Best of GS&NS: "An Open Letter to 46" By Lauren Bramwell

GirlSense & NonSense is celebrating its 2nd birthday by sharing the best of our publication since starting in July 2014!

"An Open Letter to 46" first appeared on August 6th, 2015.


#GirlsWriteBack was a summer writing project hosted by the GirlSense & NonSense website in 2015. It featured weekly essays, poems, and fiction by young women writers responding to news headlines.


"An Open Letter to 46"

By Lauren Bramwell

Responding to: "'I'M NO LONGER AFRAID’: 35 WOMEN TELL THEIR STORIES ABOUT BEING ASSAULTED BY BILL COSBY, AND THE CULTURE THAT WOULDN’T LISTEN", New York Magazine & "THE WAY BILL COSBY'S LAWYER TALKS ABOUT ASSAULT IS PEAK RAPE CULTURE", Huffington Women

 

An Open Letter to the Statement:

“I’m not victim blaming but… women have responsibility.”

Consent is touch—free from manipulation or coercion Consent is aware Consent is beautiful Consent is not stolen like a cheap piece of currency It is not silenced, nor drowned in her tears the next morning

Because consent demands consciousness (And I can’t help but wonder if Sleeping Beauty ever found justice)

Because people don’t seem to understand that non-consent -Unwanted hands on lace panties -Unwanted hands on bare skin Is like being held at gunpoint And life thereafter is indefinitely haunted by the trigger

Because people don’t seem to understand that those touched by unwanted hands Are often trapped in prisons of silence Bound by ropes and chains of judgment and doubt Strangled by satin sheets Gagged by skeptic stares

Because people don’t seem to understand that unwanted hands Leave trust rotting in skin and bone In skin that feels soiled—no longer their own Trapped in a place where fears are validated By ears unwilling to listen

Because people don’t seem to understand that this god forsaken prison is his temple A temple littered with corpses of her undeserved shame And he revels and basks in the glory of his word against hers And people build him a statue and he claims Messiah Because God’s hands are never unwanted

Her words are unwanted Her truth is unwanted Ever still, she reminds herself His hands were not wanted

And if she does musters the courage to one day speak They yell and scream and laugh at her And ask her what took so long to cough up the key

So she hides in persistent silence Because silent is what survival has taught her to be

So knock down the temple’s golden brick Expose its cruel bars and shackles Knock the damned thing to shambles—to dust Spit in its unjust toiled remains And then when she finally escapes, her body beaten, tired, and raw

HEAR HER.