Angelina Jolie has appealed to the United Nations Security Council to try and stop sexual violence in war zones. The actress, who is also a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations, told members it was “their responsibility” to act. She said: “Rape is a tool of war. It is an act of aggression and a crime against humanity.”

"It is inflicted intentionally to destroy the woman, the family and the community. It ruins lives and fuels conflict.

The United Nations charter is clear. You, the Security Council, have primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.”

After Angelina spoke, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution recognising that rape can exacerbate conflicts and delay peace. (Report by Sarah Johnston).

Angelina Jolie urges UN to end rape in war zones

For the Daughter I Might Have

Not all men are wolves in disguise, my dear. But all women have been seen as sheep, and touched as lambs. Handle your men the way you would explosives, remind them that you are fireworks. When they have shown you that they have burnt out, that they are glowing embers, you can let them hold you.

Not all men will ask to see your body, my dear. But all women have been handed pamphlets of size, color and texture, and told that they were not enough. So keep your fists in good condition, and if they insist on seeing more show them your teeth, show them their own blood. When they have shown you that they are willing to meet you halfway, you can let them see you.

Not all men will befriend you just to claim you, my dear. But all women have overheard, or had the term “friend zone” thrown into their face. Love all your friends as the family that they are, but if your men come to insist that you are a monthly subscription and its time to be awarded for the long time membership, spit on their shoes, gather your things, and don’t look back. When they have shown you that they want nothing more than you are willing to give, you can let them love you.

Not all men are sharp curves, corners, angles and rough edges. Not all men mistakenly believe that you are a snack, the answer, the problem, a punching bag.

But you must always have the weapon “no” underneath your tongue.

Angelina Jolie On War Zone Rape

"It is a myth that rape is an inevitable part of conflict. There is nothing inevitable about it. It is a weapon of war aimed at civilians. It has nothing to do with sex, everything to do with power."

"War zone rape is a crime that thrives on silence and denial," Jolie said. "The stigma harms survivors, and it causes feelings of shame and worthlessness. It feeds ignorance such as the notion that rape has anything to do with normal sexual impulses. But most of all, it allows the rapist to get away with it. They feel above the law, because the law rarely touches them and society tolerates them."

Angelina Jolie’s opening speech at the world’s first Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Watch on dignity-gbv.tumblr.com

The case that made war rape a crime. This documentry follows the lawyers who fought hard to make sure that the millions of women who were raped during the Rwanda Genocide would be given some sort of justice. Watch the trailer now!

[tw* rape/advisory: rape apologism/victim-blaming]

There is one message basic to all kinds of pornography from the sludge that we see all around us, to the artsy-fartsy pornography that the intellectuals call erotica, to the under-the-counter kiddie porn, to the slick, glossy men’s “entertainment” magazines. The one message that is carried in all pornography all the time is this: she wants it; she wants to be beaten; she wants to be forced; she wants to be raped; she wants to be brutalized; she wants to be hurt. This is the premise, the first principle, of all pornography. She wants these despicable things done to her. She likes it. She likes to be hit and she likes to be hurt and she likes to be forced. Meanwhile, all across this country, women and young girls are being raped and beaten and forced and brutalized and hurt.

The police believe they wanted it. Most of the people around them believe they wanted it. “And what did you do to provoke him? ” the battered wife is asked over and over again when finally she dares to ask for help or for protection. “Did you like it? ” the police ask the rape victim. “Admit that something in you wanted it, ” the psychiatrist urges. “It was the energy you gave out, ” says the guru. Adult men claim that their own daughters who are eight years old or ten years old or thirteen years old led them on.

The belief is that the female wants to be hurt. The belief is that the female likes to be forced. The proof that she wants it is everywhere: the way she dresses; the way she walks; the way she talks; the way she sits; the way she stands; she was out after dark; she invited a male friend into her house; she said hello to a male neighbor; she opened the door; she looked at a man; a man asked her what time it was and she told him; she sat on her father’s lap; she asked her father a question about sex; she got into a car with a man; she got into a car with her best friend’s father or her uncle or her teacher; she flirted; she got married; she had sex once with a man and said no the next time; she is not a virgin; she talks with men; she talks with her father; she went to a movie alone; she took a walk alone; she went shopping alone; she smiled; she is home alone, asleep, the man breaks in, and still, the question is asked, “Did you like it? Did you leave the window open just hoping that someone would pop on through? Do you always sleep without any clothes on? Did you have an orgasm?”

