6 New Stories and Poems!

Here are some new stories and poems by survivors. Check them out, feel free to leave comments, and please keep spreading the word about End the Silence Campaign. Thanks for following ETS and stay posted!

M.L. Dickson – The End of the Innocence

“My journey into reality, self-discovery and truth has been painful and at times traumatic, but also enlightening, deeply spiritual and in the end, a blessing.  I have new sense of calm since I began sharing my story and no longer live the lie that my family was “perfect.”  No one has a perfect childhood, perfect life or perfect family.  The sooner we are able to discuss these truths—as my hero Frederick Buechner says, “ and do a little tongue wagging”—the sooner we will be able to break the cycle of dysfunction.  It is only by breaking the destructive cycle that we are able to do better for our children and future generations.”

Dawn Helmrich – The Journey

“It was that day, the air was crisp
My favorite time of year, fall,
I remember feeling so good
Walking, smelling the air
I was in such a happy place…
All at once it was over…”

Ashley McIntyre – Where Are My Legs?

“But now I need help.  It’s hard to admit that I cannot do this on my own.  It’s scary because a lot of people have already formed their opinions about what happened.  Andrew’s friends still gossip about it to this day even though it’s years later and we’re in college.  I never get a break from it.  It never leaves my mind.  So, I’m realizing that it’s okay to ask for help, and it’s necessary to let go of any concerns I have about what people think.  This time, it’s about what I need, and what I want.”

Anonymous – A Letter to the Girl Who Came After Me

“Now I can’t preach to you because I loved him, too. I stayed with him, despite the humiliation and torment and pain. But you should know all the facts. The next time he tells you he cares about you, remember that mouth told me I was worthless and that no one would ever want me…”

C.  Imani Williams – Sexual Violence in Lesbian Communities: Marginalized and Silenced

“The many smoke and mirrors that sexual assault hides behind in our community are being called out. As I continue to grow, stretch and heal I’m meeting people and learning of her~stories that are changing my life in positive ways.  Womyn are miraculous in all of our glory. We short change ourselves when we cocoon and clique up to the point of excluding womyn who differ from our comfort zone.”

Rene Graham – The Unanswered Letter

“Angst filled the room as the fragile young woman in her mid-twenties sat at the metal desk in her tiny, non-descript room in the psychiatric ward of St. John’s Hospital.  Peggy’s entire body trembled with anxiety and she could feel panic settling in.  She had a pen in hand, but hesitated at the thought of writing her cousin Dana… She hated herself for needing Dana, but she was desperate and there was no one else.”

SAAM Feature 16: Lin

Sidewalk Poem

by: Lin

_

Note from the Author: I wanted to share something I wrote when I returned to the street where I was abducted when I was 12.  I was abducted there,  raped and beat up in a car someplace I could not see.  The man who took me did the same to 16 other girls before he was caught. It was 1976.

I wrote this as my personal declaration when I went back two years ago. I wrote it in yellow chalk on the sidewalk so it would be there forever. When rain erased it, I know part penetrated the earth and made its home there.

I did not come here
so you could tear off a piece of my life
beat the warmth from the smile on my face
still, then silence my voice

I came back to find and embrace
the beauty strength and grace
that is all my own

And to declare:

That I can warm the world
when I smile with my whole body

And I am learning to speak
from my heart without saying a word

I did not come here
so you could tear off a piece of my life

I came to sample the taste of freedom
and know how it feels to be whole

Visit Lin’s blog to see more of her writing: www.dealingwithhealing.blogspot.com

SAAM Feature 15: Rachel

Dirty Little Secret

by: Rachel Sherwyn

_

When I was sixteen
I used to lie on my back
Under the sunflowers quilted together
Sanctuary with the lights out
It was then only me, Fiona, and the knowing
Calm under the waves in the blue of my oblivion
Singing along with a sullen girl
Just like me in those times
But she was brave enough to write about her rape.
Some understand
Most do not
And when I was raped months later
After falling deep into her world
I knew then that I had been changed
Made into one of them
Those who understood
Because all who remain have no choice
But to group together and hold tight
To stand strong enough
In the face of so much ignorance.

