Friday, July 13, 2012

Still Crying: GIRL

This piece is from a reader named Ona Courtright. This one moved me to tears. Thank you Ona.

Pants up
Pants down
Underpants on
No underpants at all
Wooden spoon
Leather flyswatter
While yelling
While silent
In public
In private
With explanation
No explaining at all

Two swats
Four swats
Six swats
Eight, or more

These are the ways you broke my heart
Stunted my spirit
Bruised my body
Because (in the name of Jesus) and for my own good, it hurt you more than me?

I doubt your pain continues,
28 years past,
since the time I took the switch and
hit you back,
knock-down, drag-out
black eye, thirteen
my first rebellion.

Begged the teacher not to call the cops
because you're my mother
and I loved you,
I protected you.
Can you say the same for me?

My sister, 16, caught
out after curfew
panicked and begging
don't let him take me home
they almost didn't


It woke me up, 1 AM
her screaming, sobbing.
That was the last time
(in the name of Jesus)
it hurt you more than her.

She has her period now, you tell him
It's time to try new things.
Too late.
Her next six boyfriends
(or was it eight?)
and her husband
will all hurt themselves
more than her
for her own good.
Some in the name of Jesus
Some in the name of Allah
most just because they can.

I doubt you feel rage still,
I doubt you struggle
in your parenting,
in your relationships
to know the difference between
discipline and love and abuse

I doubt you still wrestle
with voices in your head
listing your offenses:


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  1. This is amazing! Very powerful and moving. Thank you for posting this poem. I hope the author sends it to her parents. I don't see how anyone could not be moved to compassion by this communication.

  2. Wow. This gave me goosebumps. So much said with so few words. Wow.

  3. So sad. So poignant. So painful. So true.

    And yet, after speaking with so many spankers - most if not all just WILL not believe it or get it. They don't want to. It's easier to forger that they were small once and hurt by their own parents in similar or worse ways - and therefore can't believe it isn't right. Especially when misinformed, or worse, by wilfully cruel ministers/pastors tell them that spanking is Biblical and mandated by God !

  4. This is an incredibly powerful piece of writing, and you are so brave to share it. Thank you for taking a stand for the rights of children everywhere. Every single person deserves basic bodily respect. I don't understand what people's problem seems to be with this. I am so sorry for what you and other survivors have been through. We will change the world for the better by not passing it on, and educating others. You certainly have already. <3

  5. This is the raw understanding of what is going on when a parent hits their child, call it spanking or not. How does this improve their relationship? What does this experience teach? How can it be beneficial to either parent or child? Thank you for speaking out.

  6. This is so painful and powerful. I hope you and your sister can both find peace and love in the future.