by hitandrun1964

Down to the Zero of Myself


for Eve Ensler
(writer/creator of “The Vagina Monologues,” “The Good Body,” V-Day, an international effort to stop violence against women, and a survivor of physical violence by her father.

Based on a piece called “Down to the Zero of Myself” from the book “Insecure at Last” by Eve Ensler.

down to the zero of myself
here all alone
somewhere on the road

you are
in the depths of emptiness
as it washes and breaks
over you
lost, unremembered
no existence
down to the zero

reduced by your father
to zero,
his hands, his fists
his belt, his words
down to the shame
down to the emptiness
inside you
down to the zero

the huge inner room
gapes and yawns
to swallow you
into the inner reality,
a terrible place

all the things you did
all you were willing to do
to change, to fill it
nothing changed
it would not go away


swimming at last,
in the center

swimming at last
in the center
of your soul,

~ Kate

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Mother where art thou—She was 3


By the age of 3 she had suffered some pretty serious physical abuses at the hand of her mother. It’s hard to imagine a mother striking out at her child and beating them into submission. Mothers are supposed to protect and nurture build you up not tear you down. Mothers are supposed to teach their daughters how to be a woman. Mothers are supposed to give you wings and help you fly. All her life she never knew anything but darkness. Somewhere deep inside that little 3 year old it started to rain and the sad part is her life would be filled with storms and pretty soon she would begin to accept that as normal.

She’s said I love the rain, I identify with the rain, I love gloomy days and I would ask why and she said because I identify with them. Never really knowing why because you see, she had no memories. Of course she knew her name, her family, things like that but she had no memories of being small and it bothered her when someone asked her if she remembered this or that and she had no idea what they were talking about.

She did have one memory of darkness, being surrounded by darkness. Long into adulthood one day her mother said you are a bad influence to children, you have always been bad ever since the day you were born. She said it was as if the shades were pulled back and in her minds eye she saw a little girl crouched in the corner of a dark room, covering her head with her arms, bruised, dirty and her face stained with tears. The memory she could not get out of her mind. It bothered her when she awakened in the middle of the night she saw that little girl in her mind. Sitting at her desk one day all of a sudden it was as if a flood happened in her mind and someone had turned a movie projector on fast forward all these memories came forefront to her mind. At first she sat there stunned wondering why she would think such things. She called her sister and told her of the memories in her mind and her sister said, “Mom used to do that to me.” She could not breath, she didn’t know rather to cry or scream her voice was stuck in her throat. Then out came the story her sister had to tell and she cried for her sister. She was haunted by what her sister told her and then she realized all those memories that came flooding into her mind were her memories. Her mother locked her in her room or in the closet till her dad came home because that’s what you did with little girls that were bad. She was a shameful little girl her mother would say she begged her mom not to lock her up. She crouched in the corner because next came the swatting at her wildly with her hands and fists till she lay helpless on the floor in a puddle. Screaming at the top of her lungs her mother would pace outside the door. How scared she was, how she wished her mother would be pleased with her. One time she got out of her room and went to the couch and pretended she was asleep thinking if her mother saw her sleeping sweetly she would let her stay in the living room but that was not the case.

When she grew up she became very confrontational, aggressive, suspicious, argumentative, belligerent, questioning authority, and down right mean. She picked fights with bullies. What really got under her skin were people that mistreated others she’d fight them sometimes physically other times with her words. By the time she was an adult she learned she could not go around punching the lights out of an offender so she learned how to use her words. The very words you are reading right now. Because that little 3 year old girl is me.


  • MichelleMarie

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She could have

She could have maintained the title
of being your loving wife
but to know a life of safety and peace
became her only choice

She could have kept pretending
in time things would be okay
but she chose to face the truth
and instead she walked away

She could have disregarded
all the love that she deserved
but she found an inner strength
over time she had reserved

She could have given in and stayed
made that sacrifice
but instead she walked her path alone
and found she had a voice

She could have…
but she didn’t…
and now she’ll never have that option…

A poem written years ago when hearing the news
about domestic violence. Walking away or staying,
neither are easy options; but there’s always the
hope that you remember you’re not alone and you
deserve to be loved.


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Blighted Promises

Blighted Promises

Lavish Flowers Blossom in Muted Colours,
Breaking into Fragile pieces before the Jocund Light of Day
May kiss their Faces and Tempt their Blossoms to Play.

Such is the Bitter Treachery of Unkind words and Blighted Promises
When Harsh Reality sinks its Venomous bite
into Untarnished Innocence to Belittle and Slight.

Powerful Image found at: lancescurv.com

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Okay so…

I’ve been thinking about the weekend shootings in Chicago. People get shot in Chicago. People get upset when there are shootings or stabbings or murders. Justifiably so. It’s a horrible and unacceptable occurrence. It’s wrong and no one should have to live under those conditions.

