Artist Staterment:

All art is meant to make a statement. Art is meant to encourage, to inspire, to provoke thought, and to cross the line when necessary.  As a survivor of sexual assault, it is my hope that any survivors who are reading this will no that they are not alone, and that it is possible to move on.  This piece was written shortly after my attack. Though it is written from the mentality of a “victim”, know that there are no “victims”; only Survivors. In the best of worlds, this piece will leave you thinking, questioning, and looking for a solution. Acknowledging that it happened is the first step towards fixing any problem, and I hope that you, too, will acknowledge the problem of sexual violence.

Survivors will keep writing. Survivors will keep speaking out. Survivors will keep fighting, until the violence stops.

 

Reflection

Artemis Steakley-Freeman


I can still feel your hands on my body.
I can smell the cologne I hate as you draw yourself closer to me while I try to pull away.
Your breath lingers on my neck after every unwanted kiss as you tell me not to be nervous.
Every bone in my body screams at me telling me to run, but I can't move.
My every shift draws you closer, like a hunter to his kill.
Your hands find the hem of my shirt and despite every sign, you continue.
I push away, and you draw me closer still, never relinquishing pressure on your prey.
Calloused hands find their way to the small of my back and I quiver at your touch.
Your nails dig into my skin and a quiet, frightened gasp escapes my mouth.
A sharp scratch silences me as I grow tenser, preparing for the worst.
I still remember.  Things like that, I am not likely to forget.
They're imprinted in my mind, my soul and my body
As neon signs reminding me of the person I used to be and how weak I have become.
The tears flood my eyes, and the memories flood my mind
As my disgust grows like a virus, consuming any withstanding rational thought.
I force myself to look in the mirror at the girl I no longer recognized
And through gritted teeth, I whisper to my reflection
I Am Strong.
But the sting of my own lie hurt more than anything else.

Euphemism Campus Box 5555 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790