The first time I was raped everything blurred blessfully
Drugged out of my skin
So high that I watched my best friend
As he pulled the tampon out before he plunged inside
I felt nothing.
Later
Hooked up to an IV pumping saline into my veins
Icing my bruised swollen and cut up lips
Still I felt oddly numb and removed.
Only days later did the nausea come
Flashbacks hit me like windstorms without warning
I could taste his perspiring salty skin
Glandular balls in my mouth
The fat of his stomach pressing
Kept pressing and pushing me down
All of this real like it was happening all over again.
Just memories though
Come and go and now mostly gone
As I moved on
Became a leading activist in the fight
For freedom from violation
Never faltering from my quest for five years
Until now
Because you see
Lightning does strike twice for some
And the second time hurts more
Cuts much deeper
So here is my story.

Walking into your house was surreal
I should have been scared
But I wasn’t
The moon and sky came in close
Into the kitchen that was once there and whole
Fascinating me with its emptiness
But I have always been stupid like that
Paralyzed by beauty that is still and simple.
I could not have known then
That what I felt looking up
Up and out through the wood beams
That what I felt was not just admiration
Or an acknowledgement of architecture progressing
But a warning
Because the house was once lovely and humble
And now broken apart organ by organ
Only to be put back together again
Remodeled like Frankenstein’s monster
Reeking of falsified power
The only way some men know how to show prowess
Violent deconstruction
Solely because they can
Again and again; over and over.

After the quick tour of the ruins
You showed me to your bedroom
Offered me a drink
When I had only wanted the guest bedroom
The haven you promised
Somewhere to sleep off my inebriation unfettered
And now I wonder if there ever was such a place.
Comedy on TV
I sat awkwardly at the foot of your bed
Not sure what I was doing there
Because I thought we were friends
But you were acting so suddenly strange
Mute and blind to me
So I nervously sipped
Coke mixed with a foreign rum
Tasted like Costa Rica
It’s not strong stuff, Rach. Don’t worry.
Minutes passed and I felt the lethargy fall
Felt my body fall next
Fall right next to you
And I tried so hard to keep my eyes open.

The lights blinked off
Shivering so I mumbled for a blanket
Curiously cold on this late summer night
You pulled the covers closer
Snuggled down
Wrapping black muscled arms encircling
Maybe you meant to comfort me
But all I felt were chains
Thickening and tightening
Holding me in place too close
And like an animal you rubbed against me
My back was to your front
And I could feel your cock hard against my thighs
Yes, the inevitable was coming
‘Cause I was too listless to stop it.

In some quick few motions
You got up
Walked to the dresser
Pulled something out of the top drawer
Stripped down
Put it on
And pulled down my jeans as you climbed on top
My mind was not working fast enough
I was missing things
Moments out of sequence and order
You never asked me
If I liked you
If I wanted to
How we got to this place
Where you are on top of me
Fucking the hell out of me
When we have never even kissed.

I was shocked and still half dressed
Because all you needed off was gone
You turned me over
My cunt not enough
And before I could cry out
To say I had never done this before
You were in
Doing that hateful thing
Dehumanizing me.
In my whole life
Sexual and otherwise
I never once thought about it
Never had any desire to try
Anal sex
Sodomy
YOU DID NOT ASK
YOU TOOK AWAY MY CHOICE!

It was in
Too long and too much girth for the act
Attached to a six-foot-four long body
Entirely composed of muscle and lean fat
A machine of a man
To ensure there would be no escape
From the in, out, and the endless pain
Unbearable almost
And soon I could not control my sobbing
Begging you to stop
Choking out no! over and over and again
But you kept at it
Pushed my face down hard into the pillow
Pinned my wrists
As I write this I look down
There are bruises now
Like hospital bracelets.

