The clown that never leaves

17 April 2017 Published in DOVE Center Blog

Sexual assault is a raw and brutal crime to survive. There are physical, emotional, psychological and financial effects that can last a lifetime. And even though survivors work hard to heal from the very real after-effects of an assault or rape, the reality of such trauma comes flooding back without warning and can trigger unwanted anxiety, self-doubt, sadness and anger.

The month of April is dedicated to sexual assault awareness. In an effort to honor those who have endured and survived sexual assault, we want to share this powerful poem. While personal to the author, it represents the experience of many survivors. We understand it may activate strong feelings that are not easy to feel or process, so please take care in reading it. We want all survivors of sexual and domestic violence to know you are not alone. We believe you. And if you need to talk, we are here.

If someone discloses sexual assault to you, start by believing. Reassure them that it wasn’t their fault and they did nothing wrong. Be supportive and acknowledge their courage in telling you. Help them access services like those offered at DOVE Center and remain available for emotional support. The consequences of sexual assault are not the victim’s alone to bear; they impact and belong to our entire community. Together we can start changing the narrative around sexual assault from one of victim-blaming and doubt to one of accountability and support.

 

The Clown that Never Leaves

Drive me, take me,

Burn me, ruin me,

Is that what my “NO” means to you?

 

Curse me, haunt me,

Black and blue me,

Cut me, gut me,

Slice right through me,

Is that what my “NO” means to you?

 

Taunt me, want me,

Throw me, hit me,

Damn me, hate me,

Take what’s in me,

Is that what my “NO” means to you?

 

Hurt me, numb me,

Break me, rape me,

Is that what my “NO” meant to you?

 

~Sheree Busenbark 11/26/95

(published here with author’s permission)