When all the Misfits

When all the Misfits

ūüíĖ You don’t have to rise above anything
nude 5
When all the misfits
Come together
and speak about feeling apart

When all of us
Say what is in our heart
We make truth
We make art

nude 10
Even when
everything is gone
You feel weak
you carry on

You are courageous
You are strong
Speak out
Or don’t speak out
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It is up to you
it’s your shout

You owe nobody
Your story
Your account
Your words
Your report
cropped-hiding-woman-zukuri-unltd.jpg
You know
You can share
or not share
what you survived

You’re amazing
You are enough
You are here
through all the fear
and all the doubt
all the pain
all the hell
when you thought
you’d never see
the other side
Realise
what you’ve achieved,
You’re alive

keenan-constance-359284
©GS

If you feel like an outsider, trust me, you are not alone. You belong. ¬† ¬†You deserve to be heard. If¬†you have been ostracised for speaking out, or told off because you didn’t- or how, or when you did, ¬† I salute you- for still being here and keeping going as best you can. ¬†You are immense. Nobody has the right to diminish you.¬† Survivors’ healing is impaired by the bullying we can experience when most of all we need support- You should expect to be listened to and treated with respect and care. ¬†You don’t have to put up with being shouted at, mocked , doubted or harassed when you reach out.¬† Women and girls’ accounts and reports matter- ¬† It’s time we demand our voice has equal place, in this system that has silenced us for so long. ¬©GS

Photos with thanks to Zukuri and Constance Keenan
‚ÄúYou don‚Äôt have to rise above anything‚ÄĚ .. kind comment from activist and poet Musa Owkonga

#WhenalltheMisfits #BreakTHeSilence #GirlSurvivor #RapeSurvivor #MeToo #BelieveHer #NoMore

If I Had Known

If I Had Known

Redlacewm-ed girl survivor if i had known
If I had known
what he was going to do
I would have fought harder
If I had known
How he was going to hurt me
I would have fought to the death
If I had known
He would show no mercy
I would have given none
If I had known
He would ignore my screams
Or act like my screams only
Annoyed him
I would have screamed louder
I would have done these things
More than I did
But it was all I had at the time
Against a man whose weight
Was twice mine
Whose hate
I didn’t understand
Went way beyond me
And how he saw me
That he emphasised my beauty
As if I were the enemy
And everything I had
He took from me
Stripped away
Like my clothes
And my dignity
Broken-flower
©GS

If he tricked and trapped you into it, is not consent

#IfIHadKnown #BreakTHeSilence #GirlSurvivor #RapeSurvivor #MeToo #BelieveHer

On Consent

On Consent

miguel-salgado-160276
We need to reclaim our own
agency
our body is our own and
belongs to nobody
it is not an object
or territory
over which men
-or anyone-
fight,
mark as possession
dominate or discard
and ravage
and leave devastated
when they finish
scorched earth
and try to poison
when he cannot have
jeopardise
our way of communicating
for us, women and girls
and for boys and other men
No one but you
Has the right
to tell you what you want
or wanted
or that you agreed
when you never consented
or you were pressed
to sign a blank check
and never saw the
small print
consent is an agreement
in full knowledge
of what is coming
and the right to refuse
without consequences
not a con trick
where you were cornered
and depleted of your senses
It is your body and
yours alone
you are beautiful
You are human
andrik-langfield-petrides-270368
©GS

Photos with thanks to Miguel Salgado and Andrik Langfield-Petrides
#RapeSurvivor #Girlsurvivor #Consent #NonConsent #NotOkay #DontBeSilenced #MeToo

My Body is a War Zone

My Body is a War Zone

christopher-campbell-30252.jpg
My body is a war zone
Fields of devastation
Left on her barren plains
Bombs and rockets 
have exploded here.
I pick up the shattered pieces
And try to 
Put them back together
With tears
That will not come
Shaking and numb 
I make my way 
Across the battle ground
The used condoms
He tossed aside
For me to clear up
He derides
Yells at me
To pick up his clothes
“Pick up my pants!” He shouts
I bend down 
I acquiesce 
In silence
I do what he says

