Today is International Day to End Violence Against Women. I am sharing my poem that was published in Chaneg ten years ago.

While Silence is Her Refuge

He crushed her being

spat on her education

raked her self-confidence

burned her plans

charted in the kitchen

where her work was never done.

Violence upon violence

visited her scar-ridden body

The pain - so severe

she could not even scream.

Silence was her refuge.

Her wounds ran much deeper

than sisters could imagine

But she swam alone in the

sea of her nightmares and anguish

Fears covered, cries stifled

Silence was her refuge.

The crowd had a million ears

but not one for the moans

of a sister’s tortured soul

It taunted her for her questions

crucified her for her speech

Word of pain was infamy

The crowd rubbed salt on the

raw, bleeding wound

Since then, silence became her refuge

A daughter now does the work

that is never done

Her spirit protests not

numbed by her mother’s death

and her own, for like her mother

she died a hundred deaths

and will die a hundred more

because silence is her refuge.

The crowd does not know

that silence betrays

The crowd itself has run

a million times

to silence for refuge

It still does.

When will the crowd realize

that silence is a foe?

It harbors violence

and squeezes the blood

that waters and keeps alive

the tree of death

that has eternal life

while silence is woman’s refuge./ Cheryl L. Daytec, 13 March 2000