Blame Shifting

The world’s intolerance
To bear witness
To the great suffering
Within her sphere
Increasingly weighs upon me
For I have much to tell
And no one who will hear

How do I speak
Of being raped at two
To a world that changes subjects
At the words #MeToo
To a world that shames women
For what men, like
Epstein, Weinstein
Nassar, and Sandusky
Did to them

A world that examines 
The credibility of victims
Over that of abusers
“She probably wanted it.”
“What was she wearing?”
“Did she tell?”
“There’s no proof.”
“He was probably just
Working out past trauma.”
“He’s a really nice guy, 
Can’t imagine him doing that.”
“We didn’t know”
“She didn’t tell us”
“She probably just wants:
To take him down.”

(And why might she want that?)

She’s needy 
“From the wrong side of of the tracks”
Wears short skirts
It’s too easy to ruin
A good guy’s reputation

These phrases are everywhere
But I first heard them
From my perpetrators
It’s what they want the world to believe

Permit me to address
The world’s twisted views
I’ll get back to my story
But I hope you see
How these false beliefs
Stand in the way 
Of victims
Telling their stories
And being heard

In reality
Justice is exceptionally difficult
Our courts and society 
Protect abusers
You can harm a child
Just shy of murder
But if she doesn’t muster
The Herculean courage
To take him to court
Before the statute of limitations expires
There’s no justice
No chance to prevent
Future victims

A statute of limitations

For abusing, traumatizing, torturing
Even trafficking
A young child


The victim was silenced by torture
To the point of death and resuscitation
Accompanied by threats
To her life
Family, closest friends
Beloved pets


She was but a child ‘til recently


She’s one of the lucky few
To escape her abuser’s grasp
And only recently


It takes years to untangle
A perpetrator’s lies


Some crimes against children
Are so heinous
The mind cannot hold
Both memory and sanity


These memories
Don’t typically re-surface
‘Til after the statute of limitations


That to pursue justice 
She has to choose to be re-traumatized
As much or more 
Than before–
In a court of law
The most explicit of details
Her worst memories
Cross-examined and shredded
Plastered all over the papers
Her credibility
Microscopically dissected
Morality and integrity questioned
All because she dared to say


That as a 5 year old
She didn’t make note
Of the exact time, place
Location, layout, and decor
Or memorize the clothing
They once were wearing
And while being raped
Write it down
So that twenty years later
In court she could remember
The exact details
(Which you can’t do about lunch yesterday)
And, in the strong likelihood 
That she can’t remember every detail
Immediately after
Let alone 20 years later
She will be publicly
Discredited, humiliated, and shamed

And if, by rare happenstance
Her abuser was unsophisticated enough to leave
Physical damage
A child
DNA evidence
Or witnesses
He might get a year, or two
That becomes only six months
After good behavior from a man
Whose victimizing is founded
On charming deception

Now, those threats he made?
Now is when they come due
If they didn’t already
During the court process
To intimidate and re-silence her

We think that
The greater the abuse
The greater the physical damage
But in reality
The greater an abuser’s sophistication
The greater his skill at leaving no trace
But don’t be fooled
This doesn’t mean he didn’t harm
Only that he knew how to harm
In places that didn’t show
Or you wouldn’t look

And while abusers
Often get public sympathy
Victims often have to
Move and change their names
Because public ire and shaming
Is so vicious

So, don’t shame her
If she chooses to not attempt justice
It’s so rarely
Worth the price

And now, excuse me
From sharing more of my story

Society has so much to account for and change before victims aren’t re-traumatized by telling their stories.

No one is entitled to know
A victim’s story
It’s a sacred privilege
Not a right
And trust? It’s earned
And if you force her
You rape her all over again

Society decries victims saying
“Why didn’t they tell?”
But that question is for society
To ask itself
Not for society to ask the children
Now adult survivors

My poem is angry
For I have so very much
To be angry about
Will you let yourself hold it?
Will you not turn away?
Will you let yourself see
The little child I once was
The people who turned their backs on her
Her desperation?

Will you take
The road less traveled?

Marín has begun a long journey toward healing from complex trauma and invites you to be a part of her archaeological pilgrimage through the truths she’s only beginning to know herself. Through tears she’s starting to find beauty again in life, writing, artistic expression, adventure, curiosity, community, spirituality, and bringing goodness to her body. More than anything, she treasures her time with her husband and their adored four-footed friend. Marín cherishes being part of the Red Tent community and to free her to share the rawness of her soul with you, she requests anonymity.