For All Those Times

Elizabeth Shane, United Kingdom

For all those times
You stripped away my layers
Made me taste forbidden fruit
Forced my hands to do your work
Penetrated beyond boundaries
Hands snaked around my neck ready to silence the sound

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I endured unwanted shadows creeping inside
Felt cold metal of a barrelled gun pushed against my head
Suffered perversion of injustice
Paralysed my breath through restrained fear
Offered my services on a plate

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I quickened my footsteps down a dim lit path
Criss-crossed patterns in the road to shake away the followers
Barricaded my sanctuary through blockades of furniture
Feigned sleep to hasten your desire
Gave you permission without speaking a word

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I didn’t dare scream
Kept quiet
Stayed silent
Never fought back
Ever told

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I felt special
Chosen by you
Thought you loved me
Wanted your attention
Asked for more

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I trusted you
Loved you
Despised you
Feared you
Missed you

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I trembled to speak
Felt ashamed
Pushed the knife deeper in
Faded into darkness
Shattered into broken pieces

For all those times
I never said no

For all those times
I am haunted daily
I speak out
Fear will no longer silence me
My voice shall be heard
Truth will resonate

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I wasn’t asked
I give myself permission
My choice
My body
My right

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
I longed to say stop
Stop.
I am the adult
With ownership
Of my freedom

For all those times
I never said no.

For all those times
You think you won
Of lives destroyed
We will stand strong
United in power
Together as one

For all these times
We will say no.

Author Statement

I wrote a new poem from my new collection, for all those who suffered childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, trauma, unwanted harassment and attention, put in a position of vulnerability, domestic violence and situations where you were not ever given a choice to say no.

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