1. Notes On Gregory Sherl: The world makes me want to hide in my bed/ but I was raped in my bed/ & this is how you end up on fire/ this is how you end up dead

    TW: the essay below contains depictions of abuse & domestic violence
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    "Some of the glib dismissals of ‘call out culture’ make my blood boil. I say glib because they imply it is easy to call people out, or even that it has become a new social norm. I know, for instance, how hard it is to get sexual harassment taken seriously. Individuals get away with it all the time. They get away with it because of the system. It is normalised and understood as the way things are. Individual women have to speak out, and testify over and over again; and still there is a system in place, a system that is working, that stops women from being heard. In a case when a woman is harassed by an individual man, she has to work hard to call him out.  She often has to keep saying it because he keeps doing it. Calling out an individual matters, even when the system is also what is bruising: the violence directed against you by somebody is a violence that leaves a trace upon you whether that trace is visible or not. And: there is a system which creates him, supports him, and gives him a sense that he has a right to do what he does. To challenge him is to challenge a system." —Sara Ahmed
     

    It’s been over eight months since allegations of abuse against poet & novelist Gregory Sherl first came to light. You can read many of these words here, some words by Kia Groom here, more words from Kat Dixon here & here, and words from myself here, here, & here. I’ve written poems about this here & here. A domestic violence relief fundraiser was started here

    But it’s increasingly clear that our words don’t always mean a whole lot, and this is true not just for us but for victims everywhere. We are questioned, silenced, minimized, ignored. And anyone who engages in this silencing is an accomplice to the crimes themselves, upholding the systems that normalize and thus perpetuate such violence. We speak about this publicly not only because Gregory Sherl is a published author who tends to prey on women who admire his work but also because violence against women is a human right’s issue. We speak about this publicly because these are public issues. And we speak about our rape and abuse not because we think we are special for having endured it but because we know we are not. 

    Nearly 7.8 million women have been raped by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.

    One in every four women will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime.

    It’d be nice if it went away. It’d be nice if our words were enough. But we don’t live in a nice world. We live in this world. 

    And I live here, in this apartment. This is my home. This is what it looks like. 

    This is where he stood when he shouted at me for wearing a T-shirt to bed. I wasn’t supposed to wear a T-shirt to bed. I was supposed to be naked. This is where he stood and this is where he raged. This is where he stood the first time I heard how big his voice could get.

    his voice that you haven’t figured out how to describe but every time you think about it you see him with his black hair screaming across the sky of your brain, you see him with his black hair, you see him and you wonder why the sky doesn’t have more holes in it, how that blue stays so blue

    This is where he screamed I NEVER WANT TO FUCKING SEE YOU AGAIN. 

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    This is the collection of books from which he took one and threw it across the room. I wasn’t supposed to have slept with a poet before him and I especially was not supposed to own any books from this poet. I would show you the book but I had to throw it away. I didn’t want to throw it away. I knew I didn’t do anything wrong by owning this book. It was still in a box. I’d just moved in. But it was my fault, it was my fault, I was very very bad for having this book. 

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    This is the dashboard of my car where he slammed his fist after I said I didn’t want to pull over and put my mouth on his cock. It was 2 AM, some highway in Missouri or maybe we were already in Iowa. I’d driven the 14 hours to his apartment in Mississippi because he couldn’t pack his suitcase and I really thought he might die if I didn’t come to him. He was always almost dying. I had his local police department in my phone, in case of an ambulance, in case of emergency (I was the emergency, I needed the ambulance). And when I said I couldn’t make the drive he tried to break up with me. But then he didn’t, he didn’t mean it, he said he said he said, he said he just loved me so much. He needed me. The night I arrived was the first night he raped me but I’ll tell that story another time. I drove most of the way back to Minnesota and when I said I didn’t want to pull over and put my mouth on his cock this is where he slammed his fist and said Jesus you’re so fucking cruel. I cried and he ignored me for hours until suddenly he didn’t. Suddenly it was as if it never happened. 

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    This is my shower and this is where he screamed Are you going to fix this?! This is all your fault. Now take a shower with me. Have sex with me and fix this. 

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    This is the chair he kicked over on Mother’s Day. This is where he told me I was such a cold person. I wasn’t feeling well. At the time I was really struggling with my anorexia and the thought of a Mother’s Day brunch was too overwhelming. I said I’d rather stay in and make pancakes, less calories. I started making the pancakes and joked, Hey, how come I’m making the pancakes? It was not a good idea to make a joke. This is the chair he kicked after he knocked everything that was on the table off of it. This is the chair he kicked after yelling at me for making him feel guilty for not making pancakes. YOU’RE SUCH A COLD PERSON, YOU KNOW THAT RIGHT?

