Break the Silence

By Liz Vaughn

WVN Intern Liz Vaughn processes her experiences working in a women's shelter in Meknes, Morocco, through the medium of poetry. 

She gets hit.

In a train car,

in a house,

in the street.

On the face,

the hands,

the feet.

 

 

All she hears is silence.

A culture speaks,

it says, “you deserved it.”

Her husbands speaks,

he demands more respect.

Tradition speaks,

tells her, “you cannot leave him”

who speaks up for her?

All that’s heard is silence.



The sounds of the slap

echoing endlessly off the walls of the train car.

Off the walls of our minds.

Dominating thought, emotion, education.

Knocking down all in its path,

all except the silence.



She listens to the mindset of oppression.

They say “try to help her and she’ll get mad”

as if that's enough reason not to.

“She believes love is shown through aggression”

and we allow this?

All she hears is silence.



The action lingers in the air.

Shocked eyes dart searching for a target.

A place to unload fear, anger, helplessness.

Tears slide down her red cheek.

She is silent.

We are silent.



Activists, Professors, Mothers

Students, Daughters, Brothers.

Held silent by…

Held silent for…

Held silent with…

What?



She gets hit.

In the train car,

in a house,

in the street.

On the face,

the hands,

the feet.

Break the Silence.


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