tape and chalk
my mouth never could
This work, “C.S.I.” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Canada. Approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. Trans* folk, incarcerated people, children, and pregnant individuals are especially vulnerable to sexual assault. Most sexual assaults are committed by people known to the victim…and the vast majority of assaults go unreported because of the fear of more violence to both the survivor and/or their family, stigma, shame, unsupportive justice systems, and the systematic oppression of all genders through patriarchy. Sexual violence is not actually about sex – it is about power and domination. Part of that sense of power and domination comes from telling those of us who experience violence to keep quiet…to keep our pain to ourselves…to accept that this is the culture that we live in…and, especially for women, to not be angry (because we all know that it is “unladylike” to be angry and to raise our voices).
If you or someone who you care about has experienced sexual violence, please contact your local sexual assault support centre (many have crisis lines that you can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or your local hospital’s sexual assault response team. Neither should pressure you to involve the police – that is your choice. I urge you to seek medical treatment and to reach out to those around you. Ultimately, taking care of yourself means that you will be taking your power back.
You do not walk this path alone.
**TRIGGER WARNING** Discussion of sexual assault/sexual violence
WordPress does not like videos much…so click on the link below to watch on YouTube! It’s worth the journey!
This work, “Hush” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
This poem a rather angry response to a Thich Nhat Hanh poem called “Call Me By My True Names” (you can read it here: http://www.quietspaces.com/poemHanh.html). I’m not usually in the habit of enraged poems in response to Buddhist monks who teach compassion and peace, but this teaching really upset me because Thich Nhat Hanh asks his readers to find compassion in their hearts for a pirate who sexually assaulted a young girl, who later drowned herself. He urges us to consider that we are all interconnected and we should recognize ourselves in each other. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I’ve faced a sea pirate or two in my life, and it made me really upset that someone would ask me to recognize that a rapist’s heart “is not yet capable of seeing and loving” and that we need to open “the door of compassion” when we think of them. Sorry, Thich Nhat Hanh, but I am mad as hell and I refuse to sympathize with those who terrorize others.
To the Sea Pirate:
I will not throw myself into the ocean
I will not slide between frothy waves
And rest on beds of coral
I will not retreat with the tides
And hide my pearl inside a shell
I will not let the splash of water on rocks speak for me
I stand before you with the teeth of a shark
Stained with blood
I rise above you like the moon
I control the ebb and flow of what is around me with my white light
I cry aloud like gulls
And my voice bounces against the cliffs
Filling your ears with the truth
No matter how many Zen monks meditate upon our story
Claiming to know my experiences
And understanding your heart’s motivation
No matter how many excuses are made for those who steal the innocence of others
No matter how often society tells me to tie a stone to my foot and sink into oblivion
I will live forever
And my name shall be known
And my name will not be forgotten
And my name shall be spoken
My name is BETHY
…and I will not be your victim.
This work, “Call Me By My True Name” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.