Poems About Sexual Assault, Rape, and Being a Survivor
Long ago you entered me and would not leave,
paralyzing me repeatedly with your overpowering manipulation,
confusing me with your artful word poison,
filling me with your bitter tasting spew of self-hatred,
planting your seed of conquest into the deepest part of my being,
a place where uncertainty met with darkness in an explosive union of domination,
and where implanting was all but assured in the womb of my self-doubt.
For years you grew there, feeding on the frenzy of my fear and guilt,
your tentacles reaching into the furthermost recesses of my mind,
overtaking my rational thought,
smothering my critical thinking,
badgering me with reminders of my greatest insecurities,
controlling me with shame and doubt,
confusing me with the mind game that is survivor blame.
Ratting you out proved inconsequential; liability and image of an institution held in higher regard than the physical and emotional welfare of a child.
Forgetting you wasn't an option when the loop of replay was embossed in the landscape of my most formative years and was the foundation upon which all else was subsequently built.
Denial helped until the pattern repeated itself and shame became the bane of my existence, while masks gradually became the veils of my acting mastery.
Once upon a time aborting you felt like the only viable option, until I realized how much of me would be lost in the process of trying to remove all of you.
Somehow, disposing of you felt like the elimination of my identity,
the wiping away of my battle to keep going, to understand, to forgive...
my hard earned badge of courage and resilience,
the erasing of my survivorship...
THE thing that made me who I am.
I still struggle with you from time to time,
vacillating back and forth between why me and forgiveness,
between accountability and culpability,
between cause and effect,
between empathy for you and empathy for me.
It was, and still is, a coupling of destiny, I have decided,
a wavelength in the television picture of my life gone temporarily askew but eventually brought into focus,
a union that has, with time and self- discovery, forged in me a tremendous ability to forgive.
I no longer wish to forget, only to share the power of adversity,
the power of choice:
of gratitude for all the trials and tribulations of life.
Because, ultimately, everything that happens to us is also for us,
and because even after hardship, after grief, after tragedy,
there is light,
there is life,
there is meaning,
there is joy.
January 5, 2021