Poetry

Dear Officer

“When two people marry they become in the eyes of the law one person, and that one person is the husband.” 

~Shana Alexander, State-by-State Guide to Women’s Legal Rights, 1975

 

Dear Officer,

Thank you for your compassion and understanding.

Thank you for letting me know my place.

Thank you for explaining to me that being hurled into furniture is only a misdemeanor

And not worthy of a permanent record.

Thank you for clarifying that fear of death is not the same as a real threat

And not a valid reason for a restraining order.

Thank you for pointing out “it’s not like he hit you”.

Thank you for focusing on how few my outward bruises were

While completely ignoring the gaping wounds inside.

Thank you for reminding me that a five year relationship

Is not something you just throw down the drain.

Thank you for your ridicule

And your attempt to publicly humiliate me.

Thank you for having a laugh with your coworkers

At my expense.

Thank you for letting me know that I was wrong to wait a day

And that I should have called during the beating to save you time and paperwork.

Thank you for making it clear that public servants are only available to serve men

And that the law provides no protection for women

Thank you for leaving me to retrieve my belongs without an escort

Because you were to busy to get up from your break.

Thank you for not only judging me for my own mistakes,

But for the mistakes of every woman who came before me.

Thank you for making me feel victimized all over again.

Thank you for being part of the problem.

To My Abuser

“Now that you have touched the
women you have struck a rock,
you have dislodged a boulder,
you will be crushed.”

Women’s Freedom Song, August, 1956

To my abuser and every abuser out there: past, present, and future,

I am a woman of power, a woman who has been empowered, and I have something to say to you.  You thought you could tear me down piece by piece, isolate me, and break my spirit. You thought you could silence my voice and seed self doubt.

But the tree that bends and weathers heavy storms grows deeper roots, and bones that break mend stronger.

And so too does a woman beaten down and oppressed grow strength and resolve beyond your comprehension, a spirit beyond your grasp, a voice that cannot be silenced, and a zest for life you cannot touch.  She is beyond your control, beyond your reproach; and she does it through the unity, strength, and tenacity of all the woman who have suffered in silence with her.
We are neither suffering nor silent any longer.

We have a voice and it is clear, and strong.

We have a goal and the unwavering resolve to achieve it.

We will be heard.

We will make changes.

We will heal the damage you have caused.

We will replace your words of hate with love, your lies with truth, and your ridicule with affirmations.

We will do this with grace and poise as a coalition of sisters allied in a common front.

We are here to tell you we have had enough.

We will put an end to your reign of terror one woman at a time.

We will speak out

We will make people listen.

We will make a difference.

                                                                                                       Sincerely,

                                                                                                       Jenny

Dear Jenny (Happy Person Inside)

Dear Jenny,

I am the happy person inside you, and I want you to tell you something.  I want you to be empowered by your past and find a way to use your experience to help other women.  I want you to get back to doing things you love like painting, gardening, and working on your house. I want you to let go of worrying and get back to living life.  Get back to seeing the world and experiencing all life has to offer.  I want you to ignore things people say to “help” when they make you feel badly.  I want you to stop trying to live up to anyone’s expectations other than your own.  I want you to know that you can still be caring and thoughtful AND stand up for yourself.  I want you to accept that your mother doesn’t always know what’s best for you.  I want you to realize and finally believe in your heart that the people who abused you and treated you unfairly were the problem- not you.  You didn’t deserve the things said and done to you.  You are a loving, capable, and independent person.  The things you have been through do not take away from the person you are, were, and will be.  You are not worthless because you were abused.  You are healthy.  You are strong.  You are someone other people can look up to.  You are someone your parents can be proud of.  You have the ability to live a great life.  You have the power to achieve your dreams.  You will do anything you set your mind to.  You will not be held back by fear.  You will not be overwhelmed by life.  You will sleep at night.  You will not have nightmares anymore.  You will live your life however you choose, and it will be a great one.  You will make a positive impact on the world.  It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.  You will find a happy place. You will feel safe again.