Am I broken?
I don’t know yet
he told me
“Sex is the test”
If there is 
No connection.
I failed
I showed emotion,
Only distress.
He complained
He saw
Sadness in my eye
I could not 
Pretend pleasure
Not even
For him
For this
My screams
Put him off 
His climax
His stroke 
Kept going
Hard
Like
ice 
Concrete
Fire
..
Blood 
no blood
Robotic 
Fear
Breath 
in me
Quiet
Rising
Stifled
Cries
I could not
Struggle
Move
Not
My hips
My arms
I was stilled
To a silent 
Stupid
Stunned rabbit.
Stupid
Contortion
Stupid
Heart beat
Stupid
Stupid
Me

These are
Some of 
The feelings
Irrelevant
To the man 
Who rang me
Early morning
From the police

I’m not interested
In your feelings
He shouts
I’m not saying
I disbelieve you
He says
What is there
To disbelieve?
What is there
Left of me?

When I can
Still breathe
When my 
Chest
Has stopped
Seizing
When I have
Woken still
On the floor
Because
Once more
I could not 
Face
The bed

Then
When,
Then 
You can
Judge me
wanting.
I could not..
I failed

D’you want us
To investigate?!
He yells
Crack of dawn
Me, broken
Again
Are you 
going 
to co-operate?!
He interrogates
My broken body
My broken sobs
“Yes”
I say

No
 
“No,” is not a word
These men
Like this 
Can take
Yes,
No 
It’s the same
To them

No! a stifled scream
Woman
Held within,
Crushed
Like my music
That stopped.
Like the blood
That ceased 
Flowing
From my womb
That day,
The day
He 
invaded
My everything
With his hard
Calloused being

Determined
His
Hard
His erection
That did not
Care for
My feeling
My pain
My screams
on repeat
Like a rhythm
My fear,
His aphrodisiac

My fear
My stillness
My quaking,
His opportunity 

He laughs at 
My terror
My horror
My sickness 
My devastate.
My room
That swims
Before his
Realisation 
Of Sudden fun
In all this 
Premeditation
Now 
Protection off,
Protection gone
The chance  
To force pregnancy
against
Everything
I believe

Now
He knows 
he truly
discovered
The essence
Of me

“I’d better not¬†
intimidate you”
He’d said
Yesterday, 
My timidity
A station
Where he could park
His things
His anger
His directions
His misogyny
His pornographic dream

Control,
Demands.
Blindness
To my rising despair

He vents 
His demons
Hatred
He tried
To bury them
Deep inside me
As he could squeeze..
Intimate
As could be

We cannot compare it
To the personal trauma
That rages through veins
Pistol fire across my boundaries 
What he did
Broke me apart  
The pieces of shattered me
Cracked open
For everyone to see
Everywhere I turn
the perpetrator’s friends
What’s next? Public humiliation?¬†
Men like him
Are judge and jury

No locks changed
No alarms 
Can make me feel safe
He may come back again one day
The depth of this fear
I cannot explain.. 

Afterwards
he wrote me
a letter which says
“I felt I was
abandoning
you to a fate
Worse than death”¬†
Like a prophecy
A hex 

Try talking therapy, they say
Are you joking?
As if I didn’t do that anyway
A prison 
I cannot escape
While he
Walks free
Every day
From this  war crime

I, still being tried
Still justifying
Still unable
To adequately explain
To fully comprehend

©GS
3 April 2017

They say rape is used as a weapon of war. I want to acknowledge that sexual violence is a very real war on women and girls in world wide culture, right here and now. And of course on the men and boys who have also been subjected to this dreadful act. We hear you too. To understand that this crime takes your soul and rearranges it into little shattered pieces. It takes your sexuality and drives a dagger through it. It takes your self esteem and screws it up and throws it away. It takes your former life and throws it out of the window. If you are still standing, sitting or even lying down and still breathing after that, you are a true survivor. Even if you think no one hears you, I hear you. Other survivors hear you. reach out and try to find. Never give up. People love you Xxx ©GS

Rain.org US rape crisis .800.656.4673
UK National rape crisis 0808 802 9999
Contact your sexual assault referral centre
SARC (or London Haven)
http://www.facebook.com/girlsurvivor

Photo with thanks to Christopher Campbell
#RapeSurvivor #MyBody #Myvoice #MyBodyisAWarZone #WeBelieveHer #WomensLivesMatter

