Deflower – Poetry and Art by Charlotte Farhan

Deflower by Charlotte Farhan

Deflower by Charlotte Farhan

The room lost light in the darkening hour,
faced with the rawness of masculinity,
sheer force of primal desire,
the need to overpower.
Purity is artificial,
confused with naivety,
acts of aggression begin,
no words spoken just acts of taking,
in a flash of violence I cower,
this is my fault – my femininity.
Parts of me were devoured,
like a wolf ripping open its prey,
no culpability,
laying on my back praying to the holy trinity.
This did happen to the wallflower,
washing my skin imagining holy water,
searching for divinity,
this was more than purification,
sobbing in this shower.
Having not lost my virginity,
it was not misplaced,
it was taken,
it is not romanticism,
they cut off heads,
they deflower,
they dis-empower.
Art and Poetry by Charlotte Farhan

 


 

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Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) Art by Charlotte Farhan

CPTSD - By Charlotte Farhan

CPTSD – By Charlotte Farhan

This piece of art is a visual representation of what it is like to live and suffer with complex post traumatic stress disorder.

Since childhood I have been repeatedly subjected to trauma, which went on into my adolescent years and then further into my adult years. As an toddler I was sexually abused by a family member, my Father suffered from alcohol induced psychosis and begun to act threatening and was a risk to myself and my Mother.

My Mother psychologically manipulated me from then until present day – through gaslighting, with emotional and narcissistic abuse. Abandoned on numerous occasions by both parents, with my Father abandoning me completely by early puberty, and my Mother leaving me to fend for myself whist she was in hospital, at the age of 12 (with only an 18 year old lodger to look in on me, who was not well themselves).

Then at 15 I experienced a violent rape by a boy in my school, causing me to have internal surgery and being put into a psychiatric hospital, where I was sexually assaulted a further 2 times by male inpatients. Abandoned once more by my Mother – whist in hospital experiencing one of the worst ordeals of my life. After leaving hospital the abuse from my mother continued, until leaving home at 17, from 17 until 26 drugs took over my life and whether illegal or prescribed a haze of denial took hold and saw reckless or complete social isolation as the two extremes I swung between.

Then at 26, upon seeing my rapist face to face I suffered a breakdown and have not fully regained control of my life since. With chronic illnesses and disabilities setting in from 28 onward, further isolation has occurred. The emotional captivity my Mother had me in was finally broken by myself last year (2015) when she asked to “have a break” as my dependency on her for help with my illnesses was too much for her, this – coming from a woman who used me as a care giver rather than raising me as a child, (as she suffers from co-morbid bipolar and BPD).

All the while stigmatised, marginalised and disenfranchised by teachers, doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, employers and the higher education system, pushing me further down with no civil rights or options. This is how I developed C-PTSD. This is a short description – an outline of events, rather than the detail of all the encompassing experiences which led to this disorder.


Here is some information on C-PTSD:

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), also known as complex trauma, is a proposed diagnostic term for a set of symptoms resulting from prolonged stress of a social and/or interpersonal nature, especially in the context of interpersonal dependence. Subjects displaying traits associated with C-PTSD include victims of chronic maltreatment by caregivers, as well as hostages, prisoners of war, concentration camp survivors, and survivors of some religious cults.
Situations causing the kind of traumatic stress that can lead to C-PTSD-like symptoms include captivity or entrapment (a situation lacking a viable escape route for the victim), as well as psychological manipulation (gaslighting and/or false accusations), which can result in a prolonged sense of helplessness and deformation of one’s identity and sense of self. C-PTSD is distinct from, but similar to, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), somatization disorder, dissociative identity disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

Repeated traumatization during childhood leads to symptoms that differ from those described for PTSD. Here are symptoms and behavioural characteristics in seven domains:

Attachment – “problems with relationship boundaries, lack of trust, social isolation, difficulty perceiving and responding to other’s emotional states, and lack of empathy”
Biology – “sensory-motor developmental dysfunction, sensory-integration difficulties, somatization, and increased medical problems”
Affect or emotional regulation – “poor affect regulation, difficulty identifying and expressing emotions and internal states, and difficulties communicating needs, wants, and wishes”
Dissociation – “amnesia, depersonalization, discrete states of consciousness with discrete memories, affect, and functioning, and impaired memory for state-based events”
Behavioural control – “problems with impulse control, aggression, pathological self-soothing, and sleep problems”
Cognition – “difficulty regulating attention, problems with a variety of “executive functions” such as planning, judgement, initiation, use of materials, and self-monitoring, difficulty processing new information, difficulty focusing and completing tasks, poor object constancy, problems with “cause-effect” thinking, and language developmental problems such as a gap between receptive and expressive communication abilities.”
Self-concept – “fragmented and disconnected autobiographical narrative, disturbed body image, low self-esteem, excessive shame, and negative internal working models of self”.

