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the padlocked vagina | suki falconberg

Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 08:10AM by Registered Commentersadi ranson-polizzotti | Comments5 Comments | References10 References

“Go where you are least welcome it; is where you are most needed.”

–Abigail Kelley Foster

Of the many rape zones on Rape Planet Earth, the Congo is currently the most savage. After gang raping women and girls, soldiers are piercing their labia and padlocking their vaginas shut. Hot plastic as well as sticks and bayonets are being inserted into the women. Six-month-old girls have been raped to death.


Gang rapes are so severe that many women are suffering from fistula (the tearing of the vaginal wall so that the contents of the colon and urine seep in). Unable to reach medical care, some women are dying of massive infections. Even if the women do reach a doctor, fistula is very hard to repair—few practitioners can do it.

To intensify the cruelty, soldiers are even shooting women in the vagina, destroying their systems so completely that numerous operations are necessary—and even then repair may not be possible.


Despite how horrifying all this seems, there is nothing new Under the Rape Sun. ‘Fistula Rape,’ I call it—needing to find my own vocabulary for a reality rarely written about. The Romans, at one time, inflicted it on women in wartime. The Japanese were masters at it—the soldiers own photos of Nanking show naked, dead Chinese women in the streets, objects like pitchforks shoved into them.

Nothing new, either, about “sexual terrorism,” the use of women’s bodies as battlefields for male cruelty, for political ends—we have seen it all before, in Bangladesh, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur. (And now in Iraq.)

Anderson Cooper, reporting on the ‘fistula rapes’ in the Congo on a recent 60 Minutes (13 Jan. 2008) asks why men do this? It is a huge question. As a gentle woman, I have no answer. Do you men hate us women so much that you have to destroy our vaginas and our wombs, the very source of life itself?

But this article is not really about fistula rape or the Congo or that huge question in the previous paragraph. It is about the Padlocked Vagina and about my place in this confusing world. I am what is called a ‘dissident’ voice. I am a woman who speaks against those who inflict sexual suffering (whether it be in the Congo or in Iraq). As such, I am, according to my government, a terrorist.

Previously, the American Congress labeled me one when they passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. It condemned me for speaking up for the other animals species we torture by the billions (in factory farms and in labs, for example). Now the “Thought Police” are promoting a Homegrown Terrorism Bill (H.R. 1955/S. 1959) that tells me my ‘dissident’ voice is a danger to my country.

My take on all this is hardly original: A democracy is strong precisely because of its dissident voices. All Americans should nod to me, in approval, or maybe even clap for me–with high rejoicing–that I speak up. I don’t want my vagina to be padlocked next. It has been through enough.

To not sound too corny, as an American I cherish my rights. That first amendment is precious beyond gold and diamonds to me. (Never mind that I never buy gold and diamonds because of the exploitative way they are mined and marketed—it is the metaphor I am after here.) Being a woman of little courage, I tremble every time I exercise my first amendment right to be a dissident voice. But I am aware that I live in a country that, so far, has let me speak—loudly, dissidently—without imprisonment, torture, or execution.

congo ii

When I saw the photo (above) of the Congolese woman being held down, the most sensitive area of her body being pieced, it was like having cold water thrown on me. It was a wake-up call. I don’t want to be that next padlocked vagina. I sit in comfort, in front of my computer. I am relatively safe—no immediate threats of physical violence, no one beating me up. Despite having known some severe sexual mistreatment in the past (like gang rape and being a ‘dirty joke’ to a lot of men since I sold sex, once, a long time ago), I realized, when I saw this picture, that at least I was not having my vagina padlocked. What a joy! To sit here, with the freedom to write–and an unpadlocked vagina, too! This is true happiness.

After I write this article, I can get up and take my dog for a walk. No bleeding, infected, padlocked vagina holding me back. Then I can come home, to a warm, safe room, out of the winter chill, and give Boromir (that’s my dog’s name) a treat and we can both sit by the fireplace—me with a (vegan) buttered English muffin and hot chocolate (vegan) by my side–and watch an old movie on TV. I can sip my cocoa and pet his big, comforting body (having a big dog makes a cowardly woman like me feel safe).

I have to keep being a dissident voice in order to keep Boromir safe and myself safe and my vagina free from being padlocked.

Suki Falconberg, © 2008

Suki is an ex-prostitute and a contributing writer for Cyrano’s Journal Online. Her novel, Tender Bodies and Whore Stories, an erotic fantasy with a satiric edge set in the world of military prostitution, is available at
www.xlibris.com/Bookstore. The sequel, Comfort the Comfort Women, is also available at that site.

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References (10)

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    sadi ranson-polizzotti | the tant mieux project - cyrano & tant mieux articles - the padlocked vagina | suki falconberg
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    sadi ranson-polizzotti | the tant mieux project - cyrano & tant mieux articles - the padlocked vagina | suki falconberg

Reader Comments (5)

OMG. looking at this picture was horrible.. how could anyone be such a demon to do this to someone. i hope whoever did this to this woman rots in F***n hell and the devil paddlocks your anus and penis every single second of eternitywhile you burn in hell! you truly deserve nothing but hell in your life.
this makes me so sad..
i am so glad to live in a country where i know im safe.. yes we have our problems and racism but we are not perfect and never will be..
i so grateful i dont have to worry about going out and having my vagina padlocked!
f*** anyone who hurts our woman.. we all came from a woman.. that being said we should respect them to the max!!
November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRuth Vallejo
Ethnic cleansing is a term that has come to be used broadly to describe all forms of ethnically-motivated violence, ranging from murder, rape, ...

USA was on dark early!!! fuck'u
November 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbelow
Don't you feel you would be more effective in helping these women by actually going over there and doing something? Sitting in a nice chair by a warm fire with a big dog and typing away about how terrible it is to be called a terrorist does nothing for the actual victims. This is the "limousine liberal" mentality; you type away about real and imagined injustice and expect someone else to actually do something about it.
January 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLee451
Why do this? Rape in ay of its forms is completely wrong... but this is just... well... there is not even a decent word in the English lanuage to describe it. I really wish I could go over there and help these poor women; the soldiers who do this... kill them all... or forcefully use them in the femdom porn industry.

I love women. They are equal in the eyes of God to men so I believe they are equal to me... a man. Curse anyone who rapes a woman or a girl... even if she walked around naked on the streets.
October 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTansah
thats crazy,,, id like to help but sadly i make enough money to survive but not much more,,,,why does rape happen, control? like war showing they are stronger....in war it could be done for even more and more twisted reasons..in a country where u gotta take everything u have food etc just to stay alive why would there mentality be different for this? u want it u need it take it! before someone else does.. sad but isnt this there truth? there reality
February 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersomeguy

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