Outcry: “Honorable Woman”

So, after four weeks, we have come to the final poem in our series. The first six poems I posted dealt specifically with rape, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse from a victim’s point of view, recognizing the difficulties people who endure these crimes suffer with as victims. This week I wanted to change that, so I posted the piece about letting go of my past with my father; a poem dealing with the issue as a survivor.

For the last piece, I don’t want to be either. This poem is not about being a victim, it is not about being a survivor- it’s about being a person. A woman, specifically. When I wrote this poem, it was more of a wish list than anything else. These are all qualities I aspire to have, qualities that I try to live up to everyday, qualities I see in others around me that I admire. This is the woman I want to be, beyond the victim, beyond the survivor, beyond who my trauma made me. This is the woman I made, and no one can take her away from me because I am her.

I hope someday every single one of you gets to know the power of that.

(Note: I mostly talk about women and female victims here because they are the majority of victims and because I am female. I of course recognize that men are raped and abused and I don’t want anyone to feel ignored or disenfranchised; I know you are there and I am fighting for you too!)

Thank you to everyone who read these poems, whether just one or the whole series. It means so much to be able to share these pieces and help put a voice behind the silence of sexually violent crimes.

6/17/10

Honorable Woman

I am an honorable woman

I live in an authentic way

Honesty suits me well

You can trust that I mean what I say

I am an honorable woman

I know when to walk away

To not take less than I deserve

If it’s not right than I won’t stay

I am an honorable woman

I am loyal to those close to my heart

Love is what gives life its meaning

Even when we are apart

I am an honorable woman

I hold myself in respect

I treat others how I wish to be treated

I never abuse or neglect

I am an honorable woman

I’m accountable for my actions

I’m responsible for my part

Of my personal interactions

I am an honorable woman

I stand up for what I believe

I want to change the world

And I don’t think that is naive

I am an honorable woman

I have faith that things will work out

I believe that God’s on my side

Even when I am in doubt

I am an honorable woman

I work as hard as I can

To maintain the standards I hold

I will not be controlled by a man

I am an honorable woman

I have a powerful voice

I use it without holding back

To proclaim my freedom of choice

I am an honorable woman

My love is both tender and fierce

I will love through pain and desire

I will love through laughter and tears

I am an honorable woman

Who continues to learn and to grow

I am an honorable woman

And should be regarded as so

© Sarah Henderson 2010

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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

4 responses to “Outcry: “Honorable Woman”

  • Leslie Neshama

    Dear Sarah: I have read your poems, and this last one comes to me as a Declaration, a Affirmation, a Acclamation of You. I can’t imagine what you have gone through, and how you have worked through your pain, your incomprehensible pain. Thank you for your Declaration of your Existence, your Sarah Existence! I am so proud of you for telling people; for I am sure, there was a time when you were unable to speak. Yay You!!!!!
    Keep telling who you are, please……

    • writingforrecovery

      Haha, “my Sarah Existence”, I love it!! It is a Declaration, it is all the things you mentioned. And there was a time when I was unable to speak, as there is for every trauma victim. It means a lot to me that you read my poems and that you appreciate the work it takes to get from that silent starting place to here. Thank you for going on that journey, I hope you’ll join me for this next series during Mental Health month!

      Blessings to you on your own journey of self. Be well. -Sarah

  • Alysha

    Sarah, I just came upon your blog site, if you will, during my research for an art class of political outcry.. I am moved to portray the importance of trying to help those victims of sexual, mental, and physical abuse; as I too was one of those victims. I just wanted to say I see the strength in you, through your words and expressions. Never lose your strength.

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