Seeking increased attachment to people, especially to care-givers who inflict pain, confuses love and pain and increases the likelihood of a captivity like that of betrayal bonding, (similar to Stockholm syndrome) and of disempowerment and lack of control. If the situation is perceived as life-threatening then traumatic stress responses will likely arise and C-PTSD more likely diagnosed in a situation of insecure attachment than PTSD.

References

  1.  Cook, A., et. al.,(2005) Complex Trauma in Children and Adolescents,Psychiatric Annals, 35:5, pp-398
  2.  Lewis Herman, Judith (1992). Trauma and Recovery. Basic Books.
  3. Cook, Alexandra; Blaustein, Margaret; Spinazzola, Joseph; et al., eds. (2003). Complex Trauma in Children and Adolescents: White Paper from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Complex Trauma Task Force(PDF). National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Retrieved 2013-11-14 
  4. Cook, A.; Blaustein, M.; Spinazzola, J.; Van Der Kolk, B. (2005).“Complex trauma in children and adolescents”. Psychiatric Annals. 35 (5): 390–398. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  5. Patrick Carnes (1997). The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships. HCI. ISBN 978-1-55874-526-1. Retrieved 28 October 2012

 

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C-PTSD

woman-alone C-PTSD

 

Outsider Art – Unlocked by Charlotte Farhan

Unlocked - By Charlotte Farhan

Unlocked – By Charlotte Farhan

Unlocked – By Charlotte Farhan

A pressure builds inside my head like a boiling liquid,
spilling out of me, the security lock has been breached.
The fear that anything could escape – this is unscripted,
witnessing my life – my credibility is impeached.


This illustration is of my inner turmoil spilling from my mind, when experiencing a locked in state from flash backs and psychosis as a result of having complex post traumatic stress disorder and psychotic depression.

As I get older the locked safe where my darkest thoughts and memories have been kept, since being very young; has started to erode with time. Rusty and old, the hinges are no longer able to hold it all in.

Since starting reliving therapy in 2014 there have been many disturbances to my treatment, such as the NHS only being able to offer 6 weeks and then leaving me worse than before, opened up and dumped.

Then last year I found a therapist which was able to offer a reduced fee (as we are on such a low income) all was going well, even though it was soul-destroying and painful and made me cry in those 6 sessions more than I ever had. Still it was a process and felt as if maybe I would be able to deal with the trauma of my rape and sexual abuse as well as all the other issues which had developed as a consequence. However this was not to be the case, due to my borderline personality disorder I ended up splitting my therapist in my mind and however much I tried, this could not be changed. From thinking “she is my saviour” to “she is trying to kill me”, which then led me to become dangerously suicidal. So having no real choice, the therapeutic relationship had to be terminated.

So I am left unlocked and wide open…


 

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I Can’t Look Forward – Art and Poetry – By Charlotte Farhan – Reflecting the physical and emotional struggles of having Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I Can't Look Forward - By Charlotte Farhan

I Can’t Look Forward – By Charlotte Farhan

I Can’t Look Forward

By Charlotte Farhan

In memories I continue to relive,
not able to endure this universes reality,
my amygdala is highly combative,
the fragmented pieces falling from my dead family tree.

Infected fear filled eyes, like sores from the past,
in the depths of hell, everyone is deranged,
truth sees me branded as an iconoclast,
putrid and filthy I’m seen as the estranged.

The dysfunction of my mind continues to breed,
my hippocampus withering as neurons disintegrate,
dissociated in this mad world of misdeeds,
my prefrontal cortex had no time to decontaminate,

My illness is physical which you can’t see,
I have been rearranged internally,
this sickness inside, a screaming apogee,
with my outward mask fixed eternally.

Eyes alert and looking to the past,
like a bête noire lost with nowhere to go,
the trigger is pulled with a loud blast,
night terrors and flashbacks are the ammo.

We are not all soldiers of war back from global battle,
many of us suffer without being part of the bloodshed,
instead our bodies have been used as personal chattel,
We knew our survival would not cause for medals or tears shed.


This painting and poem reflects the physical and emotional struggles of having Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how the world reserves compassion for soldiers of war who have this illness but do not extend the same benevolence to victims of sexual violence and rape, who are a larger number of affected people.

I am one of these survivors; using my art, poetry and writing to raise awareness of the aftermath from being abused, assaulted and raped. As well as to help prevent these acts from continuing and to explain how rape culture in part of the every day fabric of life, which goes unnoticed, but is highly dangerous to us as a global community.

