“In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.”
I was never given a language to describe what was being done to me. My value was in the secrets I kept for my father, my worth was reliant on my silence. Within that silence, I existed separate from time and space. I had no language to describe his violence and without language, I had no memory. Incest is often depicted in brutal, graphics, terms but my reality was more of a dream- a collection of images, feelings, and scents. My reality only became clear in the corner of my eye and then was met with such terror, that I always looked away. A cycle of remembering and forgetting, a cycle of survival through secrets.
But it is not enough to just survive. In every person, in every woman and girl, there is life and liberation and a drive to be free. Freedom cannot be realized in a haze of memories and fear. Rather, freedom is honest and brutal and true. It is won through relationships, through community, through connection and resistance.
The terror we faced as children, it was never our fault- there was nothing we could have done and that reality, that someone hurt us just because they could, is the most painful of all. So, we keep secrets to save ourselves but secrets are the antithesis to connection.
Freedom blooms when secrets end. So help us get just a little bit closer to freedom. Women & women aligned nonbinary survivors of incest and childhood sexual abuse can submit writing, art, phrases, photos, anything that speaks to the truth of your experience. We do not keep a strict definition of CSA, you define your own experience, even if its something that is not commonly recognized or named as abuse (such acts in medical settings or enacted by law enforcement that are considered legal and normal).
This topic is not safe. The rape of girls is something that even the broader feminist movement avoids naming. It must be named though for our movements to survive, but it does not have to be named in isolation. To support this project and help build community, connection, and solidarity, we will be hosting several gatherings to provide support, advice, and witnessing to the work of ending secrets.
Please email submissions to email@example.com or mail them to Makeshift Boston
549 Columbus Avenue
Boston MA 02118