Her body is bruised, she is torn and hurt, and still the question persists: did you provoke it? did you like it? is this what you really wanted all along? is this what you were waiting for and hoping for and dreaming of? You keep saying no. Try proving no. Those bruises? Women like to be roughed up a bit. What did you do to lead him on? How did you provoke him? Did you like it?

A boyfriend or a husband or one’s parents or even sometimes a female lover will believe that she could have fought him off— if she had really wanted to. She must have really wanted it— if it happened. What was it she wanted? She wanted the force, the hurt, the harm, the pain, the humiliation. Why did she want it? Because she is female and females always provoke it, always want it, always like it.

…Men believe the pornography, in which the women always want it. Men believe the pornography, in which women resist and say no only so that men will force them and use more and more force and more and more brutality. To this day, men believe the pornography and men do not believe the women who say no.

Some people say that pornography is only fantasy. What part of it is fantasy? Women are beaten and raped and forced and whipped and held captive. The violence depicted is true. The acts of violence depicted in pornography are real acts committed against real women and real female children. The fantasy is that women want to be abused.

…[W]e women do not want it, not today, not tomorrow, not yesterday. We never will want it and we never have wanted it. The prostitute does not want to be forced and hurt. The homemaker does not want to be forced and hurt. The lesbian does not want to be forced and hurt. The young girl does not want to be forced and hurt.

And because everywhere in this country, daily, thousands of women and young girls are being brutalized— and this is not fantasy— every day women and young girls are being raped and beaten and forced— we will never again accept any depiction of us that has as its first principle, its first premise, that we want to be abused, that we enjoy being hurt, that we like being forced.

[tw: rape] There is pornography in which the woman is sadistic. This type of pornography illustrates for men the consequences of losing control over women. In such pornography, a male falls prey to a sadistic woman— who has whip in hand and spiked heels planted firmly in his scrotum— because of a failure of masculinity on his part. The text often suggests that perhaps he is a [homosexual], or, even worse, that in a weak moment he has simply failed to be cruel enough. Such a failure makes him vulnerable in the literal sense of the word, meaning subject to assault. The sadistic woman punishes him for not being sufficiently male. In the end, a really masculine man inevitably manages to rape and beat the heretofore uppity woman, and he does so with such stunning brutality that she finally learns her proper place. The sadistic woman is often labeled a feminist, an Amazon, or a Women’s Libber. She, too, in the end, loves being raped and humiliated and hurt. The independent woman, the feminist woman, the professional woman, and, of course, the lesbian woman, are all shown to be shrews who are truly happy only in captivity and who are sexually fulfilled only through force, pain, and unrelenting penile penetration.

[trigger warning for the following]

In talking about rape, we often talk about strangers who rape women, because that is the stereotype of rape, and also because strangers do rape women, though in less than half the rapes committed. Most women will be raped by somebody they know. So why is it that we are brought up to believe that rape is committed by strangers when mostly it isn’t? … The stranger in rape is used in a very important political way, especially in organizing women on the Right: the stranger is used as a scapegoat. In the United States the stranger is black and he is a rapist. In Nazi Germany the stranger was a Jew and he was a rapist.

This use of rape associated with a stranger is a basic component of racism. Women’s fears of rape are legitimate. Those fears are manipulated to serve the ends of racism.

When feminists began paying attention to rape, our intrusion into this area of male thought and male study and male activity was not much appreciated. We were told that we were making things worse for certain groups of men, especially for black men. Before the feminist movement, rape was treated by politically progressive people as a complete figment of a woman’s imagination or as a vengeful, reactionary, racist effort to destroy somebody else or as an act of personal vengeance. The distinction I am making here is very important because rape is real. The selective use of the identity of the rapist has been false. That is a staggeringly dangerous piece of information, because when we look especially at white male anger with feminists for dealing with rape at all, we find that suddenly for the first time in the history of this country white men were included in the category of potential rapists. Somebody was onto their game at last. They did not like it. It is precisely the white liberals who have been saying that they have been fighting universally fraudulent claims against black men all these years who were most stubborn in refusing to understand that rape was real and that rape was committed by all kinds and classes of men, including them. They were perpetuating the racist stereotyping by refusing to acknowledge that all kinds of men do rape, thus leaving black men as the rapists in the public mind.

