For Those Who May Have Never Known…

Some things in this life are worse than fiction… some things are so real that even if I told them word for word as the truth… no one could ever believe… it is best to remember that not every one thinks like you… that not every one has shed their animal natures… and not every one in this world is good… it is easy to forget… it is easy to push out of our minds… what goes on behind our backs… and in the darkness… but not all horrible things happen in the dark…

This post is very different for me… maybe not in content… I tend to talk about things that are on the darker side of life… no this post is different… because unlike most of the things I post about… this poem is not about fiction… or dark thoughts that find their way into my head… I am a firm believer in the thought… that it is one thing to think or have dark thoughts… and a whole other to actually act on them… sticks and stones will break my bones… but words will never hurt me…I took that cliche in my mind and ran with it… built a fiction collection on it…

That is how I think… that is what I believe… but even with my own beliefs held firmly in place… some words… some ideas can be too much to bear… the topic of my poem today is… Sylvia Likens… and my reverse order for my post is because unlike most things I write… I feel context… what I think… How I feel about what happened to Sylvia… Is more important than the work below…

For those of you who don’t know… Sylvia Likens was a child in 1965… who was abused… tortured… raped… and killed… not by a serial killer… not by a known sex offender… not even by her parents… but by those in her community… by the very children she knew… by her very neighbors… there is so much to this story… to the truth of the event… that I can’t and won’t be covering in this post… more about the tragic death of Sylvia Likens can be found here

There have been movies… stories written… about Sylvia and the horrors she has been through… and even if you have read or seen any of them… then you know they only scratched the surface of her horrible experience… She has long been laid to rest… but her memory is not forgotten… Her tale as horrific as it was… should never be forgotten… Because people… children… still experience similar horrors every day… to this day… this is long over due… it needs to stop…

Many of us may have even experienced some… many of the things she was put through… may be even today… right now as we read… we need to put an end to it… we need to open our eyes… our hearts… and our minds… because… just because you don’t see it… doesn’t mean it isn’t happening… just because you don’t have the time… doesn’t mean it isn’t happening… just because it isn’t happening to you… doesn’t mean it isn’t happening… because it does and it is… in our silence… these monsters are slipping through the cracks… as we look away… people are being tortured… children are suffering… this isn’t an isolated incident… this isn’t something that only happens to someone based on skin color… age… where we live… or sex… these are things that can and happen to anyone…

I myself was a victim of abuse… I know how it can feel… I understand the shame… the fear of speaking up… will it happen more?… if I just keep my head down… then it will pass… I’ll be fine… excuses we tell ourselves to survive… Truth is the monster will always live in the dark… until you bring it to the light… I say you… but it takes more… it takes us all… There is no harder thing in this world than to ask for help… no matter the situation… it is the hardest thing any of us will ever face… but if you don’t… if we don’t… no one will…

Many of the signs are easy to overlook… it was a one off… it was an accident… abuse is hard to define… it doesn’t seem like it would be… seems pretty straight forward… but it isn’t… that is why so many people suffer in silence… reach out and get turned down… because of this one way thinking… because we aren’t paying attention… this is how and why… Sylvia was tortured… abused… until she died… It is easy to point at her tortures… her abusers… as the monster… but in this extreme case… the monsters weren’t just the ones in the room with her… but the society that surrounded her… that’s why we need to be paying attention… speaking up… and taking action… big or small… we must do all that we can…

Accidents do happen… people go to far… as a victim I know the signs… if anything good came from my abuse… my experience is that I know when I might go to far… when I am wrong… and need to take a step back… I know how easy it can be to cross that line… I’m not immune because I am a victim… I’ve said things that I regret… almost done things that I know were too far… I’ve seen the look of fear that I know myself once carried on the face of those around me… a look that has brought me to my knees… to tears… and made me question who it is I have become… I’ve seen both sides of the line… I have felt how either side of the line can feel… and just because I didn’t act upon my anger doesn’t mean I too couldn’t be a monster… I’m not a saint… I am human… we all are… and not one of us is perfect… but… there is a difference between an incident of abuse… and a pattern of repeated abuse… neither of which should go unchecked… or be put up with… seen as okay…

I was lucky… as far as my abuse went… as much as the memories still hurt me today… I was lucky… that I ended up in the hospital… that people around me spoke up… and did something… that my mother said enough was enough… a victim herself… not all of us are so lucky… for some of us… we don’t receive any help… until it is too late… Take care of yourselves… Take care of each other… it may seem like nothing… but is it worth the risk?… is it worth the hurt?…

Sylvia Likens

Kicking and screaming
Dragging and bleeding
Taken to the basement
Time to figure things out
Pressed against what’s left of the mattress
Laying naked next to the floor
What did you call me
You called me a whore
Silently screaming
Begging and pleading
Took me to the darkness
Time to figure it out
Strung up by the wrists
Stripped of everything I had left
What did you do to me
You stabbed me some more
Dying and breathing
Scarring and seething
Taken to another level
Time to let the devil out
Burned the words into the flesh
No one would want me
That’s what you said

One thought on “For Those Who May Have Never Known…”

  1. I just heard about her story in detail yesterday. I was sickened. But, as you said, this isn’t absolutely that rare. We must give voice to the children! We must give voice to those without a voice! If we don’t, who will?? Thank you for this, Layne.

    Like

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