Aohrodite Wounded - Support for Women sexually assaulted by male partners and educational resources for professionals
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~ Cassandra Thomas ~
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THE HISTORY OF APHRODITE WOUNDED

Looks | From Rachel to Louise | Achievements | Thanks Owed

Aphrodite Wounded will be TWELVE years old in Nov. 2014!
Here is a look at her incarnations and development over the years.

"IPSV"="Intimate Partner Sexual Violence"

Aphrodite Wounded's Looks Over the Years
In 2002, I was about a year into writing my book Real Rape, Real Pain, and had also been trawling the internet for material on IPSV/partner rape. There was very little to be found - even on sites that dealt with sexual assault and domestic violence. I remember how odd I used to feel when I would look for information on my experiences, and find that every sort of sexual assault was referred to except partner rape. It can cause a survivor to feel as if what happened to her perhaps is not worth mentioning. Anyway, I decided in my down time from writing that I would have a crack at building a site that made fairly comprehensive and free information available for women then and there. I chose Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" for my logo because I thought it was beautiful and healing.

I knew absolutely nothing about sitebuilding; I thought "html" was an abbreviation of "Hotmail" The simplest things like making a hyperlink were beyond me. Nevertheless, I got myself an Ivillage account and used their free server and editor to see what I could churn out. Thanks to some friends who allowed me to pick their brains, I managed, and the first incarnation of AW -resplendent with too many tacky graphics and gaudy as hell, was born in Nov. 2002. You can have a look at it here. UGH, hey? Even worse was the second incarnation - I must have had taste in my backside but you can have a look at that one here ("What was she thinking?" I know, right?). And Goddess Almighty, this is what it looked like inside, if you dare,.

In about 2004, wonderful Shannon, President of Pandora's Project, said I could have some space on the Pandy's server, and she purchased me a domain! I was delighted, and the WSIWYG editor made it possible to alter the horrible templates offered by ivillage. So, we moved to the present domain and this was the next look for Aphrodite. I retired Botticelli's Venus because I decided I wanted to be a little less gentle about the theme of rape and - I have always loved a classical theme - Bernini's Rape of Proserpine seemed better suited - particularly the detail of Proserpine's face up close, which you can see in the top left corner here.

Just before I published my book in 2006, I was sick of the Trellix-dictated boxiness and candy pinks. Shannon - bless her - showed me all about the Dreamweaver program, and I made AW in this colour scheme. I brought Venus out of retirement because I just love her, and was for 4 years quite happy with the soft pinks, crimsons and flowers. My good friend Steph had impressed upon me that women hurt by sexual assault deserve something pretty and soothing as well as informative. I'm not likely to change the current still pink but whiter and cleaner design for awhile. Perhaps if I learn a few more sophisticated web tricks - but I think where we've got to isn't bad for a self-taught stay-at-home mother and author who discovered she has an inner geek.

From Rachel to Louise
In some of those old pages, you'll see the name "Rachel Pike." Because I was still somewhat afraid - or very afraid depending where I was at - of my ex-partner, I had opted for an author and online psuedonym. My dear co-author and friend, Patricia Easteal, persuaded me for several good reasons, to write under my real name - and I am glad she did. It's been so many years as I was emailed and addressed as Rachel or "Rach" online that I've almost forgotten not having been Louise for a time. And yet I was starting to forget what it was like to be called by my name of Louise, which means "famed fighter" or "battle maid." Yes, I am no longer afraid and happy to be Louise, author, sitemistress, specialist, speaker and presenter on IPSV.
Aphrodite Wounded's Achievements Over the Years

No matter what look this site has had, my dream of assisting survivors of sexual assault by partners continues to be realised. I am so thrilled every time I get feedback to that effect. Many women - and men - have written to say how this site changed their lives, minds and other for the better. This is great. I love not being a victim of my own history, but having used it to give support to others. Helping other survivors is the greatest achievement of this site. Women have also gotten a lot out of having a place to tell, and from reading about the stories of other women.

Having a hand in assisting professionals and organizations in making information and support available has been a big-time buzz too. It's always an honour and perhaps an unforeseen reward. This site in a very real sense has, together with my book, given me an international reputation as an authority on this topic. You can read Speaking Dates and Media and see where Aphrodite Wounded and my book have taken me. This site is now recognised by professional organisations as a resource for survivors and professionals.

Doing this work has also expedited healing for me. It's been so empowering. I am no longer ashamed of that girl - who dragged herself out of the bedroom to her kitchen, wondering how to get through another day and make the rape go away. I am thankful she survived to do this work.

Thanks Owed Over the Years
My site and I have not achieved all single-handedly. I have had a family and friends who have supported my disappearances into site editing, and general obssessiveness. The survivors who have written to me have given me all the encouragement I need to keep going with this work. My beautiful community, Pandora's Project, has also been an important annexe to this site - for clearly naming partner rape and offering peer-support, for giving me a huge platform from which to exercise my passion for this work, and for the loving encouragement of old and new friends there. The lovely, gracious advocates, counsellors and researchers who have also provided me with affirmation and platforms must be thanked too.

So, Thank you, Everybody.


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