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    This is my sofa. This is where he spent the day ignoring me because I got up and left the house without having sex with him and didn’t want to have sex with him immediately upon my return. 

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    The black bag is his, collecting dust in my bathroom. I don’t yet know how to touch it. 

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    These are his coffee mugs. I don’t know how to touch them yet either. Just the other week I got rid of his soap. It is a slow process, this gathering up pieces of myself, all this scrubbing and cleaning. 

    Now you press the word rape flat against your tongue and feel your chest shatter into fragments, so many pieces of bone you will spend the rest of the night sweeping up with your hands, the rest of your life weeping, for the rest of your life you will always have been raped.

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    This is my bed. This is my home. This is where he raped me. This is where I go when I want to feel safe but some nights I remember too much. The sheets have been washed but I know his dead skin cells are in my mattress because that’s what dead skin cells do, sink down and burrow like the mini corpses that they are. I don’t always think of it this way but today I do because today I am tired of pretending. Or maybe I am just no longer able to. Today my chest split open like a tree struck by lightning and I know it’s because every night I sleep on top of so much of his death. Our death. My death. At least it is death, at least it is death, at least he is not here to wake me in the middle of the night with his cock, trying to enter me from behind and then yelling at me for not being wet enough in my sleep.

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    Maybe some people look the other way because they don’t want to get involved.

    That choice is a privilege victims of rape and abuse do not have. 

     

  2. Throwback Thursday to the Domestic Violence Relief Fund made in honor of victims of Gregory Sherl

    hey writing community how about we ‪#‎tbt‬ to that time Kat Dixon made a domestic violence relief fundraiser and then we all forgot about it ‘cause idk why.

    I was forced to forget about it by the man himself but idk why everyone else forgot.

    also to everyone who donated to the initial fundraiser I made for him — I am so very sorry and wish I could give it all back. I am in the process of writing about all the things. you all deserve to know.

    https://www.crowdrise.com/victimsofgregorysherl/

    In January 2014, three women came forward to reveal their experiences of abuse at the hands of poet Gregory Sherl. At that time, Sherl was the subject of a fundraiser seeking $10,000 from the public so that he might “reclaim his life” from OCD. While there is no doubt that Sherl is in need of professional psychological help for many ailments related and unrelated to his OCD, to present himself as a victim without recognition of his history of abusing women is an injustice to the women he has victimized.

    It is our sincerest hope to begin to right the wrongs of the domestic violence committed by Sherl by spreading awareness of the prevalence of violence against women in the U.S. and by honoring his victims by seeing the success of this fundraiser. Sherl was able to collect more than $4,000 in charitable funds by exploiting his own standing in the literary community and the good hearts of so many people who were unaware of his history of abuse. Now that the truth has come to light, we hope to raise at least $5,000 to send the message that mental illness of any kind is never an excuse for abusive behavior.

    All funds received will be donated to HOPE HOUSE (http://hope4dv.org/#/welcome), an organization that aids women and children in rebuilding their lives after escaping situations of domestic violence. It is a solemn note to remember that the abuse committed by Sherl is in no way an isolated incident. Every year, more than 5 million women are victimized by their partners, and 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Many do not survive.

    Please join us in our efforts to declare abuse of any kind unacceptable. Your donation will help victims nationwide reclaim their lives from the horrors inflicted upon them by men like Gregory Sherl. Let’s let no victim go silent any longer.

    Thank you.”

     

  3. anneboyer:

    It behaves as a black hole, or some other unclear and formidable force: it’s what a person can fall into when she opens a front door. She was hoping to find a home; instead, there’s a negative shape there — limitless and deadly — with a stubbornly restraining gravity. For her work, and her love,…

     

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  5. @lisamariebasile killing my already dead self #apocryphal

     
  6. Dead Woman

     
  7. paintdeath:

    Synchronise witches - the Chapess zine #4

    (via lilith-tumbles)

     

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  9. angelboyangelboy:

    "Another comment on the 4chan thread, to paraphrase, says something along the lines of survivors, through speaking/writing about their abuses, allow these abuses/abusers to become and define their work. Conversely, my rape actually ruined my life, and the only semblance of recompense I’ve been able to find has been through writing and advocacy work—reclaiming the narrative of my abuse, helping others do the same, and, ideally, helping to dismantle the structures that victimize and situate victims in this impossible position."

     

  10. "People said I followed him to the men’s room, but he made me go with him. He thought that if he left me alone with the other Beatles even for a minute, I might go off with one of them."

    Remembering one night Lennon cheated in her presence, she reportedly continues: “She didn’t come on to him at all, he just pulled her and went into the next room. And then they were groping and all that, and we were all quiet.”

    —Yoko Ono on John Lennon