worth seeing I’m sure. I’m sad I missed the whole thing because I think I would have enjoyed knowing exactly what happened with the various characters and their stories.

David Paul Jobling and PM Tony Abbott in Cairns 18 June 2015
David Paul Jobling and PM Tony Abbott in Cairns 18 June 2015
I’ve had a gay old time at Brisbane Powerhouse

To start with..

My Post Abuse Handbook.

To start with..

Something bad happened to me.

I made a big effort to make it seem like the bad thing never happened.

If you are about to run a race when you accidentally twist your ankle, you may decide to pretend you are okay and still run the race. While you are running you may forget about the pain your ankle is feeling because you want your chance to win the race. As you run along ignoring this pain in your ankle the very same pain has an opportunity to divert your attention as other lasting damage is happening you do not even know about.

Something bad happened to me and I thought it was wrong when it happened. There are times when something bad happens, like the time I failed my Math test for example. It felt wrong to fail but the score of the test was not wrong.

The time something bad happened to me; when I thought it was wrong, I believed it was wrong because someone asked me to touch a part of their body we usually do not touch. When they asked me to do it I did say I thought it was a wrong thing to do, but the person assured me it was not wrong under these circumstances. Their explanation convinced me I would be right to do what I was told. I felt uncomfortable to begin with because I thought it was wrong but when I was assured it was not wrong I did what I was told.

Time passed a little way. At the time the passing feels much slower and days feel long. Months spread out for weeks and school holidays in the summer seem endless.

Something so bad happened to me; really bad, the whole thing was a secret. This was a very complicated secret that would cause a lot of problems if everybody knew. This was such a bad thing I could not tell anyone about it at all and it hurt. When it happened I decided I had to change my life and get away from the secret that was spinning like a spider’s web around me.

When this happened, before I grew up, it changed the way I thought about people. It changed the way I thought about myself. It changed the way I felt about things in a way that made me worried and cautious all the time. Feeling worried and cautious all the time can feel very poorly.

People say it is best to look on the bright side and not to dwell on the past. I took that advice from what I knew and decided it was best to forget about the bad things that happened. In time everything heals.

I made a big effort to make it seem like the bad thing never happened. The effort I made was so good I did not even know I had made it. I gave up thinking about it for a few years and I ignored the pain I was feeling.

 

To be continued…

Image by DPJ2015
Image by DPJ2015
To start with..

The Post Abuse Handbook #Crowdfunding 34 hours to go…

I think of myself as a survivor rather than a victim of sexual abuse but it was a process to reach that personal status I can tell you.

During the process of giving evidence I realised I needed to pinpoint times, dates and events as closely as possible for the Police. I quickly discovered that after blocking certain things out of my mind for a long time, not dealing with them, I had made it difficult to simply recall some things.

Once I applied a few strategies of recalling things that were very helpful for me, I thought it would be useful to write these things down, make them available to other people who are dealing with the same or similar circumstances. I want to give it away, not make money out of it.

DarkHouse1 DarkHouse2 DarkHouse3 DarkHouse4

The complex emotions of a victim are wearing to the spirit; thinking too much about an incident can cause you great discomfort and distress.

It is good to bring yourself back to places in a broader way, a way that gives you some distance from the immediacy of any traumatic event.

Think of the maps you would need to identify places. What would you need a map of? Where would you need the map of? Why would you need each map? How would each of them help?

You can break a journey down to time and place, moment by moment. You can mark significant events as signposts; birthdays, holidays, weekend activities, the movie you saw at the cinema, the drive in, the sporting event you saw, a change of style in your appearance like a haircut or needing glasses.

Here is an ANZ Bank account where anyone can make a direct donation to this project. The money raised will produce an accessible resource for people attempting to recall evidence of sexual assault:
BSB: 015 354
ACCOUNT # 392747882

Please include a return email so I can send you a reward and copy of the book once produced, which, if I reach target, should be before the end of 2015.

The Post Abuse Handbook #Crowdfunding 34 hours to go…