How Does One Break the Silence about the Pain?

zora.jpg

What does #LoveWITHAccountability look like?

"If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoy it." ~Zora Neale Hurston

The rhetorical question most especially in instances of unspeakable violence is how does one break the silence about the pain?

So often victim-survivors of child sexual abuse, adult rape, and white supremacist violence are either encouraged/coerced to mute their pain OR not display any residuals of anger or outage when discussing their pain. More often than not, the feelings of the harm doers/perpetrators AND bystanders supersede the actual violence or harm that was caused.

Silence is Broken

jamesbaldwin.jpg

James Baldwin was speaking to white people in response to all of the white supremacist lies told/taught about Black people in AmeriKKKA

I also apply this profound quote to those who overtly and covertly blame survivors of incest, child sexual abuse, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence for breaking their silences. When we are able to break our silences, even if it means completely relinquishing family loyalty, we are often called crazy, liars, delusional, and/or mentally unstable by any and everyone who has a need to protect themselves, protect the ones who violated/battered and the ones who condoned it. Sometimes it is the same person, often there are many directly and indirectly involved. No form of violence happens in a vacuum.

No More Masks

autnjessie.jpg

I came across this photo [circa 1971] while packing up my apartment.

My Great Aunt Jessie Neal Hudson and I never had the opportunity to get to really know each other. Despite this I always felt a connection to and with this trailblazing woman. Part of the connection is definitely because of the biological lineage that I inherited from her matrilineal line. The other part, however, is because we were both molested as children. Similar to me, Aunt Jessie also told what was happening to her either during or shortly after the abuse began.
There is a discrepancy in the narratives about the timing of what happened after her disclosure to her mother (my great grandmother). What is 100% certain is that for most if not all of Aunt Jessie's life she struggled hard with feeling like there wasn't enough done to either protect her and I would offer console her. It was easy to focus on her alcoholism than it was to focus on her desire for love with accountability as a balm on a festering wound that alcohol could never heal.

Aunt Jessie told me part of her story during one of possibly only two one on one visits with her in her beloved Chicago. It was in 1993. I initiated the trip because I wanted to spend time and get to know her. I didn't share any part of my story as an incest or rape survivor with her at that time.I also never took the opportunity to share with her before she became an ancestor in 1996.

Over these past few months, I've often imagined what would've happened if Aunt Jessie knew what happened to me when I was a child. Would she have demanded that both my parents do something post haste or would she have buried her head in the sand. If she knew in 1993, when I was 24, would she have asked me why in the hell was everyone still acting as if nothing ever happened to me? I'll never ever know the answers to these imagined scenarios. I know that these wretched child sexual abuse legacies thrive in an intergenerational familial code of silence.

 

On Letting Go

lettinggo.jpg

Letting go has been my hardcore non-negotiable theme in all aspects of my family/friend/activist/professional lives for 2015. 


Letting go ain’t easy at all but often it is necessary for healing and liberation.

Settling is no longer an option.


#PhoenixRising
#SelfLove
#Boundaries
#DontPissOnMeAndCallItRain
#ComeCorrectOrDontComeAtAll

Phoenix Rising

octaviabutler.jpg

I Am A Phoenix Rising from the Incest / Child Sexual Abuse Ashes
Image shared by Amita Swadhin of Mirror Memoirs. Amita writes “morning meditation, courtesy of Aishah Shahidah Simmons. I am #grateful to have a phoenix heart. 🔥❤️ #OctaviaButler”

Octavia Butler was a prolific clairvoyant writer whose legacies live. I believe she was a prophet in our midst. She had the gift of sight. If you don’t know work, google and buy immediately. Also check out the hot off the press anthology Octavia's Brood, edited by Walidah Imarisha and Adrienne Maree Brown.