South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence


For Female Survivors

Tags: Survivor's Stories

You became a total stranger when I became a teenager
Somewhere between burgeoning chest, hairy legs,
Awkward curiosity about the boys and the bees,
You were someone who always seemed to
Be able to stand between me
and my happiness

It’s funny how…
the bad memories
can erase all the good ones
It’s funny how…
we hold on tight to the bad ones
So we can keep being angry,
And keep having good reason to

I know there were times when we were happy,
But I can’t seem to remember it
Somewhere between crayons and breasts,
I became your enemy

Then there were
cancer cells moving through
The lymph systems of my yesterdays
Destroying healthy tissues stratified with
our laughter and intimate moments
I’m like an archaeologist,
Bereft of treasures
Yet desperate to unearth
Pieces of…

You picking me up
Lifting me to sky
so I could reach out and wrap cumulonimbus cape
around me like a mighty superhero,
diving off the edge of your brown feet towers,
gliding into the skydance
of your footsteps.

I’ve only wanted to love you
Because out the millions and billions of daddies in the world
You were mine…

But after many attempts of diving deep
into bloodshot oceans
of your eyes..
Hopeful for warmth and never finding it,
A little voice, in the little me
started to echo whispers of forgetting,
Of just not caring of
the times when we were pals

Somewhere between surviving and living
your amour grew tougher,
as your heart grew weaker

I didn’t know how hard it must’ve been
To wake up at ‘men’s hour ‘
And walk to the battlefield of the workplace
Trading life force for prejudices and pay checks
They stole nature from your brow, planting creases
between them, where my kisses should have been

Some mornings, when the alarm clock rang
I would see your feet poking out of the
blanket, shaking furiously
having a standoff with your mind
Challenging that day, to be THE day that you would just quit
But you kept going,
Because destiny as choice
just did not exist in your vocabulary

I was too young to understand to
the depth of institutional
racism on a man’s psyche,
I was just a kid
Watching sadness-shaped cartoons
crawl out your workboots
creeping into the living room to have dinner with
this family, uninvited

You beat her
Imprinted indigo rings around her eyes,
Launched ballistic missiles into the pillars of this home
In an attempt to control,
to reclaim your power as a man,
to demand the respect that was stolen at your workplace
You say nothing but silence occupied
the air like in a gas chamber
Like mirrors neurons firing neurosis, she retaliates
With tongue tipped in plutonium warheads

Stuck between enemy lines,
We took cover under the bed from the crossfire
trapped in a war zone
but confused as to who the enemies were

Now all I can remember is
the deafening silence
of broken glass,seconds, minutes,
after it had been smashed,
like spilled milk gone bad,
curdling pieces of stifled words,
and knotted tummies

Never inflict violence on a woman
No matter how much you think she deserves it
No matter how she cunningly provokes your anger
Just to get some energy from you
Just to get you to gaze or even glare into her eyes
So she can feel like she at least, still exists
Beyond the cups of coffee she perfectly brews
to gain your affection

Hurt people, hurt people
No one ever taught you to be the man I needed you to be
Told you that a pen or the heart is mightier that the fist
If I could’ve hugged and cradled the 10 year old you
in my arms, I would’ve stroked your hair
And told you it was ok to cry,
To be soft and vulnerable

Just as much a victim of patriarchy as I was,
You showed love in a language
I didn’t understand
you dropped it into the sweat
that fashioned the bread you put on our table
Dyed your love into the fabric, stitched it into the lining of
My school uniforms
Embedded your love in school fees, with bills paid
And rollerblades

You put your love everywhere around me
But to the little girl
your temper spoke louder than your actions
And I have never been good at treasure hunts

I failed to find your messages hidden beneath my warm bed,
between textbooks, or in the pocket
of that sparkly dress you bought me
But to be honest, there came a time
When I stopped looking for your love
and I started plotting for my escape

When did you start believing,
That all women can’t be trusted..
Raising me to fear what I will inevitably

So this girl left for Australia
with a backpack full of dreams,
The calcification of words unspoken,
made bones stronger, my shoulders perfectly
Sculptured by struggles,

My rebellion
became my saving grace
Somewhere along this journey
I became a leader
Where I could’ve been just a statistic.

Now I am Woman, Fearless at most times
I finally found the treasure you had hid under my sleep
In my dreams, your sweat metabolized as my possibilities
Time carved you back into my heart
You are more beautiful to me than ever before

I know you did the best that you could
With what little u had
Hardworking blue-collared men had no time for
Yoga, healing sessions and therapy
Wounded boys
Grow up to be broken men
No one ever taught you to be the man I needed you to be

I love you

I remember now…

All those times you had told me that I could be anything that I wanted to be
How could I have forgotten you had said that to me.

By Ee’Da Brahim

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