Hey everyone! Check out some new stories and poems on the website. And if you haven’t already, make sure you download “In Our Own Words” – our first collection of stories, poetry, and art by sexual violence survivors.
Abbi Baker – My Story
Annastacia – Cried
Felicia Smith – Save Me Now (He Still Loves Me)
Heather Marie Laica – Fears for Years – Released by Tears
Deborah Hall-Branch – The Healing Process
Celeste D. Barnes – Flashback
C.E.G. – Survivor!
We are getting closer to the release of End the Silence Campaign’s first collection of stories, poetry, and art created by survivors of sexual violence. It has been a journey putting the publication together and I am so excited to share it with you. I hope that it will be inspirational and powerful to everyone who reads it. We had so many submissions that we were unable to include everything in the first collection. It is my goal to include as many of the submissions as possible in an upcoming collection, but in the meantime I am posting many of them online! So stay posted as I add more stories, poetry, and art to the site! Thanks for all your support.
Here are some new poems!
Dayce Ruth – The Days
Jennifer J. Pasquale – Illusions of Dance
Joyce Collins – The Insects Swarm Over Me
Yotibar! – Fear
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.”
Thank you, Roberta, for sharing your story! Here is an excerpt from our newest submission. Click on the link to read and comment on Roberta’s story.
“For nearly forty years I buried the secret deep within. To anyone that knew me my life was nearly perfect; successful career in education, good marriage and three beautiful children. It appeared wonderful and for the most part it was wonderful. I loved my role as educator, wife and mother. I just didn’t love myself. There was something “wrong” with me but I didn’t know what it was.
My final thought on ending the silence sits close to my heart. As a little girl I never dared to tell anyone what my parents were doing to me. To this day victims live in silence out of fear and shame. If this is going to change, society must change. Sexual abuse is still a “dirty word.” For those who are old enough remember when we could not use the word ‘cancer’ or ‘AIDS?’ It took the brave souls who were willing to speak out about cancer and AIDS to educate society and open the door for victims to receive support without shame. Children take their cues from adults. If we as adults can talk openly, shamelessly, about sexual abuse it is much more likely that children will have the courage to tell that they have been abused. Ending the silence is the step we need to take to end the abuse. If only I was able to tell an adult when I was a little girl…well, I am telling you now. Please help by taking the risk to end the silence and Say It Out Loud!”
Click here to read the rest of the story.
Check out the three new stories below. Happy New Year to all of our writers, supporters, and fans! We truly appreciate all you do to help end the silence surrounding sexual violence. Here’s to a year full of hope, healing, and change!
Disconnected - Anonymous
“They won’t know that the coldness comes back. That a part of me grows hard, quickly rebuilding those walls so they don’t come down. Don’t react. It’s my unspoken mantra. One I don’t even believe in, but can’t seem to break out of the trance. Don’t be upset. Don’t speak. This is what happens.
And it’s that cage, that final captor, that has allowed for the others. That has left me with the invisible mark of victim. Only some can see it, like an infared mark most never notice. Hidden in ambition, lost in personality, but those who can see through the covers all do, and they all find me. It doesn’t have to be this way. I refuse to live with it being this way.
New mantra: This is not what happens.” Read more.
“I look at my Hannah, something is wrong; I can see her fur turning dark like ash left from a fire. Her eyes are turning black as an empty night sky with no stars twinkling to light the way. The sun is battling a dark sky approaching from behind me. It is losing. It is getting colder now, I feel the rush of goose bumps all over my body, I can almost see my breath. I begin to quiver slightly. The sweet smells are turning rancid, spoiled, rotten. The grass is molding, the flowers are wilting, the brownies are burning, the dried tobacco is now a burning cigarette that closes my throat with every inhalation. I can no longer laugh.” Read more.
“I was in such excruciating pain that I could hardly breathe. I was sick and tired of the relationship but did not dare to walk away from my abuser. In August, 2007 things changed in my life.” Read more.
In these moving poems, Sarah Ann Henderson explores her journey as a survivor of sexual abuse. In her poem, “The Afterword,” she writes:
“…With that hell that I carry inside
With the tortures that I’ve ambled through
I suppose on some level I’m healing
At least I pray that’s true
And I will just have to keep writing
This life story that’s long overdue.”
Read more of her poetry by clicking on the links below:
And as always, feel free to share your comments and support the brave survivors who share their stories.
“He wanted to show me a really pretty beach that was nearby. I said no. He said it was so beautiful and I would love it. He said we will watch the sunset together. I said no. He said it won’t take long… Let’s just watch the sunset together before it is too late… It did not make sense. I am scared. I am in his car. I am in my bikini. I am alone with him. There is no beautiful beach. There is no sunset. I do not know how to get back to my hotel. His
and smile are gone.” (excerpt from “Beautiful Sunsets”)
Read “Beautiful Sunsets” posted in the Prose section. Thank you, Tori, for the courage and strength it took to share your story. You are among friends.
Join Tori in the campaign to end the silence surrounding sexual violence. One story at a time.