The Silent Ones



A poem about the culture of silence that often surrounds abuse, and the mistaken belief that the victims of abuse are to blame. This isn't an exercise in the hypothetical. I write from personal experience.


Can anyone hear me?


The silence is deafening,
Not a sound reaches my ears.
A dark void threatens,
To give birth to my worst fears.

Can anybody hear me?

How I longed to hear a voice,
Someone to speak in my defense.
A word of comfort, or acknowledgment
Might have made it hurt less.
But my cries fell on deaf ears.

No one said a thing.

When you did speak
You stood with my abuser,
Held hands with my prosecutor,
Sang in unison with the choir of my accusers.

You had the power
You had my trust.
Because I was weaker, now I am to blame,
Unworthy of trust?

Long as I did what I was told
I was in your good graces.
Long as I stroked your ego
In all the right places.

I told you what was happening
And you called it ‘an act of love',
I was not alone, there were so many,
But I guess he was protected from above.

Shattered in a thousand pieces
For so long I carried the shame.
Shunned and cast aside,
You made sure I felt the blame.

Teardrops fell aplenty
Then became a stream.
A stream became a river
Beneath the bridge that joined you and me.

That river now flows icy cold
The bridge, a relic of the past.
No plans to repair that ruin,
I ceased my labors at last.

There are certain pathways
I no longer walk, nor seek,
That side of the river
Where victims are not allowed to speak.

“Can't it just be like it was?”, you say
I say, no, broken lives don’t easily mend.
After putting back most of the pieces
You see the cracks, they don’t blend.

Now, I try to conjure up
The 'appropriate' thoughts and feelings.
Sadness, loss, grief, regret,
But these all seem so fleeting.

An empty shotgun shell, I am spent.

Too much time and energy,
Too many an angry tear.
Too many thoughts and memories,
Devoted to yesteryear.

I no longer mourn you,
Though, like statues, you stood,
Inanimate, stone sculptures
Silent as a cord of wood.

Deaf and mute,
Your disability was voluntary.
Skilled in the art of self-preservation,
You offered your silent commentary.

You are the silent ones
Those who sit atop the fence.
Lacking backbone or conviction,
You give injustice a defense.

But, those who remain silent,
Turn a blind eye, or refuse to hear,
May one day find the world, also mute
And to their plight, a deaf ear.

The Silent Ones © 2014 by Kris Peterson. All rights reserved.

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