In November 1978, the first feminist conference on pornography was held in San Francisco. It culminated in the country’s first Take Back the Night March: well over 3000 women shut down San Francisco’s pornography district for one night.

In October 1979, over 5000 women and men marched on Times Square. One documentary of the march shows a man who had come to Times Square to buy sex looking at the sea of women extending twenty city blocks and saying, bewildered and dismayed: “I can’t find one fucking woman.”

In 1980, Linda Marchiano published Ordeal. World-famous as Linda Lovelace, the porn-queen extraordinaire of Deep Throat, Marchiano revealed that she had been forced into prostitution and pornography by brute terrorism. [tw: explicit descriptions of sexual violence] Gang-raped, beaten, kept in sexual slavery by her pimp/husband (who had legal rights over her as her husband), forced to have intercourse with a dog for a film, subjected to a sustained sadism rarely found by Amnesty International with regard to political prisoners, she dared to survive, escape, and expose the men who had sexually used her (including Playboy’s Hugh Hefner and Screw’s Al Goldstein). The world of normal men (the consumers) did not believe her; they believed Deep Throat. Feminists did believe her. [Then] Marchiano [became] a strong feminist fighting pornography.

I testified for the defense as an expert witness on pornography. For the first time, I was under oath when asked whether, in my opinion, pornography is a cause of violence against women.

I hate that question, because pornography is violence against women: the women used in pornography. Not only is there a precise symmetry of values and behaviors in pornography and in acts of forced sex and battery, but in a sex-polarized society men also learn about women and sex from pornography. The message is conveyed to men that women enjoy being abused. Increasingly, research is proving that sex and violence— and the perception that females take pleasure in being abused, which is the heart of pornography— teach men both ambition and strategy.

But beyond the empirical research, there is the evidence of testimony: women coming forth, at least in the safety of feminist circles, to testify to the role that pornography played in their own experiences of sexual abuse. [tw: rape, child abuse] One nineteen-year-old woman testified at the Hartford trial that her father consistently used pornographic material as he raped and tortured her over a period of years. She also told of a network of her father’s friends, including doctors and lawyers, who abused her and other children. One of these doctors treated the children to avoid being exposed.

Stories such as these are not merely bizarre and sensational; they are beginning to appear in feminist literature with increasing frequency. To dismiss them is to dismiss the lives of the victims.

A recognition that pornography must teach something does not imply any inevitable conclusion: it does not per se countenance censorship. It does, however, demand that we pay some attention to the quality of life, to the content of pornography.

And it especially demands that when sexual violence against women is epidemic, serious questions be asked about the function and value of material that advocates such violence and makes it synonymous with pleasure.

[tw: rape] The Kinsey Institute, which studied such diverse phenomena as sex, sex, and sex, called gang rape “polyandrous attention.” A woman, according to Kinsey research, walked down a street. Actually, the Kinsey categories are such that a woman is defined as someone fifteen years old or more. So maybe a teenager is walking down the street. She is gang-raped: male predators follow her, seek her out, force her. It is “polyandrous attention.” That is the most recognition that gang rape has had until feminists began to analyze rape.

Last December, in the midst of a blizzard, I had to fly from a small airport in New England to Rochester, New York, to do a benefit for four women charged with committing a felony: breaking a window to tear down a poster advertising the sadistic, pornographic film, Snuff, which had been playing in a cinema adjacent to and owned by a local Holiday Inn. The women neither admitted nor denied committing the dastardly act, though the evidence against them is ephemeral, because they were convinced, as was the whole Rochester feminist community, that the act needed doing. And a felony charge, with a maximum sentence of four years, was transparently more vendetta than justice. Being intelligent and sensitive women given to fighting for the rights of women, they had noticed that the law enforcement officials in Rochester were singularly indifferent to the presence of a film that celebrates the dismemberment of a woman as an orgasmic act; and that these same officials were highly disturbed, to the point of vengeance, by the uppity women who made a stink about the casual exhibition of this vicious film.

…In Rochester, feminists had spent … months preparing for the trial. Because of their effective grassroots organizing and a firm refusal by the defendants to plea-bargain, the district attorney had been forced to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of one year.