He Drinks

He Drinks

alcohol-abuse
He drinks
To blot things out
So he can shout
So he can hurt
To give him confidence in a crowd
To stop him feeling shy
So he can look a woman in the eye
To give him something
To hold in his hand
To feel like a big man
To smell of alchohol
So you can taste stale beer
So you can feel sick when he comes near
So you can know fear
So you can be afraid to shed tears
So you can be in a refuge for a year
So he can express his love
So he can show his hate
So he can cry when it is too late
So he can see your body shake
So he can eat and have his cake
So he can watch your heart ache
So he can justify his mistakes
To give him an excuse for what he did
and when he flips
So he can say he’s sorry it was just a blip
So you can blame something else when he hits
So he can get you to help him quit
So he can go into a jealous fit
So he can be hyped up
He can be a jealous nut
So he can be the absolute pits
So he can beat you with same old schtick
Bruise your skin that never did grow thick
Despite you know he’s a total prick
And what he says doesn’t mean shit
And no one understands
Why you put up with it
Every time he comes near you, you feel sick
He drinks and drinks
You pray it will end
It will change
So he can come into your room in a rage
It’s up to you to calm him or he’ll make you pay
Doesn’t matter what you say
What you gave
It’s up to you to save
To give him immunity
So he can rape with impunity
He drinks
He didn’t think
So he can say
It was just the drink
abuse-quote-10-1-healthyplace
©GS

#HeDrinks #GirlSurvivor #Abuse #Consent #Woman #RapeSurvivor

Rise

Rise

phoenix-bird_00448993
Rise
From the ashes of my broken relationships
From the devastation of my rape
From the obliteration of men’s hate
From the accusations of privilege
by way of my perceived race
Rise from my woman’s place
On the receiving end of men’s hate
On the receiving end of men’s sex
As if I had no other purpose
But to serve their appetite I was born to sate

Rise from their mistakes
The ones for which they
Are never accountable

Rise away from my home
Of seven years
I am just supposed to up and leave like
Sand and mud
He displaced
With the hatred of his rape
With
the so- called witnesses
the neighbours
the friends of his
who mocked
My grief
who lied to police
Tried to silence
My cries for help
My pleas to keep
The perpetrator away
Just from my door
I didn’t ask for more

The outrage
That a man
Should have to do jail time
For anything
In this sham
They call the
Justice system
The criminal injustice of them
The way it is weighted in favour of men
Who can remove women from juries who judge them
Where they have peers as policemen
Laughing at my injuries
Sneering at my rape
Mocking my distress
Revelling in their own hate
Watching my face
For signs of shame

Their anger and rage
When I stared right back
Proud as ever
Met their eyes
Like a challenge
Instead of bowing my head
I look at them
and even a man that stupid
could read my mind

You didn’t do your fucking job
And you know it
You are a disgrace
And you know it
You are a perpetrator of hate
And you know it
You probably did the same thing
to your own wife
Last night
Why
Just this morning
I can see it in your eyes
The guilt crystallised
In you fury
Your rage

You blast me from your side
Of the sapphire unit desk
You’re leaning over
Your nearly in my face
Your fat neck
Straining at your collar
The outrage
That a woman
stood up to you
The audacity.
No cctv
Tell me again
Why police never installed cctv in any of these
Places?
Where people die and are assaulted and are bullied and abused
The victims never leave or leave with injuries
While police walk away with impunity

Otherwise why you mocking the actions upon me of this guy
Why you working on the sexual offences unit?
mentality of
a sexual offender,
I mean how else do you explain your contempt of my gender?
you don’t give a shit about my trauma

Your shouting at me to listen to your voice over mine
When you were hired to crack this crime
The crime of drowning out the voices of females
Using our bodies
Then claiming it was our desire
How do I rise
From the ashes of this fire?
This funeral pyre
This fate worse than death
Which he, the rapist told police
he said yes
he wrote that her in a letter yes
within hours of his

supposedly consensual sex
that left me with injuries internally and
to
my pelvis
my neck
my psyche
my life
straight after his email read:
“I felt I was abandoning you
to a fate worse than death itself”
He said he wrote that- hell
“Detective Inspector” said
” We don’t know what it means.
We didn’t ask him.
It means nothing- less:
It is nothing”
The police meeting
about my rape
That was like attending an
Inquest into my own death

