necessary whispers

observe. connect. make new.


October 2018

The Trial and the Verdict

He bellowed
In a voice too hot to hold.
She put her fingers
In her ears,
Held them there
‘Til her story was told.


“He came to me,”
She said,
“A traveler from the storm
wet with reflections
in the form of raindrops
and recollections
but tied to his arm.


Like an army
of one he slipped
through my door
then tripped a wire
holding tight to desire
unraveled me and
turned to go.”


Go, you say?”


The Woman turned away,
A word tightening in her throat
Stuck between the moat
Where teeth and tongue
Her courage threatening to


“Go,” she answered,
“He left as he came
with a swiftness of foot
eyes warm like flames
fingers rough
but touching me
melting me
inside and out
but then leaving
quickly retreating
an endless repeating
echoed on the smoke trails
wafting in his wake,
‘Go? Already?
Okay then, go,”
I said in a tenuous state.”


The Lawyer huffed
Like an old man
Running a race
At a pace unfit
For old men
Who huff instead of


“Let the record show,”
He wheezed,
“She saw him come in–
he was no thief–
she felt him approach
and watched him retreat
she should have known
he would not stay–”


“But he said–”
she attempted–


What he said
is merely heresay!
Haven’t you gotten
in your pretty little mind
the message that some men
and then un-say?”


Said the Judge
As he straightened his tie,
“I don’t know
what you want me to say.”


The woman looked down,
“Must I write both sides–
your lines and mine?
Or can I tell the truth
And let you decide?”


The Judge pondered the woman
Reclined in his chair
Pulled his glasses low
Down from his hair
One lens white and
One lens black
No grey in between
As he leaned carefully, close
Into the scene:
“You are condemned
because I see you thus,
the space between right and
is the space you filled
of your own accord.
Let the man go
and say your goodbye
to the back of his head.
Now listen more to what
is still unsaid–
if you cry
I will hold you in contempt
for being weak
for opening up
for allowing him to seek–”


“To seek what?”
The woman’s face
Grew pale and hot–


“The place in your heart–
you know the spot–
where softness billows,
where dreams are wrought.
Get out of my courtroom!,”
He said with a swat.
She did.
The Lawyer buckled his briefcase
The Judge exited right
The Woman sat stunned
As the spotlight on her witness stand
Faded into night.


Copyright: Jill Szoo Wilson

Photo credit: p e t e r k e r t i s


Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault

Why Women Don’t Report, by Jill Szoo Wilson
Now that the Kavanaugh vote is over, I would like to share my thoughts on why women may not report a sexual assault. Keep in mind, I am no psychologist or doctor or lawyer. Just a regular lady.  
First of all, being assaulted can feel embarrassing for many reasons. It can feel embarrassing because if a woman thinks herself strong of mind, body and emotions, she may assume that in the moment when an assault occurs she will react out of her strength. That isn’t necessarily what happens though. Instead, she may react out of fear, thus all of the plans she thought she so carefully made to stop or withstand the assault may be tied up in the lassos of fright or freeze when the time actually comes. She may later think to herself, “Why didn’t I DO something?” And that thought could lead to a feeling of embarrassment. 
Second, some men have a way of asserting their power through manipulation. Women do this, too, but in this post about why women don’t report, let’s stick to the man being the “bad guy.” Men who are willing to manipulate a woman into trusting him will also later manipulate her into not reporting his violent or aggressive behavior. A man does not suddenly become a different man. Instead, he remains the same and shifts the focus of his manipulation from opening a woman up to shutting her up. This is especially evident when the man has some form of power, whether that be political, social, economic, etc.  
Third, she doesn’t want to say anything to the wrong person, thus creating a situation in which her private story might become public. That may sound like a political statement on this particular day but is NOT meant to be. Let me say it another way, too . . . if a woman chooses to face a sexual assault, rather than attempting to bury it in the annals of her heart and soul, she most often goes to someone she trusts. And, hopefully, she will end up in a therapists office where some very intense, excruciating but freeing work can be done within her own psyche. Eventually, she can come to a place of light and freedom, thus returning her heart to a place where it can run with joy and clarity. This process is painstaking. Difficult. Life altering. If someone gets a hold of her story before she has a chance to get all the way through to the end of it, it can stir up a lot of damaging emotions, such as intense fear, depression, anxiety and PTSD. Gossips, in these scenarios, or anyone who would try to force her into speaking up could damage a woman’s confidence and sense of well being.
Fourth, sometimes the perpetrator will try to head the woman off at the pass. He will say things like, “Oh, she’s just a liar,” Or, “She’s crazy.” Or, “What a bitch.” These derogatory phrases are meant to be signals to other men that the victim is not to be believed. So, by the time she comes to a place of being ready to report, her reputation is already soiled so she knows no one will believe her.  
Fifth, when the man is someone who is known by the woman, there is a disconcerting and confusing moment when friend becomes foe. Somewhere between trust and the stabs of instinct she has a choice as to how she is going to relate to the man in the moment. “Do I suddenly start fighting this man who has been my friend? Or, “What did I just say or do that made him think this is okay?” Or, “Just don’t make him angry.” Known perpetrators tend to leave the most psychologically damaging wounds because they can leave a scar of general distrust.
I do believe women, by the way. Until there is a reason not to. I also believe men. Until there is a reason not to. Neither of those things changes the fact that women DO have reason to fear reporting sexual assault. I hope that won’t get lost in all this political quagmire.


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