#GirlsWriteBack “An Open Letter to 46” by Lauren Bramwell


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#GirlsWriteBack is a summer writing project hosted by the GirlSense & NonSense Blog. It features weekly essays, poems, and fiction by young women writers responding to news headlines.


“An Open Letter to 46”

By Lauren Bramwell

Responding to: “‘I’M NO LONGER AFRAID’: 35 WOMEN TELL THEIR STORIES ABOUT BEING ASSAULTED BY BILL COSBY, AND THE CULTURE THAT WOULDN’T LISTEN“, New York Magazine
&
THE WAY BILL COSBY’S LAWYER TALKS ABOUT ASSAULT IS PEAK RAPE CULTURE“, Huffington Women

An Open Letter to the Statement:

“I’m not victim blaming but… women have responsibility.”

Consent is touch—free from manipulation or coercion
Consent is aware
Consent is beautiful
Consent is not stolen like a cheap piece of currency
It is not silenced, nor drowned in her tears the next morning

Because consent demands consciousness
(And I can’t help but wonder if Sleeping Beauty ever found justice)

Because people don’t seem to understand that non-consent
-Unwanted hands on lace panties
-Unwanted hands on bare skin
Is like being held at gunpoint
And life thereafter is indefinitely haunted by the trigger

Because people don’t seem to understand that those touched by unwanted hands
Are often trapped in prisons of silence
Bound by ropes and chains of judgment and doubt
Strangled by satin sheets
Gagged by skeptic stares

Because people don’t seem to understand that unwanted hands
Leave trust rotting in skin and bone
In skin that feels soiled—no longer their own
Trapped in a place where fears are validated
By ears unwilling to listen

Because people don’t seem to understand that this god forsaken prison is his temple
A temple littered with corpses of her undeserved shame
And he revels and basks in the glory of his word against hers
And people build him a statue and he claims Messiah
Because God’s hands are never unwanted

Her words are unwanted
Her truth is unwanted
Ever still, she reminds herself
His hands were not wanted

And if she does musters the courage to one day speak
They yell and scream and laugh at her
And ask her what took so long to cough up the key

So she hides in persistent silence
Because silent is what survival has taught her to be

So knock down the temple’s golden brick
Expose its cruel bars and shackles
Knock the damned thing to shambles—to dust
Spit in its unjust toiled remains
And then when she finally escapes, her body beaten, tired, and raw

HEAR HER.

Chairs


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