Unmasked This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 22, 2013
By , West Des Moines, IA

John Dominique once said,
“You cannot kill truth. You cannot kill justice.
You cannot kill what we are fighting for”

I begin peeling off a layer of the mask that once covered my wounds
Starting with the meticulously rehearsed smile hung high on my face

Revealing anger, torment, loneliness, vulnerability
I had ignored the brewing storm of frustration in my head
Just as they said to.

Work
on moving on.
Work
on healing yourself,
they told me.
What about working on justice?
What about having control over my own body?
That didn’t matter. Not to them.
Because somehow they had come to the conclusion
That rules could be broken

By the man who held her down by the neck and told her not to scream
By the friend who said she needed a reason to say no
By the boyfriend who never made her comfortable enough to say stop
The father who said sex was the only way to prove she really loved him
The teacher who pretended to care
And neighbor who threatened to tell

By the doctor who was only supposed to do a checkup
The brother who held a knife to her throat and told her the pain would be over soon
By the same man who others said
“would never do such a thing.”

Because somehow suffocating the cries of violated women
is the best way to solve a problem no one wants to hear about.
Because those I once trusted put a limit on the amount of pain I was allowed to feel.
They focused on the amount of skin I was showing
The way I had my hair up
The way I talked,
walked,
and smiled

They asked me if I was drunk,
or high,
or alone.

As if wearing a low-cut shirt was an invitation
A bottle of beer sign of consent
As if the way I walked made me deserve what he did
As if the amount of makeup I wore determined the amount of damage he was allowed to do
As if the time of day made any goddamn difference
As if teaching girls to hide themselves from the world gets rid of the problem.
Silencing the suppressed was easier for them than standing up for what was right.
Funny how it all works, isn’t it?
Funny, like a rape joke?

People with power play by the book as long as it’s written in their favor.
They fight only the battles they have no chance at losing
They practice hardening their hearts while preaching about compassion and persistence
They are afraid of risks that need to be taken to achieve justice
They have more interest in protecting their reputation than their people
But even a dog remains untamed until it is taught the word no.
So why are men any different?
Why do we not teach our boys
That women are not objects
That they have a right to their bodies
That relationships do not validate perverse actions
That “no” does not need a reason to follow behind it
That they can no longer hide behind excuses
That they cannot force someone to do something they do not want to.
No.
The mask others forced onto my face
Was but a futile attempt to suppress the reality.
That is not who I am.
I will not stay silent.

I am not a coward.

I refuse to kill truth.
I peel away the last bit of my mask:
It’s about time I revealed my scars.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 22 comments. Post your own now!

sarahd_432This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 23, 2015 at 5:20 pm
THis is amazing. It's so real and so important and everyone should be educated on this subject. thank you. keep writing
 
Kaxx4 said...
Jul. 22, 2015 at 4:16 pm
This is beautifully written.
 
writer8594 said...
Jul. 9, 2015 at 5:12 pm
I'm speechless.
 
Joey8 said...
May 5, 2015 at 9:29 pm
SO moving and beautiful. I am currently dealing with something similar. I was assaulted by 5 young men and your poem has helped me feel less alone
 
ROYALPURPLE said...
May 5, 2015 at 6:17 pm
I'm honestly speechless; you blended poetry and prose perfectly to create a beautiful sort of sad story. Everything in this poem is true. #stoptheblame
 
OurVoices said...
Jan. 26, 2015 at 7:34 pm
this is amazing, truly amazing. there are those poems and short stories that you click on and read and forget, but this is definitely not one of them. I felt so many emotions while reading it, as if the whole world had stopped but this poem. thank you so much for unmasking and sharing this with the world, it is beautiful truth and i admire you so much for the courage it took to survive what happened to you and to share it in this way, you are braver than i could ever be. congratulations.
 
LadyBlanc This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 23, 2015 at 2:37 pm
This is... perfect. Victim blaming HAS to stop.
 
MissEmilyDickinson This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 20, 2015 at 12:24 pm
I've been meaning to comment on this, but I've been so busy; which is a bad excuse, I know and for that I apologize. I absolutely love this. This is amazing and phenomenal. There' so much honesty and feeling and rawness and bravery and beauty; and just so much. There's so much in this. It's just phenomenal and filled with truth. You're an amazing and beautiful and talented wand strong writer and person. You have talent and greatness and light and beauty in you; and so much more. All of this ... (more »)
 
ISeetheStars said...
Jan. 20, 2015 at 8:07 am
There are no words to describe this. Thank you.
 
Made_Of_Greed said...
Jan. 15, 2015 at 7:41 pm
It must have been a struggle to get through that experience. I know that this is a big issue throughout the entire world, and it's tragic how it all goes unpunished. Even more so when victims take their lives because of it. You are quite an inspiration for writing this and coming out. I pray that your bravery would never falter.
 
RosieRivtrThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 9, 2015 at 10:23 pm
Thank you for writing this poem. Awareness for this issue is always needed. The injustice described is evil. Thank you for standing up.
 
HbkooyThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 8, 2015 at 9:58 pm
Gave me shivers, love it!
 
houston said...
Jan. 6, 2015 at 6:06 am
fantastically brave! i may never have gone through this but it is difficult to speak and i just loved it, i totally agree that women are not objects!
 
Mona said...
Jan. 5, 2015 at 9:27 pm
This was beautiful. The society has become more and more susceptible to injustice, having the media focus on the small things like legalizing marijuana and not standing for rights. A woman is raped in America every hour and frankly the victim is usually the only one punished. The American government needs to stop focusing on the pointless things and do their job; provide security.
 
SophiaD11 said...
Jan. 3, 2015 at 4:17 pm
I'm glad I took the time to read this. This is the kind of poetry that makes me proud to visit this site. It's chilling and haunting, and needs recognition. Thank you for sharing.
 
bella-nielsen said...
Jan. 3, 2015 at 1:30 pm
this is absouluyely chilling . thank you for speaking out
 
RedHadan This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 1, 2015 at 4:58 pm
Holy crap. This was amazingly well done!
 
recovery said...
Nov. 28, 2013 at 11:24 pm
This is amazing.
 
BerriBelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 30, 2013 at 12:39 pm
You're amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
 
Lilia This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 28, 2013 at 9:06 pm
This gave me chills. I want everyone to read it. 
 
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