In Monica Robinson’s prose poem on Catherine Howard, King Henry VIII’s fifth wife, she writes, “history unwrote me. you. all of us, consecutively. a genocide of memory.”
For centuries, our world has unwritten victims and survivors of domestic violence, minimizing their pain, erasing the control they endured, twisting their narratives.
Their deaths are acknowledged, but not their lives. And for many victims, even their deaths are not investigated. We know that there is an epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women globally, who are far too often left out of mainstream news coverage or domestic violence prevention efforts. We know that women of color who act in self-defense against their abusers are often criminalized. We know that victims who do not identify on a gender binary or who identify as men often live in silence and shame.
Language can often cause harm. “Lover’s quarrel,” “lover’s tiff,” “crime of passion,” “crazy love.” Abuse is not love, nor is it passion. It is control. But just as language can cause harm, so too can it lead to healing and remembrance. Domestic violence is about power, and it is about control. By giving survivors a voice, we can give them some semblance of control back.
“One of these days,” Marc Meierkort writes, “she will run/far enough to see that she won’t/have to look anymore over her/shoulder.”
We ask that if you do not identify as a domestic violence survivor, that you look over your shoulders to watch out, care for, and support those who do, so one day they can stop looking over theirs.
Let us uplift and acknowledge the immense grief in these pieces, whether art or writing, but let us also uplift and acknowledge the immense capacity of the human spirit to endure and grow. No, there isn’t always a reason for what we go through, or no reason found will ever suffice, but we can find a reason to focus on prevention of domestic violence. And the reason is simple: our communities deserve better.
As you read and observe these pieces, please consider the ways in which you can contribute to a world free from domestic violence. Here are some ideas.
Welcome to Issue Six.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently working in the domestic violence field in Minnesota with a focus on prevention, youth, and public health. Her poems have previously appeared in The Minnesota Review, Winter Tangerine Review, The Harpoon Review, and more. Many of her poems promote female empowerment through body positivity, courage, healing from assault, and familial love passed down through generations of women. In March 2013 she won a National Gold Medal for her poetry collection and a National Silver Medal for her writing portfolio in the 2013 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Her work can be found at writingsforwinter.tumblr.com.