Domestic Violence Awareness Month Mash Up: Your Strength, Your Words
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Deborah Siegel turns it over to She Writers who bravely responded to last week's call for slightly-over-twitter-length stories of women who survived. Since I am left speechless (SPEECHLESS) by your responses to the “I Will Survive” writing prompt I started last week, today I let your words speak for themselves. The prompt is still open, so please feel free to add your own response by reading about it and following the instructions posted here. We’ll continue to spread word about your words via Twitter, Facebook, and the like through the rest of October, so please join us in bearing witness and honoring the strength of our mothers, sisters, neighbors, friends, our heroines, our characters, ourselves by telling her tale and ending with the letters IWS, for "I Will Survive." (Here, in short, are the rules of the prompt: 1. In 300 characters or less, narrate a nugget about a woman who survived. She may be your sister, your friend, the woman next door. She may be a character in your novel or a figment of your mind. She may be a woman in an existing work of literature or a song. She may be…you. 2. End with a punch line, if possible. Or at least make certain it’s clear why this woman, her strength or her survival, inspires you. 3. Conclude with the letters IWS—for I Will Survive. 4.Post your entry in comments to this post and/or on your SW blog with the tag IWS, so we can find it.) And please keep spreading the word: -If you tweet, tweet the first few words of your entry, the link to the prompt (, and the hashtags #IWS, #VAW. Here's one ready to go: SW Domestic Violence Awareness Month Writing Prompt: "I Will Survive."Be witness. Honor survival. Pls share: #IWS, #VAW -If you FB, post the following: Do you know a survivor of domestic violence? Participate in the She Writes Domestic Violence Awareness Month Writing Prompt: I Will Survive. Be her witness. Honor her strength. And pass it on. Ok, your words. Here we go. Here’s a pastiche I’ve composed, pulling snippets from some of what you’ve written so far: “Silence, when undertaken willingly can be good but it becomes abuse when one is told to shut up or worse yet that their words, their feelings are relegated to the heap of irrelevance by the one who wishes to silence you or just as bad, walks away while you are in mid-sentence.” -Rosey Goodman “[S]he wrapped her naked bruised body in a bedspread and climbed out the window to freedom.” – Julie Jeffs “It is as if introspection serves as a ceremonial ablution and through that ritual the chokehold of shame is rinsed clean and makes room for me to see that I am not a victim….I can no longer stay quiet in this world, I have a voice and I feel it reverberate off my internal walls, making its slow climb upward until its melody can be heard all around.” –Elin Stebbins Waldal (excerpt from the memoir, Tornado Warning) Read more “I share because I know I am not alone, and because I know that out there somewhere there is someone who believes she is.” –Jennifer Hazard Read more “I guess I understand now where he learned all his cruelty. I’d like to say I’ve forgotten all about him, but I haven’t. I’m working through it though.” – Sarah Martin Byrd (excerpt from the novel, Guardian Spirit) Watch the trailer “She survived because he died first. He was absolutely going to kill her one day, it was just a matter of time.” – Marie Cooper “He wanted to beat her with words and gestures because it was...entertaining, thrilling, empowering. And she knew that indeed, he'd never loved her as a parent should - and that she would be....okay.” –Joanna Johnson “Pride is the man with the lovely wife who, as long as she obeys his every demand, feels all is well in the world.” - Debra Kay Hannula “Eventually, I realized I was avoiding speaking unless spoken to and answering questions with anything definitive until I had a clear idea of what he wanted the answer to be.” Maria I. Kuroshchepova i remember looking into the bathroom mirror on my birthday a few years before feeling sorry for myself a target turned victim i was the only one seeing the woman who only i saw -Kelly Fitzpatrick, from “The Day of the Fall” Read more "So big man, with your big fist clenched, hear me as I say I'll no longer be your whore. Watch me big man, I'm walking out that door!" -Suzanna Burke “Now I know I survived, I'd leave sooner. I'd still have had to start over, but there would have been more of me to start it.” -Jennifer Shryock “It is hard to see through the uncut hair, the bruised lips, the worn down self to the person she remembers herself as but the voices are louder now, " Let's go, come on, get up. I'm done, please, just leave. We can't do this anymore. I can't do this anymore." Okay, she says out loud. Yes, I am ready. Yes, I am ready to go.” -Rebecca Anne Salem "Quiet whispers silenced by the desire to see you as my truth. messages went unheeded while I danced to your music." - E. Joyce Moore, from “Homage to Yvette Cade” “After years and therapy and writing about it, I passed the story on.” Joyce Evans-Campbell (And this, just from the first few pages of your comments last week. I promise to post more a little bit later today!) RELATED: For those who are unsure of what constitutes abuse, please visit this series on domestic abuse published in by She Writer E. Joyce Moore (The image above is a poster for sale from the National Coalition against Domestic Violence)

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  • Maria I. Kuroshchepova

    Gwendolyn, wow! That actually made me cry too. I hope you got out and are safe.

  • Rosey Goodman

    Thanks Deborah.....all too often we are ignored and not just in domestic scenarios but professional realms as well....

  • Deborah Siegel Writing

    Apologies -- I did not have a chance to add more on Friday, as I had said I would in this post! There were so many powerful, poignant nuggets to choose from. Thank you to all who have posted, and to those who continue to post.

  • Gwendolyn Rhodes Writing

    Standing in the aisle of the grocery store one evening after work when all of the sudden I heard a gasp. Looking up from my grocery list I saw an older woman, my neighbor from the last place we lived. She ran down the aisle to me and gathered me into her arms saying, "I am so glad you are alive. All this time I thought you had died. We were away the week you moved. The last memory I had of you was your scream one night through our open bathroom window. I wanted so badly to send for help, but my husband was too afraid. We pray for you all the time. Thank goodness you are safe." This all said with tears streaming down her face as she clung to me. Overwhelmed with love I hugged her back. No words came. I just kept smiling and hugging her back. IWS- Gwen