#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).
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.
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.
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 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…