No Longer Silent #WCW

#WCW a popular hashtag on this here Wednesday.

I wanted to use the trendiness of this hashtag to shine some more light on how some of these amazing women we celebrate and champion have been victims of sexual assaults. This is not to darken the in most cases harmless celebration of women we think are amazing, but to just raise more awareness and hopefully more respect for women because we really never know what they’re going through behind those smiles we compliment or ask them to make. I was inspired to make this post based on a poem I wrote a while back that spoke from a woman’s POV. (You can read the poem below).

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My good friend Claire asked me the other day and forgive me if I don’t quote it correctly, “what am I standing for or fighting for?” Something like that. And I said “you what everything.” I went on to say I’m not sure how I can get people to understand that. But I remember now. I’m a artist and through my art I will speak on the things I love and the things I stand for and want to fight for. I wanted to start this with how I’m personally connected to this subject.

My Mom, My Maw Maw, Chelle, Jalisa, Claire. 5 women who I know personally and/or on a more intimate level that have admitted to me that they’ve been sexually assaulted and gave me consent to share their photos for this post.

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I want this to be an ongoing thing so if you can relate and consent to me sharing your photo, I’d love to come take your portrait if you’re local. Or if you’re out of town you can send me one. Message me if this interests you.

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The poem is titled “No Longer Silent”

They never really can understand my discernment when It comes to men

Like I pretend to be afraid

I play shy

My no’s mean yes

I just rather play hard to get

Cuz I’m easy at this game of dog chasing after cat

That I actually enjoy sex I just say don’t touch me

That my baby… My baby… Is not a product of a rape gone worse

That my skin doesn’t leak self hate through pores like alcohol I force down my throat to erase memories that only leave momentarily…

That God…

That I’m not sure I still believe in, hasn’t cursed me with a figure that makes men feel the right to disrespect me

That I actually like the abuse I’ve received since the age of 13… Why did my mother silence me?

Why did it take years of being raped

7 attempts on a life I’m not even good enough to take

Raising a child I wasn’t even sure God wanted me to create

And if he did

Why has he chosen such fate for me

I was THIRTEEN

Raped almost everyday by my stepfather

SEVENTEEN RAPED BY SOMEONE I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH

TWENTY raped by a coworker who I thought was my friend

TWENTY-FIVE again by a stranger who became the… Father of my beautiful little girl… WHY NOW!?

Do I want to speak up after being silenced since a kid “This is family business and you don’t tell outside people about what happened to you”

But Momma never listened

All she cared about was making sure stepdad didn’t hit her

So maybe having sex with me was payment for him to not make her bleed

Instead it would be me

You see… Now I know why I speak…

It’s so that little girl like me…

Doesn’t get into the habit of remaining silent…

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