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Survivors' Poetry


Ghosts part the window

Footsteps sound

Into a place where I once feared

Slowly breaking down

Like a hollow rocking horse

Withering Into dust

Oh baby virgin

Don’t you fuss

Cradles, buggies, dummies too

Unexplained perversion shines straight through Silence is golden, my little girl I won’t tell anyone, never, no But you don’t own me Not anymore I am free, forever more Ghosts part the windows Footsteps sounds Today I bury you inside I swallow every goodbye


By Alisha Thomson



He isn’t a monster

He is human

He isn’t a demon

He is human

That doesn’t mean he is good

Far from it

But he is human

Because if you think of him as a demon, a monster, something you can’t control Then he will take over He is human Just a human A weak human being An evil,  weak human being that done you wrong That made you think it was your fault That made you keep it all inside But I promise you You can control it The flashbacks The memories The hurt Because you are strong You are brave You are a survivor


By Alisha Thomson



Hold your camera, position it and freeze, photograph this moment so I have images for which I will have no speech
Adjust your shutter, remove the clutter, zoom into the mist that is enveloping the small girl, stand just beyond her reach
Capture her innocence so it can be developed upon grainy film, hold the camera still
Snap, her body is fading, snap again, he is pushing inside with a desire to fulfil
Zoom in on her eyes because I think you would capture terror, I think you would capture shock
Because her body was not ready for these deeds to be done, take a photo quickly before the key starts to unlock
Now you capture a tear through your lens because her eyes are spilling out an inch of the pain
Take a photo of her floating up high to the ceiling, make it black and white to minimise the shame
Take a photo please so someone can know, poise your camera, take the slides and record her dying
Now freeze because there are more tears falling from her eyes, and as my watchman it is hard to see her crying
But you are a photographer, a documentor, just a figmant of my imagination 
I think you paused the shots at the pinnacle of my loss, the moment of my deepest frustration
Take a photo of the swirling ceiling to which I flew with wings I did not know I possessed
Grasp the image quick whilst I am still naked and floating, see him get me undressed.
So everyone will know that this was not my choice or my voice or the desire of my being
Be the lens that carries truth to the mobs, that perceive me as desecrated, to all that are utterly and wholly unseeing
Take a photo of her bleeding when it is over and he has discard her like a piece of meat
So I can remember what I once was, what I could have been, before shame bound me and took it's powerful seat
One moment, snap, capture the blood upon her bed, upon the teddies, dripping  down
Capture it quickly so she doesn't have to bleed again to speak this, take the photo, watch her drown 
See her fading away, making vows to never tell or speak of this strange act she cannot understand
Just take the photo, zoom in on her body which once held purity within its withering hand
Capture every part of me fading because to dissolve is the only way for her to stay alive
But dissociation is a trap that no camera could portray, even though it is just one craftful way you develope to survive
Take another photo then freeze as you capture her face which displays  the desire to please
Hold up your lens to the mystery of her frantic attempts, capture what she believes and what she percieves
Click and she has  given in, though she knows this feels like sickened sin
Click again and capture her delusion, the, betrayal age accepts, trying to please she again lets him in.
Then snap the shutter adjust the angle as you capture her both protesting and apologising for crying as she pleads
Photograph  him as he walks away so they can know he leaves me as my body bleeds
Don't drop the camera, don't stop gazing through your lens because the story is not ended
Capture her on her bedroom floor, capture her eyes that sense she has been defiled, zoom in so your lens is fully extended
So she is seen, though she is naked, so she is known though she is nine and broken
So she is held in a frame, remembered in a slide, so her words are not simply an empty token
Capture the deformity that is arising in her heart so that she will never have to explain
Find a lens that can eloquently illustrate the depths of this screaming, chronic emotional pain
Do not shy away, do not close your shutter in order to avoid connection with this imagine you do not wish do see
To be seen, to be known, to be held in mind, is all she needs to set herself free.
Store the photos  with a seal which is stronger than the seal that was broken within that girl
Keep her story somewhere safe so when her words are but an echo, her reality can still unfurl
And lastly though you are an observer and though I create you to bring her alive and to make her story known
Do not  be harmed by the images, do not be sad nor allow her loss into your heart, because she already survived it on her own.
All she cares for is validation, she asks that truth could kill the lies that still bind her heart
Piercing thorns that invade her whole life, her development, her ability to grow, slowly ripping her apart.
Hold my story as though you hold a feather upon the palm of your hand
Because it is I who holds the weight which breaks me, you do not need to understand.
Lay the camera down, place it back in its case where it can sit and hold a story that many will never know or believe
Take away your images, develop them, contain them, then offer them to her when she cannot explain why she seems to grieve 
So that when she is crying day after day after day, she can simply share the album of sorrow
The photos for which she has no words to usher, the construction of every today and tomorrow.
I hold the frames, the images in my body my veins, my sleep and my waking
I'm just tired of watching the slideshow alone, without anyone to hold her body still naked and fully shaking. 


By Claire

CARA Graphic

Please be aware that the material in this section is about personal experiences of sexual violence and child sexual abuse and some people may find this triggering or upsetting.


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