The abused child is isolated from other family members as well as from the wider social world. She perceives daily, not only that the most powerful adult in her intimate world is dangerous to her, but also that the other adults who are responsible for her care do not protect her. The reasons for this protective failure are in some sense immaterial to the child victim, who experiences it at best as a sign of indifference and at worst as complicit betrayal. From the child’s point of view, the parent disarmed by secrecy should have known; if she cared enough, she would have found out. The parent disarmed by intimidation should have intervened; if she cared enough, she would have fought. The child feels that she has been abandoned to her fate, and this abandonment is often resented more keenly than the abuse itself.
Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery, pages 100-101.
I have more convulsions as my body acts out other scenarios, sometimes springing from nightmares, leaving my throat ulcerated and my stomach nauseated. So powerful are these contractions that sometimes I feel as if I were struggling for breath against a slimy lichen clinging to my chest, invoking thoughts of the incubus who, in medieval folklore, raped sleeping women who then gave birth to demons. In a more superstitious society, I might have been diagnosed as a child possessed by the devil. What, in fact, I had been possessed by was daddy’s forked instrument - the devil in man.
Sylvia Fraser, My Father’s House: A Memoir of Incest and of Healing (1987), pages 222-223.
If there is one major religion in the world that is unambiguously identified as having a political agenda, then it is Islam. For most people who are not Muslim this is seen as very disturbing, not least because of mass media. The truth is that all religions are also the product of socio-political dynamics, both in their origins and in the way they continue to find an expression in everyday life. Furthermore, if politics is really about the access to and exercise of power, then there is precious little in human relationships void of politics. Some of the problems involved in these power dynamics at a personal, organizational and socio-political level are explored in this chapter. The first section deals with the inalienable relationship between Islam and politics and the importance of de-linking this from the more sensational, but exclusivist and intolerant, political expressions of this relationship. At the other end of the more visible Muslim spectrum is the very strong tendency towards the notion of personal salvation as the way to transform the world. “Do your personal religious duty to Allah and then He’ll sort out the world.” These folks hardly realize that the socio-political roles they play in their daily lives are also contributing to either entrenching the problems of the world or transforming it in to a more humane one. This problem, the limitations and even danger of an apolitical religiosity, is dealt with in the second section.