Outcry: “Outcry”

The first poem if this series is where the title came from. Originally this poem was titled “Lost for Words”- then I realized that was inaccurate. This poem is about finding oneself after sexual trauma, finding one’s power and voice. The first person a victim speaks to after a sexual assault occurs is called the “outcry witness”- that’s the second reason for the title. The third reason is that an outcry is what I am literally trying to raise in written form. An outcry of anger, an outcry of disgust, an outcry of protest saying that we refuse to allow this kind of violence to take place anymore.

At least, that is my hope.






My body’s a breathing crime scene

I’ve known no other life


My memories are riddled with trauma

It’s a miracle that I survived


I live in a long-dead war zone

Flinching at threats that aren’t there


At night every horror comes back

I’m ravaged by rage and despair


I was killed before I got to live

No chance to be my own girl


He deadened all but a spark of my soul

To keep me in his depraved world


Terrorized, raped, and abused

He used every weapon at hand


To make freedom impossible for me

And perpetuate his evil plan


Through the years the silence got louder

And the darkness left me nearly blind


I could stay caged no longer

So I left clues for others to find


When it was clear no rescue was coming

There was only one thing left to do


I reached deeper inside than ever before

And forced my voice to come through


And before I knew what was happening

The walls of my prison had shattered


My pain and I were finally seen

For the first time I felt like I mattered


I looked around for my jailer

But he had apparently fled


My testimony served to terrorize him

There was power in what I had said


I used my voice to break free

And I had to use it to heal


I spent years on a couch using my voice to purge

The violence he forced me to feel


Now I use it to help others break free

To realize the power they hold


If I’d known I wouldn’t have spent all those years

Wishing that I had told


© Sarah Ann Henderson 2011




About writingforrecovery

Sarah is a writer and poet who speaks out about issues that make people uncomfortable. Sarah advocates for causes such a sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and mental illness, and often speaks openly about her own experiences. She is determined to abolish the stigma associated with these issues and believes that it starts with people telling their stories, so she started a blog called Writing for Recovery where people can do just that. She is the author of three volumes of poetry and is currently at work on her fourth. She is convinced that there's a novel somewhere in her, and occasionally picks at the chapters so far. View all posts by writingforrecovery

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