However, women are raped, beaten and murdered EVERY SINGLE DAY. A woman is raped approximately every 2 minutes…beaten as often. Women are tortured, kidnapped, and murdered everyday. So, a few people getting shot over a weekend and a couple of people dying doesn’t seem like such a terrible statistic. The people in charge of the statistics say that rape is mostly unreported. So these stats are just the tip of the iceberg.

If we had a wall for beaten, raped, abused women, like the one for Viet Nam vets, sculptors would have to work on it 24 hours a day and it would never end.

Yes, I’m jaded. Yes, I’m sick of women living in a war zone every minute of their lives, from the moment they are born.

You may think you don’t know anyone who has been raped or who has been, or is currently being beaten. More than likely you are wrong. Women don’t talk about it. They don’t tell. I was at dinner with friends. We were talking about this and one of the guys said that I was crazy because if one out of three women were being beaten then someone at our table was being abused. It was his sister. She just sat there. So did her husband, the man who was beating her and causing her to run outside in the middle of the night with their kids and drive to the police station. The guy who cut up her clothes and put them in the sink, the guy who wouldn’t let her out of the garage so she could go to work. The women knew. Her brother did not.

The judge asked those of us who were being screened for jury duty if we had been raped or if any of us, men included, knew of a women who had been raped. Every single person raised their hand. She went through the crowd asking who. Most people answered with multiple names. She never asked the men if they had raped anyone. I guess that was a touchy subject.

So in the scheme of things, a few people getting shot would only last about 1/2 hour compared to women being violated every 2 minutes, 24 hours a day. Girls who are raped sometimes kill themselves. Nothing happens to the boys. They live. Women are blamed for what happens to them. At least when people get shot, it’s more of a random thing and usually not based on gender. The shooters are having fun, hunting or getting into a gang. Women are prey…we’re always being hunted. Older women are raped in cemeteries, cleaning women in churches. No place to hide, no place to run, no place that’s safe. The jury was for a woman who had been raped in a public bathroom, in one of the buildings downtown. The case was actually about whether or not the people who owned the building were responsible. We could put guards everywhere but sometimes the guards are the people we have to watch out for. Bathrooms are dangerous places. There was a teacher in one of our high schools who molested the mentally challenged kids. When people started to notice, they transferred him to a different school. Just like the priests being transferred to a different parish.

Newborns are brought to ERs torn up because males try to have sex with them. Some have STDs in their mouth. So…a few people getting shot…yeah, it’s too bad. But we have much bigger problems that the population and people in power don’t seem to care about. EVER. More girls commit suicide from rape than the number of people who got shot this weekend.

People don’t like to think about this stuff. So they don’t. Some pedophiles are released from jail and grab a kid right away. Many of the people on blogs have been abused, boys and girls. There is no excuse. None. I could tell you story after horrible story but a lot of people just don’t want to believe things are this bad…but they are. Terrified women huddle in shelters with their kids, worried that the guy will find them or go after their parents or friends if they can’t. Hard to ignore this stuff, once you know about it. It kind of amazes me that this isn’t on the news EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Oh wait, yeah, a lot of the people who are watching the news would be on it, if anyone actually cared.

I am not an organ donor. When a young girl killed herself, after being raped and the boy bragged about it on the internet, I thought, what if I had kept that horrible kid alive with one of my organs? What if a violent male gets to see or live, because of me? I can’t do it. It goes for violent women as well. I can’t take that chance. So I have a note stuck to my drivers license saying, NOT AN ORGAN DONOR. The girl was beautiful and so very young. The boy is probably living his life and not even thinking about what he did. One of the guys who tried to rape my daughter, told one of her friends that he didn’t remember doing it, when she asked him about it. So that’s nice…FOR HIM. We all remember it. We remember when my husband and son when to the house of each of the 4 boys who held our daughter down and tore her clothes and crawled on top of her and told the boys, and their mothers, that if they looked at our daughter again, or said a single word to her, they would kill them. The mothers were hysterical, sobbing. The boys left her alone after that. She went to school with those kids. They were eating lunch together at the little place across from the school. She fought them off and got away but we remember, even if the boys don’t. And yes, we did go to the police. They told us to have our son bet the kids up. So we took Tae Kwon Do classes and the Master taught her how to kill the next person who tried anything. We live in a very good neighborhood. The boys were her friends. Apparently they forgot that as well.

Hey, I’m just sayin’.


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If you are living with violence, you must protect yourself and your children and get out. We all go into a relationship feeling love and having dreams. Your wedding day was just what you had wanted it to be. You had a beautiful honeymoon and you were so happy and so in love. It was a perfect wedding night.


Now, you are dressing for dinner. The two of you had had such a lovely afternoon and a delicious dinner. People toasted you in the dining room and when the band began to place you danced in your husband’s arms. A nice man asked to dance with you, but your husband said no. He was pretty quiet for the rest of the evening.


He decided you were going to go up to your room. You didn’t really want to leave but tomorrow was sightseeing. He says nothing on the way to your room. You are thinking about the nightgown you are going to wear to bed. He walks into the room behind you; then shuts and locks the door. You turn around with a smile on your face and he opens up his hand and hits you so hard that when you look in the mirror, you see the red hand print.


