It’s something of a miracle to write this piece of news: I’ve accepted an offer to publish the Dear Sister anthology.
I’d like to say that the road was high and long, but that’d be a lie. There was no road. There was only an organic hope and prayer that this project would lead by its own light. There was no path, just a community of supporters with bottomless wells of patience. There was no foundation, just a lot of hands to help shape it into the manuscript it is today.
For the past twelve years, I have thought about rape everyday. Every day it has crossed my mind in some fashion. Whether it was working with a client, yelling at the television when a politician made an asinine remark, or closing my eyes as more stories invaded my conscience, reminding me that violence, ignorance, oppressive forces, and misogyny are, sadly, everywhere. There’s no escaping it.
I wish I could anthologize a book that ended sexual violence. I wish I could have pieced together a preventative book that outlined 1-2-3 steps to protect communities or a blueprint on how to teach that sexual activity can be good, wonderful, and amazing when consent is clearly given. But, I can’t write that book. I don’t think anyone can. Instead, I created a book for the aftermath. A book that doesn’t pretend. A book about survival. It is a collection of stories and letters for the survivors who have not yet found their way from survivors who somehow did. Dear Sister is the letter no one wants to write, but so many need to recieve.
Listening, believing, uplifting survivors is the only way forward. Our political and societal ethos have created an illusory world where rape is inevitable, almost permissible, making us believe that we have to accept the violence, exist in fear, and criminalize the survivor to make order of the chaos. Rape culture tells us that this is the real world and we must exist in it. Abide by it.
I, for one, want out. This is one step toward the exit sign.