We Will Not Be Silenced – Launch Tomorrow!

We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault, Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay and Art is in the best seller #1 position for Poetry Anthologies and the #1 New Release in Women’s Poetry on Amazon!

Please, if you have not yet purchased a copy, consider doing so for someone else if not for yourself. You can even purchase to give to a shelter or rape crisis center. We deliberately kept the cost low so most could afford a copy and the message in this incredible anthology would be spread.

We Will Not Be Silenced is going to have the first of several events tomorrow November 30 on Facebook if you are able to attend and whilst there, if you want to join We Will Not Be Silenced on Facebook and the accompanying site, Sisters of Indigo Light

We Will Not Be Silenced is available on Amazon

Preyed

 

Whispers penetrate flesh walls,
secrets resound like a melody
within the temple of mind.

A church choir of boys
sing Latin,
a tongue they never understood,
yet made beautiful in spite.

An angelic host of innocence,
perched in perfect rows;
perverse men licking dry lips
conduct harmony, as
chorus echoes in rounds
confined by marble stone
laid by hypocritical hands.

In time holy walls stand,
coffers full and overflowing
while souls remain empty.

Yet pride crumbles the benevolent,
corrupt tongues stumble awkwardly
over the dulled ivory teeth of time.

Stained glass fragments let in truth,
rays of light stream through darkness
reflecting a shattered faith sanctuary
built upon broken bones of man.

 

©Sabrina Escorcio
September 2017

Photo Credit, Sam Webber illustration for “the Priest That Preyed” – New York Times

 

Final chance to submit to: “We Will Not Be Silenced” Anthology

Midnight, Monday 15th October is the deadline for submitting art/writing/poetry, this is an important, very timely project at a critical stage in history, your voices need to be heard! Previously published work you hold the copyright permissions on, are acceptable.

Please add your voice.

The story: Bruised But Not Broken, Whisper and the Roar, Indie Blu(e), and Blood Into Ink are joining forces to publish an anthology about the lived experience of sexual harassment and assault. We believe that it is more important than ever before that more voices speak out and reclaim their strength by owning their survival stories. All contributors, female and male, can submit up to three pieces of creative work- these can include; Poetry, Prose, Essay, Short Fiction, Prose, or original Artwork, but should be limited in length (under 1,000 words) considering that this is an anthology. You will be notified if your work is accepted. Please do not consider nonacceptance as any diminishment of your experience, but as with any publishing venture, we must try to fit the individual pieces together into a strong whole.

  • Submission of previously published pieces is acceptable if you still own the rights to your work.
  • Artwork can be submitted in black and white OR color but all artwork should be black and white compatible.
  • Using a pen name or publishing anonymously is acceptable.
  • All submissions should be sent to bloodintoink2017@gmail.com by midnight, Monday, October 15, 2018.

Writers and artists will retain the publishing rights to their individual submitted pieces. Indie Blu(e) will retain the rights to the collection We Will Not Be Silenced.

Pieces accepted for the Anthology may be used in whole or in part to promote the Anthology. All writers and artists will be appropriately credited in all promotional materials.

Should the royalties from sales of the Anthology exceed the costs of publishing and promoting the Collection, 70% of the royalties above these costs will be donated to organizations that support survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

 

Last Call to Submit Writing and/or Art for “We Will Not Be Silenced” Anthology

Midnight, Monday 15th October is the deadline for submitting art/writing/poetry, this is an important, very timely project at a critical stage in history, your voices need to be heard!

Bruised But Not Broken, Whisper and the Roar, Indie Blu(e), and Blood Into Ink are joining forces to publish an anthology about the lived experience of sexual harassment and assault. We believe that it is more important than ever before that more voices speak out and reclaim their strength by owning their survival stories. All contributors, female and male, can submit up to three pieces of creative work- these can include; Poetry, Prose, Essay, Short Fiction, Prose, or original Artwork, but should be limited in length (under 1,000 words) considering that this is an anthology. You will be notified if your work is accepted. Please do not consider nonacceptance as any diminishment of your experience, but as with any publishing venture, we must try to fit the individual pieces together into a strong whole.

  • Submission of previously published pieces is acceptable if you still own the rights to your work.
  • Artwork can be submitted in black and white OR color but all artwork should be black and white compatible.
  • Using a pen name or publishing anonymously is acceptable.
  • All submissions should be sent to bloodintoink2017@gmail.com by midnight, Monday, October 15, 2018.

Writers and artists will retain the publishing rights to their individual submitted pieces. Indie Blu(e) will retain the rights to the collection We Will Not Be Silenced.

Pieces accepted for the Anthology may be used in whole or in part to promote the Anthology. All writers and artists will be appropriately credited in all promotional materials.