Then, one day, I received a letter from a Rochester feminist. The trial date was set. Expert witnesses were lined up to testify to the fact that violent pornography does verifiable harm to women. Money had been raised. Everyone, while proud of what had been accomplished, was exhausted and depleted. They wanted me to come up and stay for the duration of the trial to give counsel, comfort, and encouragement. On this same day, I took a walk and saw my friend, but she had changed. She was somehow frail, very old even in her obvious youth, nearly shaking. She was sitting alone, preoccupied, but, even observed from a distance, clearly drained and upset.

[TW: rape]

How are things, I asked. Well, she had left school for a month, had just returned. Silence. No intimacy or eager confidence. I asked over and over: why? what had happened? Slowly, terribly, the story came out. A man had attempted to rape her on the college campus where she lived. She knew the man, had gone to the police, to the president of the college. She had moved off campus, in fear. Had the police found the man? No, they had made no attempt to. They had treated her with utter contempt. And what had the president of the college, a woman, done? Well, she had said that publicity would not be “good for the college. ” Entirely undermined by the callous indifference of those who were supposed to help and protect her, she had left school, to recover as best she could. And the worst of it, she said, was that people would just look right through her. Well, at least he didn’t rape you, they said, as if, then, nothing had really happened. She did not know where the man was. She was hoping desperately that he had left the area. In her mind, she took a gun and went to find him and shot him. Over and over. She could not quiet herself, or study, or concentrate, or recover. She knew she was not safe anywhere. She thought she might leave school, but where would she go and what would she do? And how would she ever regain her self-confidence or sense of well-being? And how would she ever contain or discipline her anger at the assault and then the betrayal by nearly everyone?

In Rochester, the trial of four feminists for allegedly breaking a window was postponed, dragging out the ordeal more months. In a small New England town, one young woman quaked and raged and tried to do simple things: drink coffee, study, forget. And somewhere, one aspiring rapist with nothing to fear from the law or anyone is doing who knows what.

The word “rape” comes from the Latin rapere, which means to steal, seize, or carry away. The first dictionary definition of rape is still “the act of seizing and carrying off by force.” A second meaning of rape is “the act of physically forcing a woman to have sexual intercourse.” Rape is first abduction, kidnapping, the taking of a woman by force. Kidnapping, or rape, is also the first known form of marriage— called “marriage by capture.” The second known form of marriage is basically prostitution: a father, rather than allow the theft of his daughter, sells her. Most social arrangements for the exchange of women operate on one ancient model or the other: stealing, which is rape; or buying and selling, which is prostitution.

Since 1970, but especially after Snuff, feminist confrontations with pornographers had been head-on: militant, aggressive, dangerous, defiant. We had thousands of demonstrations. Some were inside theatres where, for instance, feminists in the audience would scream like hell when a woman was being hurt on the screen. Feminists were physically dragged from the theatres by police who found the celluloid screams to be speech and the feminist screams to be disturbing the peace. Banners were unfurled in front of ongoing films. Blood was poured on magazines and sex paraphernalia designed to hurt women. Civil disobedience, sit-ins, destruction of magazines and property, photographing consumers, as well as picketing, leafletting, letter-writing, and debating in public forums, have all been engaged in over all these years without respite. Women have been arrested repeatedly: the police protecting, always, the pornographers. In one jury trial, three women, charged with two felonies and one misdemeanor for pouring blood over pornography, said that they were acting to prevent a greater harm— rape; they also said that the blood was already there, they were just making it visible. They were acquitted when the jury heard testimony about the actual use of pornography in rape and incest from the victims: a raped woman; an incestuously abused teenager.

So understand this too: feminism works; at least primitive feminism works. We used militant activism to defy and to try to destroy the men who exist to hurt women, that is, the pimps who make pornography. We wanted to destroy— not just put some polite limits on but destroy— their power to hurt us; and millions of women, each alone at first, one at a time, began to remember, or understand, or find words for how she herself had been hurt by pornography, what had happened to her because of it.

[TW/advisory: rape culture/porn culture, fetishization of violence against women - explicit!]

