Domestic Violence and Poetry

Domestic Violence and Poetry: Why Aren’t We Talking About This?

“One in three women may suffer from abuse and violence in her lifetime. This is an appalling human rights violation, yet it remains one of the invisible and under-recognized pandemics of our time.Violence against women is an appalling human rights violation. But it is not inevitable. We can put a stop to this.”
– Nicole Kidman, Actress and Goodwill Ambassador for UNIFEM

October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  In recognition of this we are talking about the role of art has in raising awareness of violence against women and in helping women who have experienced violence to heal.

Gretchen Miller, Certified Art Therapist, shared a wonderful piece on her experience in using art therapy with survivors of domestic violence here and I shared a bit about my early work in a domestic violence shelter here.

Poetry

Poetry and is an art form that can be used to raise awareness about domestic violence, as well as a medium to help those who have experienced violence express their feelings.  (Please note, poems will not be shared in this post as we do not want to be a trigger,  links will be provided.)

The work of poet Eavan Boland  addresses issues such anorexia, domestic violence and the impact of violence against women on family and community. Her poem Domestic Violence intertwines images from domestic life and personal history with the history of her country, Ireland.

Other poets such as Lucille Clifton,  Toi Derricotte, and Gwendolyn Brooks have written poetry that references the all too common experience of physical, emotional and verbal abuse in women’s lives.

Spoken Word

In addition to written work, spoken word poetry can be a powerful form of expression.

I recently discovered the work of Renee Mitchell, a former journalist with The Oregonian newspaper, now a poet and performer who speaks about domestic violence, specifically the impact of verbal and emotional abuse.  In this interview Renee Mitchell speaks about realizing she was in an abusive relationship and she shares her powerful poetry and music.

Change the Conversation

I would like to leave you with this beautiful spoken word performance piece, “If I Should Have A Daughter” by Sarah Kay.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
–Margaret Mead

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