Power and Voice


The newest stats for Domestic Violence are that 1 in every 4 women will be physically abused at sometime in her life. So if you have 3 friends, and you yourself have not experienced physical abuse, then one of your 3 friends likely has. This can happen in any relationship you are in. A friendship, dating, even being married. An estimated 1.3 million women have been victims of Domestic Violence by an intimate partner.

Emotional and physical abuse are choices that the abuser makes for him/herself. There is a cycle of violence and this cycle includes a honeymoon period when the abuser is sorry; even to the point of tears, presents are given, and loving words cross the lips. These behaviors hold the victim in the relationship very often. Not always. It depends on the victim.

 

Power is something the abuser wants. This is borne out statistically. He/she wants the victim to always be somewhere he knows about. A sense of fear is created for the victim but also it is confusing and mind-boggling because the person you see is not the same personality that others see. They get the charming, thoughtful side. They see the tender, loving person. They do not see the person who sent you to the ER.

 

Voice is the ability of a human being to set boundaries and to choose to spend time with friends, neighbors and family. Isolation is the act of removing a victim from communication and association people from their support system. Terror and fear often close a victim’s mouth. S/he often feel alone, helpless and hopeless. If any of this sounds like your life, you are in danger. You need to get to a safe place. Most cities these days have shelters for victims and their children. There is legal help and counseling.

 

Don’t stay.

 

You are not alone.

 

You are not guilty of anything.

 

No matter what the abuser says…

 

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Unlearning to not Speak

Blizzards of paper

in slow motion

sift through her.

In nightmares she suddenly recalls

a class she signed up for

but forgot to attend.

Now it is too late.

Now it is time for finals:

losers will be shot.

Phrases of men who lectured her

drift and rustle in piles.

Why don’t you speak up?

Why are you shouting?

You have the wrong answer,

wrong line, wrong face.

They tell her she is womb-man,

babymachine, mirror image, toy,

earth mother and penis-poor,

a dish of synthetic strawberry ice cream

rapidly melting.

She grunts to a halt.

She must learn again to speak

starting with I

Starting with We

starting as the infant does

with her own true hunger

and pleasure

and rage.    —Marge Piercy, feminist author and poet

Namaste

Barbara

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