Should the royalties from sales of the Anthology exceed the costs of publishing and promoting the Collection, 70% of the royalties above these costs will be donated to organizations that support survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

 

What Every Woman Knows- Christine Ray

I originally wrote this piece in October of 2016.   A friend reminded me today of it, stating, ‘it is as wrenching, heartbreaking, and infuriating today.’  Its a long but an important read.  Even if you have read it before, read it again.  It holds new resonance this month.


Social media has been buzzing this morning with the reveal of Donald Trump’s misogynistic and vulgar comments about women in 2005. They are appalling, but for most women, negotiating these types of attitudes and behaviors is business as usual.

A few months ago after yet another shooting of an unarmed African American by the police, I was working out a possible blog post in my head. I wanted to try to articulate the analogy between how African American parents are forced to prepare their children for our racist culture with how women must prepare their girl children for American rape culture and had the revelation that I take this culture so much for granted that I rarely bother to have direct conversations about this with the men in my life. I don’t know if they are even aware of what most girls and women experience on a daily basis. It just is.

I actually cannot remember a time in my life that I was not aware that there will always be some boys and some men who will see girls and women, see me, as an object, as less than human, as a potential source of their gratification regardless of my wishes or consent. Did this awareness start the first time I was told by a teacher that the grade-school boy who pulled my braid so hard that it brought tears to my eyes was just doing that because he “liked” me?! Was it the first time spin the bottle was played at a middle school party and the girls were expected to be “good sports” and kiss boys they didn’t like, who might even repulse them, because they agreed to play in the first place? Was it the first time a friend showed up in high school English class with a black eye from her boyfriend and instead of offering her support, classmates whispered behind her back wondering what she had done to “deserve” it? Was it the first time I saw a fashion magazine ad where a vacant eyed woman in gorgeous clothes passively endured being groped by an equally gorgeous and well-dressed man? Or was posed kneeling prostrate in front of him, her head level with his crotch? Or maybe it was the first time I saw a Robert Palmer video on MTV.

Perhaps it was the first time an adult man paid a little too much attention to my pre-adolescent developing body and when I complained to my mother about it, saying it made me feel “gross,” I was basically told this is “just the way things are. Please don’t rock the boat by protesting or causing a scene. Just try to stay out of his way.”

Girls are taught from an incredibly early age that we are responsible not only for our own sexuality but for the sexuality of boys and men. That birth control is our responsibility. That being a sexual tease (i.e. making out with a boy and then deciding we don’t want to go any further) is the worst thing that a girl can be. Or maybe that is being a slut– that’s always been a little bit confusing to me. Although the amount of sexism and body shaming that today’s girls are subject to in out-of-control school dress code policies that hold girls to different standards and blame them for “distracting” their male classmates is getting much-needed press, this is not a new story. We have always been told not to wear our skirts too short, our tops too low, not to be too loud and flashy lest we attract the “wrong” kind of attention while also being told to smile more, not to dress like a sexless librarian or god forbid, do not dress like a boy or you will be mistaken for a lesbian. I am sure my mother’s generation and my grandmother’s generation were also told to be modest, keep their legs crossed, not wear their skirts too short and to be “good” girls too.

The reality is, no matter what length we wear our skirts, no matter how buttoned up our shirts are, how good we try—how good I try– to be, I simply do not know a woman who has not been subject to unwanted, unwelcome sexual attention from boys and men. I actually don’t know how many times I have ridden public transportation and not known if the man standing next to me was jostled into me or deliberately fondled me. Some of this is subtle and I have questioned my own interpretation, calling myself paranoid. Some of this is blatant and unrepentant. I have had to change seats more than once on trains and buses because of this. I have talked politely to men on trains when I would have much rather been reading my book at the end of a long day because I was worried that if I ignored his attention, he could escalate and I could get hurt.

When I was a young social worker, I had male clients flirt with me, ask for my phone number, ask about my boyfriend, my home life, and my sex life during sessions and on one memorable occasion, masturbate during a session (for the record, I told him I would only keep talking to him if both his hands were on the desk.) I was 24 years old. Social work school did not prepare me for days like that.

Nor did it prepare me for the new middle-age male outpatient clinic manager who always seemed to have his hand in the small of my back when we walked down the hall. It just felt “wrong,” too “intimate” and when the administrative staff came to me and told me that he was being even more sexually inappropriate with them, I became the whistle blower who reported him to management, who fortunately had our backs and fired him the same day. What sticks with me is that despite me knowing that he had to go, that there was no place for a person in a position of power making any staff member feel unsafe in an agency that treated traumatized and abused children, I still felt guilty about getting him fired.

