Why ‘We Will Not Be Silenced’

I am a writer, an editor, and publisher with a background in clinical social work and neurodegenerative research.  I am a mother, a wife, pansexual, dyslexic, living with Bipolar II, and fibromyalgia.  I am an artist, an avid reader, and lifelong advocate for social justice.

I am also a sexual abuse survivor.

Like many sexual abuse survivors, I kept my story to myself for many, many years.  For decades, I only shared my story with the people I was most emotionally and physically intimate with.

Partially my silence was to protect the innocent who could still be hurt by the fallout of my story, partially because of shame, partially because I told myself that what happened to me wasn’t so bad compared to what has happened to so many others, and partially because I didn’t want to be viewed as damaged.  I didn’t need, or want, anyone’s pity.

When I turned 50, I realized that my silence was slowly eating me alive and was keeping me stuck in a place in a place of shame and self-blame that served no one but my now-dead abuser.  So I started to write and tell my story creatively.  It was terrifying, painful, empowering, healing and incredibly validating when others started to tell me what an impact my writing had on them.  They told me they felt less alone.  Some said that I had written exactly what they had always needed to say but couldn’t.  I cannot express how profound this feedback was or how motivating.

This lead to the founding of Blood Into Ink with Kindra M. Austin, 1Wise-Woman, Aurora Phoenix, and others.  I felt strongly that we needed a place to collect the stories of trauma survival warriors and show that they were so much more than victims.

This led me to ask Rachel Finch, the incredible founder of the Bruised But Not Broken Community, to let me publish her stunning book of poetry A Sparrow Stirs its Wings about her own experience with abuse and healing through Sudden Denouement Publishing.  This led me to prepare the manuscript for The Myths of Girlhood, a collection of writing about my own experiences with sexual abuse, PTSD, and life of a survivor.

It also lead me to turn to my incredible network of survival warriors when the recent Kavanaugh hearings rocked the United States,  communicating to the world how little our stories as survivors are valued, how easy it is for some people to turn a blind eye, and how many would rather accuse a survivor of lying than accept that rapists and harassers are not always monsters who live in dark caves, but can be the boy next door, our classmate who is a star of the basketball team, our judges, our heroes.

Candice Louisa Daquin, Kindra M. Austin, Rachel Finch and I believe that it is more important than ever for women AND men who have been sexually harassed, sexually abused to tell their stories.  To be heard.  For our diversity and our commonalities to be seen.  We Will Not Be Silenced is just the beginning of our response to these recent events that have shaken us, outraged us, and motivated us to encourage others to break their silence, to use creativity and community to heal, to connect, to fight back.

We will be accepting submissions for We Will Not Be Silenced until midnight on Monday, October 15th.  There is still time for your voice to be heard.  We are stronger together.  It is time to be loud.

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