Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Will Not Be Quiet

I, like so many, am outraged by the article in Rolling Stone about the University of Virginia and the culture of sexual violence that exists "on grounds" and that is not adequately addressed by the university administration. If you haven't read it, it's a very difficult but important read. You can find it here. Sadly, it is a problem that exists on many college campuses. It's time to raise our voices. 

I Will Not Be Quiet 
Lynda Allen

I will not be quiet.
I will keep shouting,
“They are all our daughters.”
Every one.
Each girl that is raped on a college campus in Virginia,
or on a bus in India,
or as an act of war in Africa,
or in her home by a relative,
or by a professional athlete,
or by a teacher,
or by a celebrity.
Every one of them,
They are all our daughters.

Shaking our heads and being angry will not suffice.

I will not be quiet.
My voice will be raised in opposition.
My voice will be raised for safety.
My voice will be raised for justice.
My voice will be raised for respect.
My voice will be raised for education.
My voice will be raised for solidarity.
My voice will be raised for peace.
But make no mistake,
My voice will be raised.

I will not be quiet to protect your reputation.
I will not be quiet to protect your good name.
I will not be quiet while you sweep it under the rug.
I will not be quiet while you look the other way.
When you look the other way, you will find me standing there.
When you pick up your broom, I will take away the rug.
When you look to your reputation, I will hold up a mirror.
When you speak your good name, I will speak truth.

I will not be quiet.
Our daughters deserve better.
And they are all our daughters.


Anonymous said...

The power in this is astounding. Thank you so much - it is a gift.

Anonymous said...

So, let's hear what you have to say now about this story...i knew it was a load of crap 5 seconds in, you're writing frickin poetry about it. You never stopped once to think maybe this is a smear campaign? Maybe a dying print media market will do anything to attract attention? I do hope allourdaughters will not be harmed by yet another peter wolf scenario regarding alleged sexual assault. I hope you will not be quiet about all the real harm stories like this cause and not leap headfirst the next time someone cries wolf.

Lynda Allen said...

First, let me be clear about a couple things. This is a personal blog created as a place for me to share my conversations with my soul, not as a forum for public debate. I know that this kind of conversation online with anonymous strangers is rarely respectful, peaceful, or productive. So if subsequent posts stray out of that realm I will simply delete them. However, since I feel your basic question is a valid one I will be glad to answer it peacefully and respectfully.

What I feel about this story now is many things. Overall, if there is even a kernel of truth in her story it is still a violent crime and should be treated as such. If she is a victim of rape no matter where or by how many, then there was still great harm done to her physically and emotionally and there should still be consequences for the perpetrator(s). Of course, I would never want to see anyone falsely accused of any crime, so I hope that the ongoing investigation will bring forward the truth.

If there is no truth to the story, then I will, like many others, feel betrayed and disappointed. I’m very concerned that it would only serve to contribute to the attitude that is already so prevalent which immediately doubts the victim and so makes her doubt herself. In that way it could do great harm to other women who report an assault.

No matter the truth or falsity of the story, it has prompted a very important conversation about rape in our culture and for that I am grateful. I hope that conversation continues, because it and the change it can bring are essential.

As for the poem itself, I think you may have missed an important element of it. The poem was not about one incident of rape. It was the outflowing of feelings relating to many stories of rape on college campuses in Virginia and across the country and stories of rape worldwide. So while it was indeed the story published in Rolling Stone that was the “last straw” that set the words flowing for me, it is still and will continue to be about all our daughters.