Rise rise
How do I rise
From this?
But I will
And you know I will
I don’t know how I will
But you know my will
and you and I know
I will

Months of prisoner in my own home
Afraid to go out
Just to get food
I’d rather not go out at all
Than go out dishevelled with
My head bowed
That is how proud

I stayed quiet all that time now
This
is how loud

Still
I could not stand
So I fought lying down
Sitting at my desk
Crying down the phone
You didn’t help me
So I fought alone
You try to crush me
But I kept going
You shout me down
So I put it in writing
You ignore my letters
So I wrote poems
You bin them
So I put them on the internet and
Share them
I linked up with other women
Who went through the same thing
were treated the same way
Here I am again
To hold a mirror to your face
your disgrace
And you
see your own betrayal

You couldn’t reduce this
To something just for
Your thrill

Why oh why?
That is why
You try so hard
To crush my will
cropped-gs-header-miek ed 002*
©GS

drawing specially for Girl Survivor, by Miek Goris,

#DontbeSilenced #BreaktheSilence #Rise #RapeSurvivor

My Voice

My Voice

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My voice has almost completely gone from trying to make myself heard over people drowning me out – in acute pain and very husky – so many officials on power trips – and average people full of their own importance reminding me I am small – throat on fire – and I’m not even ill- though yes, tired. Trauma throat – Rape is a crime of a woman’s voice being drowned out – and this is no clearer indication in speaking out, or reporting and how you are treated / that this is part of a culture – that continues to try to silence and belittle victims and survivors who speak out.
©GS

This was my voice before- I hope it comes back

Photo with thanks to Christopher Campbell

We are Sovereign

We are Sovereign

weare sovereign sepia pink 13
It’s not a sign of
submissiveness
It’s pain
She who
Could not meet your eye
Lowers her gaze
Looks the other way

Each one of us
Holding secrets
That would blow your mind
Break your heart
Marriage and relationships
Hiding
scared
With nowhere else to go
Bringing violence right here in my bedroom
Unspeakable brutality home
To your sons, daughters
Normalising what should never be
Stealing our dignity

She says
“Each day
The sunsets
Oh god
Shake my body
I want to kill myself
My life is hell
He drink and drink
And then
He come into my room
And-”

I’m so angry
At the inactivity of men
To change anything
This is not a problem
Of women

The violence of men
Upon your sisters
Daughters
Mothers
Cowards
you who turn your backs
Look away
Take advantage
All in your own way
Do nothing
To change the law
Make your own report
Get her to
Do what you want
Feed your sense of
entitlement

You have no right
No right
Repeat after all of us
No right
To take away our rights
Destroy us inside
We owe you nothing

Each one human
Each one equal
Each one fuming
With the indignity
Of her wasted
Precious time
Her exploited
Precious life
Her voice that was
Drowned out
Her unheard shout

If you could put
The screams
The horror
If all the worlds women
End to end
There would be
No silence
No indifference
No submissiveness
No war on helpless poor
Young girls who never saw
Any other way of life
No power cut

All our energy could
Light up cities
No silence
No quietude
No punishment
Of the feminine
No shame
No victim blame
No embarrassment
Just in feeding our children

No women’s problems
They belong to humans

We are sovereign
We are human
We are queen
We are you

Sex is not violence
Sex is not degradation
Sex is not
Against my will
Sex is not fear

Love making
Is not hate
It is not persuasion
Forced pregnancy
Pressure
Disregard
Exploitation
Anything
He can take
Pornography
Concealed
Sex tapes

It is respect
Equality

It is not domination
Overpowered
Terror
Pain
It is not
My indifference
My shame
It is not
My taking it
Again and again
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© GS 23 March 2017 All rights reserved
we are sovereign photo hands 14 copy 4 .20 c **
I wrote this after speaking with beautiful friend from Gujarat- After I had just reported to police, I had assumed her silence when I disclosed, was due to lack of empathy- I was devastated to find out that she had gone through similar experiences. GS

Hands on wall photo by Max Bender

#WeareSovereign #Consentis #SilenceHurts #NotOkay #BreaktheSilence #RapeSurvivor