And Then, Poverty

In 2016, one out of eight women age 18 and older lived in poverty. Currently, millions of women in the United States live below the poverty line, and nearly 50% of women on government aid give domestic violence as a reason they require financial assistance. In 2002, I was just another statistic. Another woman tryingContinue reading “And Then, Poverty”

After a Father Sexually Assaults His Daughter

The next thing I remember is shaking out black garbage bags. I bagged up the clothes from my closet, taking armfuls of sweaters and blouses and skirts with the hangers still attached. I wadded up my sheets and pillows. I stuffed everything into the bags and knotted them closed. I don’t know if this wasContinue reading “After a Father Sexually Assaults His Daughter”

The Sixth Assault

The summer I am 21 years old, I stand in my parents’ kitchen with the lights down. My mother is running errands. My brother is out with friends. I envy him. Our parents never give him the shakedown when he gets home. They never tell him he was gone too long. They never tell himContinue reading “The Sixth Assault”

My Other Grandfather

My father’s father was made of different stuff. I never knew him as Grandpa because he died the year I was born. There is only one picture of us together, and in it, he sits stiff and unsmiling, his wire-rim glasses glinting at the camera. He has my father’s long solemn face and the sameContinue reading “My Other Grandfather”

Grandpa

That autumn I was 20, my grandfather died. A few months earlier, he had been diagnosed with cancer. He avoided doctors for most of his life, and in the end, it cost all of us. A routine colonoscopy could have nipped the cancer in the bud. But by the time his pain forced him toContinue reading “Grandpa”

Aquaphobia in the Aftermath

The British and Americans have been drowning women for centuries. Officially, the method for this punishment was the ducking stool, and one of its first documented uses was in 1597. The ducking stool was a medieval apparatus derived from the older cucking stool, a means akin to stocks, used to publicly humiliate women who defiedContinue reading “Aquaphobia in the Aftermath”

The Fifth Assault

One of the first things I learned in my study of trauma was that violence itself isn’t what traumatizes. It’s the lack of agency. Being slapped on your butt cheeks or even punched in the face by a stranger is startling and enraging to be sure. But for many of us, it won’t result inContinue reading “The Fifth Assault”

Aftermath at 20

I was not someone who got sexually assaulted, so I had not been assaulted. Simple as that. We all do this to some degree, usually with much lower stakes: I’m a smart person, so that book I love must be a real masterpiece. My child is an angel, so that teacher must have seen things wrong. Continue reading “Aftermath at 20”