Just ASK me how I am

October 30, 2006 at 12:58 am | Posted in activism, Violence | Leave a comment

First published April 19th, 2006.


“Yes I think I’m okay
I walked into the door again
Well, if you ask that’s what I’ll say
And it’s not your business anyway
I guess I’d like to be alone
With nothing broken, nothing thrown.

Just don’t ask me how I am.
Just don’t ask me how I am.” – Luka, by Suzanne Vega

Why all the silence?
I really don’t understand it.
We live in a culture of silence. It breeds it. Its in the air. It’s a climate where we’re unable to share, unable to talk, unable to take a stand.

And it’s leaving us helpless.
It’s leaving my sisters in pain, alone, hurting, unable to heal because we’re unable to share.

I wrote before about bearing witness.
About creating a community of healing.
In my thesis I explore the idea of bearing witness. I want to know how we allow ourselves to tell our stories. How we allow others to hear them. What do we choose to reveal and how?

How do we re-write our stories, to our self?

What are we able to admit?

What are we able to say to “it wasn’t my fault”?

Can we ever say that?

Here’s what I know:

I tell my story.
Another woman says “that happened to me”. She shares her story. She realizes she’s not alone. I realize I’m not alone.

Then someone else steps in, and tells her story. Now we have a community. And then someone else comes and says “that also happened to me.” or “I had a similar experience”.

“I was raped”.
“I was drugged at that bar too”
“I went to the police”
“I was molested”
“He hit me”
“I didn’t want to”
“I thought I was alone”

Soon it’s a community of healing. A community of stories. Soon we’re taking back our power. Soon it’s not just my pain, or your pain, but its our pain.


This is what I know.
No more silence.
The system might not always work for us. God knows I’ve regretted and even wondered if I should send someone to the police. I’ve regretted going myself. And yet… I didn’t. It meant I took a step. I told what happened. And when that didn’t work, I keep talking.

I tell my students in my TA class.
I tell my coworkers.
I tell my fellow classmates.
I tell my family.

And then they tell me their stories.

I am not alone.

This is how I fight violence. This is how I raise awareness against sexual violence. If there’s no awareness, how can we stop it?

– Artemis.


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