Turned me over
Fucking me from the front again
I am really crying now
Stop!
No!
Please, no!
Until you covered my mouth
Panicked as you whispered close to my face
Quiet, my dad is sleeping!
I wonder now
Maybe you thought I was moaning
Crying out in ecstacic pleasure
As you proceeded to tear up my insides
Move your cock around greedily
Forceful circular motions
Stretching out whatever virginal tightness I had left there.

I lost count
How many times you flipped me over
Back to front to back and then again
All I could think of was disease
Bacterial infections and viruses
You were likely bestowing upon me
And how you were so lucky
Covered and protected
Latex shalacked
And only open exposed vulnerability for me.

Fast so fast and hard
One God damn thrust after another
I gave up fighting
Turned my face away along with my thoughts
Asking God
Someone
Even the voice inside my head
To let this end soon
Let me survive
Keep my intestines in place
And let me run
But as I lay as still as I possibly could
Showing you only my wet cheeks
Bloodshot eyes
You must have known the power you had
With my tears dripping
Pools in the palms of your hands.

You sped up
And when I played the logic card
Last desperate attempt
When I told you we had to stop
That I could not keep going
That my body was dying and drying up
You started to moan
Make noises
Whispering urgently
Just one more minute, Baby!
I wanted to kill you
And I didn’t think I had one more minute to give
So you gave one last push towards the abyss
Either came or gave up trying.
I watched the condom peel off
Land on the bed
Followed by a towel you threw in my direction
Clean up crew.
I carefully watched you walk away
Made sure you were out of sight
Then stared at the sheets
Tried to wrap up the blood, sweat, tears, and shit left behind
The massacre.

You walked back in
I hurried up with shaky limbs
Zipping my jeans
Thinking of the condom
If it stayed on the whole time
I asked and you said it did
That answer was the last thingI would ever need from you
From then until death do us part.
I practically ran for the door
But you followed after me
As the pain between my legs raged
And you hugged me
Told me how to find my way home
Home
Please, yes, home.

Once inside my car I lost it
Tore rubber and tore out of there
As the sobs racked my body
Chills crawled all over me
With no regard for the fact I had to drive
So I got lost three times
Took an hour to get back
Long minutes of the burning swelling and spreading
Up and throughout
Until my entire lower half throbbed as one.

In my bathroom
Blood began to seep out
Menses
From a place where no life flows
From a place where only unwanted
Unnecessary things left the body
And I was thankful
Because my body knew you were not welcome
Your time inside was coming to an end.
The water raining down in the shower stung
But I would have cleansed myself in acid
If it meant purity would follow
And I sucked in a deep breath
Blew out a sigh of relief
While watching your noxious remnants swirl down the drain.
Examination and cleaning commenced
My fragile vaginal lining was scared and scarred shut
And I tried to coax open
The spaces you nearly destroyed
But soap and water did little good to soothe
Too many little cuts and swollen tissue patches
Red and angry like cancerous lungs.
So I stood under the showerhead
Until I felt sure
Your strong sweat stench was banished from every pore.

I slept as best I could
But every few hours I woke
For urges not normally present
Back and forth I padded across the hall
Bedroom to bathroom
It hurt to walk
To sit
To use my body
But I had to because it would not stop
So much blood
Did not stop for twenty-four hours
And now, two days later
I still bleed sometimes
It still hurts to move
And the cuts and swelling yet wound.

So here it is
Six years after the first rape
The only rape I thought
Sullen Girl by Fiona Apple plays loudly
Writing in my bedroom
On a different quilt
In a different time
With too much just the same
But unlike the first time
I don’t want to avenge my crime
Don’t want love and support
From family
Friends
Other survivors
Don’t want to be the martyr and fight
As always before
I only want to bury
Bury any knowledge of you
In my life or in this world
This will be a secret I hold
Not to protect you or even myself
But to protect the loved
The ones I will not endanger
With your heinous act and this wretched story
My pain is my own
And need not darken any other door
You may lay claim to my waking thoughts
Haunted sleeps
But it ends there
Because no part of you will reach out
To touch the ones that matter
Never.