In writing my new book, I experienced the most intense isolation I have known as a writer. I lived in a world of pictures— women’s bodies displayed, women hunched and spread and hanged and pulled and tied and cut— and in a world of books— gang rape, pair rape, man on woman rape, lesbian rape, animal on woman rape, evisceration, torture, penetration, excrement, urine, and bad prose. I worked on the book for three years. After the first year a friend entered my room and remarked that she was more at ease in the local porn stores. A half a year later, the friend with whom I lived asked me quietly and sincerely to refrain from showing him any material I might be working on and also, please, to keep it out of any room other than my own. I have good and kind friends. Their nerves could not withstand even the glimpses they got. I was immersed in it.

Under the best of circumstances, I do not have pleasant dreams. I work while I sleep. Life goes on, awake or asleep. I spent eight months studying the Marquis de Sade. I spent eight months dreaming Sadean dreams. Let the men joke: these were not “erotic” dreams; dreams of torture are dreams of hate, in this case the hate being used against female bodies, the instruments of hate (metal or flesh) being used to maim. Only one woman understood me. She had worked as an editor on the collected volumes of Sade’s work at Grove Press. After completing the editing of the first volume, she attended an editorial meeting where plans were being made to do a second volume. She explained that she couldn’t stand the nightmares. “We should start making movies of your nightmares, ” the chief editor told her. They did.

But the nightmares were the least of it. The reading itself made me physically sick. I became nauseous—…The President’s Commission on Pornography and Obscenity (1970) reported this as a frequent effect of pornography on women and then concluded that pornography had no harmful consequences. Personally I consider nausea a harmful consequence, not trivial when the life involved is one’s own. I became frightened and anxious and easily irritable. But the worst was that I retreated into silence. I felt that I could not make myself understood, that no one would know or care, and that I could not risk being considered ridiculous. The endless struggle of the woman writer to be taken seriously, to be respected, begins long before any work is in print. It begins in the silence and solitude of her own mind when that mind must diagram and dissect sexual horror.

My work on Sade came to an end, but not before I nearly collapsed from fatigue: physical fatigue because I hated to sleep; physical fatigue because I was often physically sick from the material; mental fatigue because I took on the whole male intellectual tradition that has lionized Sade; but also moral fatigue, the fatigue that comes from confronting the very worst sexual aspirations of men articulated by Sade in graphic detail, the fatigue engendered by sexual cruelty.

The photographs I had to study changed my whole relationship to the physical world in which I live. For me, a telephone became a dildo, the telephone wire an instrument of bondage; a hair dryer became a dildo— those hair dryers euphemistically named “pistols”; scissors were no longer associated with cutting paper but were poised at the vagina’s opening. I saw so many photographs of common household objects being used as sexual weapons against women that I despaired of ever returning to my once simple ideas of function. I developed a new visual vocabulary, one that few women have at all, one that male consumers of pornography carry with them all the time: any mundane object can be turned into an eroticized object— an object that can be used to hurt women in a sexual context with a sexual purpose and a sexual meaning. This increased my isolation significantly, since my friends thought I was making bad jokes when I recoiled at certain unselfconscious manipulations of a hair dryer, for instance. A male friend handed me a telephone in an extremely abrupt way. “Don’t you ever push that thing at me again, ” I said in real alarm, knowing whereof I spoke. He, hating pornography, did not.

I had to study the photographs to write about them. I stared at them to analyze them. It took me a long time to see what was in them because I never expected to see what was there, and expectation is essential to accurate perception. I had to learn. A doorway is a doorway. One walks through it. A doorway takes on a different significance when one sees woman after woman hanging from doorways. A lighting fixture is for light until one sees woman after woman hung from lighting fixtures. The commonplace world does not just become sinister; it becomes disgusting, repellent. Pliers are for loosening bolts until one sees them cutting into women’s breasts. Saran Wrap is for preserving food until one sees a person mummified in it.

Again, the nausea, the isolation, the despair. But also, increasingly, a rage that had nowhere to go, and a sense of boredom through it all at the mindless and endless repetition in the photographs. No matter how many times women had been hung from light fixtures or doorways, there were always more magazines with more of the same. A friend once said to me about heroin: “The worst thing about it is the endless repetition. ” One can say the same about pornography, except that it goes beyond anything that one can repeatedly do to oneself: pornography is what men do to women. And the mundane world in which men live is full of doorways and light fixtures and telephones, which may be why the most pervasive abuse of women takes place in the home.

