Stand Up and Speak Out

Many of you know, a year ago today I escaped from an abusive relationship. This year has been a journey of rediscovering and learning to express my identity. This poem was written the day after the criminal charges I pressed were finalized in court and I was able to read a statement on how my victimization has impacted my life. It summarizes the most valuable lessons I have learned this year.

Stand Up and Speak Out
Elizabeth J. Zinn
October 29, 2015

Stand up and speak out
for the times you couldn’t stand it
and couldn’t speak it
It’s not your secret

Stand up and speak out
for all the times you were told
to sit down
and shut up
That your voice was not something that mattered,
Coerced and cajoled to never be heard,
only seen
unspoken, unstanding,


Stand up and speak out
for the fact that your truth
was a threat to their illusion,
delusion of dominance,
so they turned it on you
threatened to torture
to terrorize
if you told the secrets that shielded their shame
I’ll repeat it –

It’s not your secret.

Stand up and speak out
for all the dreams laid to rest
Traded for nightmares you forgot how to wake from-
Stand up
and speak out

Stand up and speak out
Rip out the threads of the threats and untruth,
The damage they drove you to deem you deserve,
Til you could not tell the difference
between the reality choked in their hands
and the concoction they forged
to replace
what you understand
to be real

Stand up and speak out
Take back the your power from the ones who abuse it
Who sewed your mouth shut with lies and lived just to use it
against you,
convince you the truth from your lips
that they strangled from sounding
is a lie you’ve been telling –
they can say it
But they can’t steal it –
They’ll never control truth
with hands afraid to hold truth

Stand up and speak out
For the feelings they’ve trampled, denied you to feel,
Wrung out to dry with calloused disease
voraciously craving control
and deception, your
pulverized by persistent perpetration,
repeated by psychopaths purposefully mis-preaching:
your feelings are flawed
feelings, your fault
feelings, pure shame
feelings, pure guilt
feelings, be punished
feelings, be blamed

are yours
And if they are trampled,
if they are ignored
They are your right
To stand up and speak out for

Stand up and speak out
For your rights
For your wrongs
You are responsible for your own life
It is nobody else’s
to belittle or blame
It is holy
and wholly
your own
to control
and your soul
will thank you

Stand up and speak out
and claim the word, No
and shout back, No more,
You may have pushed me down to the ground
But I,
I am choosing to
Stand up
and speak out
for I can longer stand it
and now I can speak it,
now I can scream
my secret.

EJZ 10.29.2015

If you are suffering, there is help. Your pain is not your secret to keep.

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