I have personally had to fire a male temp employee who was doing mental health intakes for my unit at a community mental health center who made arrangements to meet one of our fragile new female clients in a bar and then asked her to go out with him. She was brave enough to report him. Both he and his temp agency were puzzled about why he had to go and had to go immediately.

I have lost my shit with a male emergency room doctor and female nurse when I took a teenage client for evaluation after she was sexually assaulted by a car full of teenage boys. The hospital staff treated her– and me–  with visible contempt because of the way she was dressed and because she kept laughing nervously during examination, which was simply how she was dealing with the trauma. She was 16 years old. I was 22 and in sweatpants, flip flops and a T-shirt and hope that they remembered me for the rest of their careers yelling at them loudly enough for the entire ER staff to hear that if I was ever unlucky enough to be sexually assaulted in Boston, I prayed that I would be taken to a hospital where the staff would treat me with the kindness and compassion I deserved, with the kindness and compassion this young woman, no matter how she was dressed, had deserved.

I have been in a freshman dorm room where a drunk, entitled college football player would not take ‘no’ for an answer when my roommate allowed him to stay in the room as a favor for a floor mate after a party. I made a lot of noise to make it clear that I was awake and he stopped and eventually passed out. Apparently he was not nearly as bothered by my roommates resistance to his advances as he was by an audience. My roommate had a black belt in karate and just froze. He was a friend of friend and we were so socialized to be “nice” that my roommate was almost date raped with me in the room. I can’t even remember if we ever told our floor mate about it or whether we just avoided her boyfriend and his cocky teammate going forward.

I have been catcalled when I dressed nicely– but appropriately- for work by construction workers and cars full of men. I wonder how many women reading this still feel their stomachs clench up EVERY time they have to walk by a construction site in preparation for the catcalling. I can’t believe that I am the only one. I have been angrily called a “fucking dyke” or a “stuck-up bitch” on more than one occasion when I refused to make eye contact, refused to smile, refused to say “thank you” to some random man trying to get my attention and/or making inappropriate comments about my body and what he would like to do to it, when I just wanted to get where I am going.

What almost feels worse about these experiences is not that they happen, but how I have learned to just shrug them off because “that’s the way it is.” It is painful for me to have the kind of conversations mothers feel are their responsibility with my own children, to try to give them a little bit of armor against this type of pervasive and casual sexual harassment, with this rape culture. It starts young with books like “It’s My Body” and progresses to conversations about if they are going to drink or experiment with drugs to please, only do that with people they know well and trust, don’t ever accept an open drink at a party, to always go out in a group when going out at night. To look out for each other. I am angry and sad about these conversations, about the fact that I am now training the next generation of girls and women to feel responsible for someone else’s behavior. For some boy or man’s sexuality.

I realize that the many people, mostly men, who point out that potential harassers and rapists should remember that a girl or woman is someone else’s mother/sister/wife truly mean well but this really pisses me off. It should not matter if I am some man’s wife, some man’s daughter, or some boy’s sister. The fact that I am should be enough. I am a human being, not an object. I am complete and entire on my own, regardless of my relationship to others. Regardless of my relationship to a boy or a man. I deserve to have my wishes, boundaries and personal integrity respected because I am a thinking, breathing human being in this world.

 

Image from The Odyssey Online

Original post: © 2016 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

Revision: © 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

JUSTICE – Candice Louisa Daquin

woman-speaksx750Today my sisters and brothers

there is simmering fine-grained rage in the quiet pockets of woman all around the world

rage has not left the room

it is bottled in corners like a fizzing drink about to explode

rage has no accent or specific color

it owns the language of all who came before

it is the woman who is violated when there were only five humans on this earth

it is the child who is taught to condemn women as their first lesson and does not understand

why the woman who nurtures him is trampled on

rage is a quiet supermarket and a grocery shopper

who stands at the canned beans aisle with tears pouring down her face

for she would rather spend hours picking out canned goods than face

the ire of her husband and the laws that do not protect her from being beaten

black and blue

maybe rage does have a color

maybe rage will not always be contained in petticoats and corsets and push up bras

maybe it’s taken too long (oh yes it has taken too long)

but the souls of the witches, the souls of the healers, the souls of the mothers, the souls of the daughters

and their good sons, and their good sons

are rising once more

they clamor to be heard

in the infernal din that is society today

with perpetual noise nobody is listening, apathy has multiplied

nobody knows what is being allowed to happen

or they turn their faces thinking if it’s not trending it doesn’t matter

this doesn’t apply to me I am not a feminist

I am not a victim. I am not a survivor. I am not oppressed

I will not take part in your embarrassing crusade

they are content to post selfies in sexualized poses to gain

imaginary power and control

by the time they learn their folly it may be too late

if one of their kind is raped, they turn like a swarm of locust against her

you must have done something to deserve that, you are weak

did you drink? did you wear a short skirt? did you stay up too late? did you let a boy into the house alone?