[tw: rape] Before I came here on Thursday night, another victim story reached me— another one in twelve years of listening to women who have been hurt by pornography— from a woman who had been tied up, raped, photographed. The man had made hundreds of pictures of her, he had made hundreds of pictures of other women, he had a list of names of the other women he was going to assault. She went to the police; they didn’t do anything. She went to some people who knew the man; they didn’t do anything. Nothing, nothing, nothing. That is typical. What he said to her when he tied her up, after having raped her and having started photographing her was, “Smile or I’ll kill you. I can get lots of money for pictures of women who smile when they’re tied up like you.”

I want you to think about the way women smile. I want you to think about it every minute of every day, and I want to suggest to the men in this audience, in particular, that you had better be afraid of women who learn to smile at you that way.

Equality is a practice. It is an action. It is a way of life. It is a social practice. It is an economic practice. It is a sexual practice. It can’t exist in a vacuum. You can’t have it in your home if, when the people leave the home, he is in a world of his supremacy based on the existence of his cock and she is in a world of humiliation and degradation because she is perceived to be inferior and because her sexuality is a curse.

This is not to say that the attempt to practice equality in the home doesn’t matter. It matters, but it is not enough. If you love equality, if you believe in it, if it is the way you want to live— not just men and women together in a home, but men and men together in a home and women and women together in a home— if equality is what you want and what you care about, then you have to fight for the institutions that will make it socially real.

[tw: rape] Neil Malamuth and James Check, two psychologists at the University of Manitoba in Canada, have isolated what they call “the belief in victim pleasure” as an essential factor in the arousal of the male. (“Penile Tumescence and Perceptual Responses to Rape as a Function of Victim’s Perceived Reactions,” June 1979, p. 21. Manuscript.) Their study is but one of a host of … conscientious studies that do demonstrate a significant connection between exposure to pornography and aggression against women. According to Malamuth and Check, “[the male] subjects were considerably more sexually aroused to a rape depiction in which the victim was perceived by the rapist to become involuntarily sexually aroused than when she continuously abhorred the assault.” (pp. 20-21) Also, men who believed in victim pleasure were more likely to want to rape, to report that they would rape if they could be certain of not being caught or punished. Malamuth and Check point out that this information is especially significant because numerous studies have shown that many actual rapists believe that their victims did experience pleasure no matter how badly they were hurt.
Interviewing 200 working prostitutes in San Francisco, Mimi H. Silbert and Ayala M. Pines discovered astonishing patterns of hostility related to pornography. No questions were asked about pornography. But so much information was given casually by the women about the role of pornography in assaults on them that Silbert and Pines published the data they had stumbled on. [tw: rape, physical assault] Of the 200 women, 193 had been raped as adults and 178 had been sexually assaulted as children. That is 371 cases of sexual assault on a population of 200 women. Twenty-four percent of those who had been raped mentioned that the rapist made specific references to pornography during the rape: “the assailant referred to pornographic materials he had seen or read and then insisted that the victims not only enjoyed the rape but also the extreme violence.” When a victim, in some cases, told the rapist that she was a prostitute and would perform whatever sex act he wanted (to dissuade him from using violence), in all cases the rapists responded in these ways: “(1) their language became more abusive, (2) they became significantly more violent, beating and punching the women excessively, often using weapons they had shown the women, (3) they mentioned having seen prostitutes in pornographic films, the majority of them mentioning specific pornographic literature, and (4) after completing the forced vaginal penetration, they continued to assault the women sexually in ways they claimed they had seen prostitutes enjoy in the pornographic literature they cited.” Examples include forced anal penetration with a gun, beatings all over the body with a gun, breaking bones, holding a loaded pistol at the woman’s vagina “insisting this was the way she had died in the film he had seen.”
It has plagued us to try to understand why the status of women
does not change. Those who hate the politics of equality say they
know: we are biologically destined for rape; God made us to be submissive unto our husbands. We change, but our status does not
change. Laws change, but our status stays fixed. We move into the
market place, only to face there classic sexual exploitation, now called sexual harassment. Rape, battery, prostitution, and incest stay the same in that they keep happening to us as part of what life is: even though we name the crimes against us as such and try to keep the victims from being destroyed by what we cannot stop from
happening to them. And the silence stays in place too, however much we try to dislodge it with our truths. We say what has happened to us, but newspapers, governments, the culture that excludes us as fully human participants, wipe us out, wipe out our speech: by refusing to hear it. We are the tree falling in the desert. Should it matter: they are the desert.