You are stunned. What happened? He is yelling and calling you names and telling you are a slut because that man asked to dance with you. You face aches. He grabs your arm and twists it while telling you that you will never dance with anyone else. He is shaking you so hard that your teeth chatter. You are trying to get away and are terribly afraid. What is going on?

He walks out, slamming the hotel door. You stand there with tears running down your face. Why did he get so upset? What should I do? You clean up and carefully get ready for bed. Carefully, because your face is very sore and your arm hurts. You cry yourself to sleep.


In the morning, you wake and his side of the bed is empty. You are shocked and very confused. Then the door to the hotel room opens and he walks in. He looks awful. You can tell he has been crying. He has brought you a huge bouquet of red roses. He is sorry. He never meant to handle you in a violent way. He loves you and it will never happen again, he swears. He kisses you and cuddles you and you make up. Your world becomes whole again. He is so wonderful to you, considerate and thoughtful.


Life goes on. Everything is fine. And one day, a girlfriend calls and asks you if you want to go shopping. You said, “Sure.”

You quickly get ready to meet her at the Mall. You leave a note on the kitchen table in case you will be late coming home.

You and your friend shop, have lunch and a couple of glasses of wine. It had been such a fun day. You are now a little bit later than you expected, but you left a note. No problem. You walk into the house and call out, “I’m home.” Your husband walks into the living room where you are hanging up your coat and  begin to show him your purchases. His voice drips with sarcasm. “Where have you been?” You mentioned the note you had left. He says you hadn’t had his permission to go shopping. What? What is he talking about?”


He grabs you and punches you in the face. You hear a crack and then another punch. You go down to the floor and he begins to kick you. He kicks you where bruises will be covered with clothing. You are screaming at him to stop and he is screaming at you. He accuses you of meeting a man and cheating on him. He picks up your purchases and throws them everywhere. You can’t stop crying. He holds up the nightgown you bought to wear for him and he rips it apart. He screams you had worn it for your lover.


He took you to the hospital and refused to leave you side. You had taken such an awful tumble down the stairs. The staff allows him to stay. There isn’t much they can do for you. They bind your torso, give you pain meds, suggest you carpet the staircase which your husband agrees is very important. You go home with your discharge papers and he gently helps you out of the car when you reach home.


He is again sorry. Terribly sorry. It will not happen again. Please don’t leave him. He can’t live life without you. He will kill himself if you leave. You are in agony, the pain pills are making you fuzzy and soon you just fall asleep.


You used to discuss this type of incident with your Mom and your sister. You met a woman who is being battered but what she suffers is so different from what happens to you. As the months and years go by, your lady friend went to a Domestic Violence shelter. You never see her anymore. The shelter moved her to a new state so she could start again with a new identity. Your mom develops Cancer and he gets edgy when you go to see her. The day your Mom dies, you feel totally lost and there really isn’t anyone to talk to. You don’t realize that he has gradually isolated you from all of your friends and your sister. He calls them trouble makers. He is the one who really loves you. The only one who loves you.


Now, you just do what he says. Nothing matters anymore. Then one day you think about the battered woman you had been friends with. You wonder if the Domestic Violence Shelter is still in town somewhere. You get ready and call a taxi. You tell the driver what you need and he delivers you at the Shelter.


You talk with a counselor, have a bite of lunch. They explain what they can do for you, including legal representation. You decide to go home and pack a suitcase. You have to get away from him. So you go home. The shelter gave you a list of things to bring. You are moving as quickly as possible and try not to forget anything like your medicine. You hear a small noise behind you and you turn. Your husband is standing there screaming that you cannot and will not leave him. He pulls a revolver out of his jacket and shoots you dead. The neighbors hear the screaming and the gun shot and call 911. You are dead on arrival at the ER.


More women are killed trying to get out of a battering relationship than at any other time. Abusers have a motto. I call it a motto because it every one that I ever worked with would tell the woman, ” If I can’t have you, no one will.” I can tell you from my experience that they mean it.


Does this mean you should stay? No. Never. But the leaving must be planned in advance and in secret. No one can know where you are going. There is an underground railway to move women who are in the greatest danger. Some abusers are just much worse than others. Though none of them are good. Usually a well executed plan can take a month or more to put into place. Don’t go back. He will kill you in time or you will kill him trying to protect yourself. There are so many women and men working to help abused women. You are never alone. Domestic Violence is a crime. The court system will punish him for what he did to you.


If you are a man being abused I must give you the same advice. Abusers don’t stop abusing. Male or female. They will simply move on to another partner and begin the battering again. People care about you. So try to get out. Try to get to a safe place, a shelter or even a hotel. Talk to counselors and the police. No matter what, it is never all right to hit another person. You deserve better. You deserve to not live in fear and violence.


Zentangle by Barbara Mattio. Copyrighted 2014 for Artists4peace