then you caused this to happen and you can’t come crying to me

it wasn’t the choices of the male

after all; boys will be boys

we teach them that don’t we?

with hyper masculinity and shame

we teach them that don’t we?

with pornography and permission; if a girl is lying there, you can take her

even if she says no or is unconscious, go on it’s okay she won’t mind

rape isn’t as bad as murder, what’s all the fuss about?

animals rape animals, it’s almost natural

we teach them with our legal system that blames the victim

makes her stand scathingly beneath lights and attest her truth

to a room full of disbeliever

if she is lucky enough to get that far

usually the police office will say

love, don’t you think you should go home and sleep it off?

you may feel differently tomorrow when you’ve realized

the part you played in your rape

after all … all girls lie don’t they?

what about our poor sons?

what about our vulnerable men?

don’t they deserve some justice?

absolutely say the guilty women

now there are many rights and protections for men

women, they work twice as hard once again

just to be believed

to prove what they say, because she could be lying

what motive does she have? Maybe she just hates men. Maybe she’s a lesbian!

what motive to destroy the lives of young boys just starting out

after all, he’ll grow out of it … won’t he?

like the average 80 victims of a paedophile?

he’ll just spontaneously stop doing it

or maybe, he’ll realize he has societal permission

after all wasn’t it said in the Cosby trial

the jurors were not convinced by the room full of women who came forward

they believed he Cosby was guilty because he admitted it in a private hearing on camera

“when he said what he did, I realized he had to have done it” said one young juror

it seems the deafening voices of the women were not enough

how many voices? How many women will it take?

what about the boys though? our boys? why is this all about women?

boys get raped too and when they do, nobody listens, this is true

it is about men because men do 99 percent of rapes

boys who abuse girls, grow up to be men who abuse women

the supreme court is the highest court of the land

if we allow men who have abused women in

to become more embittered by their battle to get there

soon rights will be crushed under their malice

but isn’t it fair to give him a chance? After all he didn’t go all the way?

does it take that to justify? What happened to morality?

would you want someone who had done this to your daughter, sister, mother

on the supreme court?

why do we believe her?

did you LOOK INTO HER EYES

I did

I saw her tremble

no woman

no woman in the world

would stand up in front of the universe and say what she said

if it were a lie

it’s just too awful

political shifting aside (as we all know both parties are doing it and care little for the rights of victims and everything for the machinations of the political beast)

she will have to go back to her burned out life

a pariah on the run, homeless, shamed

if we don’t stand and say we believe you

who will?

if we don’t finally stand together and stop picking apart words like

feminism, womanhood and equality

and realize it still doesn’t exist

we are the only ones who can make it happen

if we don’t all have the courage of Christine

we may never make this world a better place

for all of us

women and men

boys and girls

no is no

sex isn’t violence

existing isn’t permission

to rape me or try to rape me

it’s not okay

it’s not okay

if you think you should be given a free pass

because I cannot produce 1000 witnesses

because I didn’t die

because you have changed

there is forgiveness and then there is consequence

there is right and there is wrong

not all men are rapists

not all women are victims

but in order to survive

we need to decide

what we are willing to tolerate

I don’t tolerate a network of naysayers

who take rape as seriously as forgetting their lunch

who think it’s okay to support someone who has those lack of morals

let’s change the system

let’s get all the debris out

it’s true those attracted to politics are often, the egomaniac, the narcissist

but not every man attempts rape

not every woman is a liar waiting to tear him down

let the good ones back in

and when a woman stands up

do not be a voice in the crowd jeering her down

do not automatically assume she has an agenda

other than trying to seek

justice

Assaulted – Aurora Phoenix

you were pushed from behind

 

I heard in the breathless notch

in your measured words

that catch

in your voice

the tremulous quaver

in your understated stand

 

I have felt those hands

(haven’t we all)

one knife-wielding

– in word or deed –

while the other lays claim

with eyes or clammy paws

to my plush backside

 

you are the embodiment

of cultured terror apparent

the carbon dated anguish

etched on your skin

your pain quivers

on articulated tips

of your educated tongue

 

I jump sky high

elbow cocked in self- defense

it fades yet never ebbs

that stretched rubber band

that inhabits cells

twangs unbidden

and we sproing!

 

he tantrums

spews vile rhetoric

wields his power

his privilege

in ways she would burn

at stake

would she dare give voice

were she to cry crocodile

her ovaries would fry

ahhh those tantrums

we choke down

swallow hot with rancid bile

those that would label

rabid bitch

raving psycho

 

because well behaved women

may bare our ankles

here in 2018

shoulders even (Oh my!)

but we step NOT

upon the tender toes

of fragile male privilege

under pain of recompense