Violence against women in our communities & how it feels to be a statistic: A poetic memoir
I am inspired and motivated to speak up and share my truth, more than ever. The camaraderie and solidarity seen at the Golden Globes & Oprah's monumental speech have lit the fire within. Violence against women (especially women of colour) is not just a Hollywood phenomenon. It has been occurring in regular communities, to people without influence and financial freedom FOR LITERALLY EVER. This is written as a poetic memoir. I have minimized details and triggers as much as possible, without losing the integrity of my story. Yet, here are your content warnings.
CW: mention of sexual assault, violence against women, death, trauma, unfair justice system
I look in the mirror and see someone; I don’t know her well. She appears kind and gentle underneath her chainmail exterior. I want to get to know her better. I’d like to hear her story, feel her feelings, and commemorate her strength. Sensitization hour, after years of repression. She seeks a purification from the toxins and chains holding her captive.
Distant memories echo in my mind. The forgotten “insignificant” yet haunting details of these experiences. Vastly different sources using various tactics. All traumatizing. All degrading. Together, they destroyed hope, interest and my zest for life. I was fearful of dying on more than one occasion. The adrenaline kicks in; but it’s not always your friend. Once, it helped me escape; but the first time, it did not. I was petrified, and fighting back only made things worse. I was depreciated and made to feel worthless – and still at times, worthless do I feel.
I can’t explain why I feel so drawn to this as of late. Triggers. The media. I feel tears pressed against my looking glass. It was real. It actually happened -- all of it. It was terrifying.
Denial took center-stage for a long while. Until, the figure in the mirror learned to repress, intellectualize and dissociate. Never before today have I assigned feelings to these experiences. I have never healed from the pain because I never let the pain surface; undertaking multiple defence mechanisms to mask the trauma. I find that I can’t trust anyone but myself and the intellectualization of my memories. Constantly living in fear of betrayal and submission.
Today, I offer you (perpetrators) the privilege of flowered lingo instead of cruel cruel justice, but I wish I could offer the latter. Women (including any such identifying individuals) continue to be held down by the patriarchy, and by the justice system. Survivors aren’t believed. Perpetrators aren’t prosecuted. It is sickening.
We are limited by so many internal and external forces. The trauma, pain, fear, repression, denial and feelings of worthlessness are just the tip of the iceberg. The fear of rejection and our inherent need to belong causes us to surrender our beliefs and put blind faith in a system that continues to demean, discourage and disappoint us. Somehow, the onus still continues to be placed on us; the survivors. Our autonomous choices are scrutinized, but no accountability is placed on the wrong-doers. Where is justice? It seems lost to me.
Yet, I am still here. I’ve tirelessly searched for worth in my life since. It turns out that the worth was there all along – it starts and ends with me. I am worthy. I am enough. You are worthy. You are enough. You are deserving of justice. Survivors: You are not guilty, I promise you. You did nothing wrong. Your choices should not define you; you did not commit the act.
All in a timely manner; it was early on and caused a domino effect. Ultimately, it would lead to this spiral – this is the future. You must live out your future in remembrance of your past. It’s always better late than never. Hiding won’t change anything, but speaking up might. Me too.
I have so much love for every one of you. I appreciate you taking the time to read my story. Please be compassionate human beings and support ALL women (including all who identify as such). Together we can make a change by speaking up against gender-based violence. If you would like to connect with me, or need support through your own experience - I am only an email away (firstname.lastname@example.org). Lots of love & light!