Like the little earthquake that ate up your poor little house
This was also a man-made mock natural disaster
Used to service empty needs and a weak ego
To tear down and cover up
In the name of triumph
Conquest.

Give me life
Give me pain
Give me my self again
Let it break
Let it bleed
Let it wash away
And let me go.

SAAM Feature 10: Alden

To Those Who Think They Know

by: Alden Marshall

_

To those who begin sentences with the words
“The problem with feminists…”
And proceed to attack my most deeply held beliefs

To those who have the nerve to tell me
That the most terrifying situation of my life
Was all about my selfish personal convenience

To those who equate the fear, the helplessness and the pain
With cold-hearted murder,
And speak of “viability” and the soul

To those who presume to lecture me
About the sacred blessing and responsibility of child-bearing
And would reduce me to nothing more than an incubator

To those who accuse me
Of continuing the cycle of violence that first began with an attack on me
By making the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make

To those who remind me that I am an adopted child
A supposed refugee from the anti-child world of choice
With the charge of returning the favor

To those who say I’ve committed abortion
Not had one
And believe I’ve no right to decide what I do with my body

Fuck you and your opinions
I have no interest
In your hypothetical scenarios

I am not some case study for you to test your theories
I will not debate the philosophical and moral possibilities
Nor entertain the idea that you can possibly understand “where I’m coming from”

I will not explain myself
At least not any more
I’m done talking about it

SAAM Feature 9: Kathryn S.

The Fortress

by: Kathryn S.

_

Cold and cruel this world can be,
So I began to build a wall.
A fortress built with many stones,
A refuge that would not fall.

Insecurity laid as the cornerstone,
And the foundation was set in place.
Trust and love too easily shattered,
So mistrust was used as a base.

My fortress was built with many stones,
Stones of fear, and pain, and pride.
My heart grew cold and calloused within,
As all emotions were kept inside.

Locked away in solitude,
I kept violence and rape.
Protected and closely guarded,
So that no secret would ever escape.

Listen! Listen! It’s the voice of Wisdom.
He’s handing me a key.
He’s asking me to unlock the truth
For only truth can set you free.

When I unlocked the door I was astounded,
For things were not as I presumed;
It wasn’t a fortress I had built,
I had merely built a tomb.

the poem after the end of the world (48)

inspired by Lucille Clifton’s “shapeshifter poems”…

the poem after the end of the world

its quiet
not morning quiet full of birds and slipping dreams
its middle of the night quiet
when you can whisper your secrets out loud
fearless.

last night god looked down on us
said enough is enough
toppled mountains like dominos
spilled ocean, wiped her hand clean across the sky

and you wake up rubbed pink with sleep
naked and smiling,
you look out the window.

and where there were buildings
there are now trees
and where there were sidewalks
there are now trees
and where there was running away
there are now trees as thick as atmospheres

everything is green again.

Ever Loving You (40)

Ever Loving You

My heart sinks at the thought of you

my lips purse at the sight of you

feelings of love, sadness, heartache and PAIN

my eyes fill with dew

my heart empties all traces of…

tries to empty All traces of…

needs to empty ALl traces of…

wants to empty ALL traces of…

Ever

Loving

You.

by Michelle (the grreat)

Lilac Wino Reprise (37)

Another poem by Brian…

Lilac Wino Reprise

Purple petals pressed,
fingerprints on flesh. Maps
places I’ve never been
I won’t forget
how you left.
A breath-
the body of the night.
Pray restraint.
Taunted by the hunger
to be haunted.
howl for the healing
howl for the hurt
Hallelujah
I am ruined.
Ripe for redemption
restored to burn
clarity in cloud
a memory ringing out
without
sound.