If you have any questions on my work, if you wish for me to exhibit in your gallery or would like to purchase a piece , please contact me via the form below, thank you.

Art by Charlotte Farhan

Art to End the Silence on Rape – Head on a Stick – Art and Poetry by Charlotte Farhan

Head on a Stick - By Charlotte Farhan

Head on a Stick – By Charlotte Farhan

Head on a Stick

By Charlotte Farhan

I offer my head to feed their eyes and tongues,

judgment spat at me with venomous vigour,

my body discarded leaving me without lungs,

crowds come forward with their mouths even bigger.

“Her head on a stick” the rabble loudly shout,

“she was asking for it” they scream insanely,

“But it’s the truth” I say, day in and day out,

“please believe me” I plea to humanity.

Life feeds on death; a self-destructive fury,

on public display my shame is left weeping,

my fresh blood is doused over the grand jury,

headless, with sexual organs for reaping.

The executioner offers salvation,

delivering me from my sin and evil

sex used as character assassination,

loss of life force, my soul is in upheaval

Like Medusa before me, our heads have rolled,

forasmuch as we were thought monstrous women,

our Fathers never let go their stranglehold,

still our legs run red with the deepest crimson.

The crowds start to disperse from around my head,

I feel I may be able to find some peace,

ripped apart, I could lay on my deathbed,

culpability placed like an altarpiece.

A victim I was, but a victim they blame,

told this violation does not happen here,

our voices attest; the night must be reclaimed,

identities are shaken and disappear.

Rape is not the act of sexual desire,

it is not uncommon as you may believe,

our minds are ruled now by an occupier,

we are the scapegoats, left – to be disbelieved.


This piece of poetry is from my degree course in Creative Writing.

The theme of this poem is that of victim blaming and the impact on the victim of sexual violence.

I am a victim who survived sexual abuse as a child, sexual violence and rape as a teenager as well as 2 sexual attacks in a psychiatric ward as a teenager.

Please take a look at my other articles and art on this important issue:

Click here: Art to End the Silence on Rape

If you would like to support my mission to end sexual violence and rape culture please like my awareness Facebook Page:

Click Here: No Excuses – Sexual Violence Must End


 

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Poetry and Art Spotlight: Red – By Charlotte Farhan

Red - Art By - Charlotte Farhan

Red – Art By – Charlotte Farhan

 

RED

by Charlotte Farhan 

A survivor is created through their suffering – not born,

overwhelming need for endurance becomes everything,

red drips – glistening droplets cascading down a single thorn,

petals fall like tears as the red roses are left weeping.

 

Asking for forgiveness from the powers that be,

Rising tall after the holy wreckage,

Seeing nothing but red; left lost with nobody,

from the crimson glow among the breakage,

 

Reaching for that apple; fruit of the poisonous tree

Breaking into pieces, scattering across the earth

red glass cuts; amidst the shards appears a master key

Could this be the moment of sweet release; my rebirth.

 

Being black and blue is nothing new,

the red remains; staining my legs,

however my strength was a breakthrough,

even if the darkness still begs.

 

Purity was ruined by them; they burnt me alive,

breathing is a battle; existing is trying,

nonetheless if in this redness; I can survive,

then a warrioress can break from within; crying.

 

Strength comes from doing whatever you can to stay alive,

crossing that red stop sign can be necessary,

blood alerts us, poppies sooth us, Red Riding Hood reminds us,

warning to all; survival is cautionary.

 

So when you see me and think this is madness,

remember that red is around us and pumps through our veins,

danger is present; a part of the darkness,

however survival comes from this and strength remains.


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Art and Poetry Spotlight – Staying Silent

Staying Silent - By Charlotte Farhan

Staying Silent – By Charlotte Farhan

 


 

Staying Silent

By Charlotte Farhan

 

Silence can be heard in many ways,
my silence is a laugh, a smile or a lie,
these create an elaborate maze,
for those wishing to understand and stand by.

Staying silent is now second nature,
people say “doesn’t she seem better”?
They don’t know – I am a big faker,
keeping them happy is less pressure.

Not wanting to be a burden,
as I knew too well this could lead me to be abandoned,
life has always been uncertain,
when I tell people my truth – they often become saddened.

The ruin inside me is enshroud,
as a child I was called damaged and a victim of extremes,
hearing the horror said aloud,
unpacking my unclaimed baggage – which were ripped at the seams.

Not wanting to be inspiration porn,
silence growing louder and louder within,
my laugh weakens, my smile is now forlorn,
whispers in my ear say “take it on the chin”.

This practice is now my way of survival,
the unspoken words crash into my skull with violence,
nonetheless this sound is my only rival,
I close my eyes and allow myself to hear the silence.


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