Disclaimer: What you will read below is an unapologetic, graphic, and raw work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. This piece is not age appropriate for children.
Sexual violence is an issue in most societies. Sexual violence against women and girls is more prevalent and is often addressed as a female only issue, but it's something that affects all individuals regardless of gender. It is used by terrorist groups to subjugate and control, it is used as a weapon of war, it is used for financial gain through human trafficking/slavery and by those who seek to cause harm. It is a violation of the human rights of every victim of sexual violence - here I broaden the net to not just girls but also boys - men and women.
We call on men to stand up for women and to join in the discussion. We call on men who are victims of sexual assault to share their stories and we call on women to support each other and to support male victims. I hope the poem below personalizes the horror of sexual assault and moves you - the reader - to take positive action in any way possible. You can contact valiant scribe to find out how to help victims or would be victims of sexual violence.
“The Night Called” portrays the story of a ten-year-old girl who dies from sexual assault.
THE NIGHT CALLED
by Debra Ayis
The fever held fast to him
It hugged my little brother
Like a hemiparasite.
Mother wept over his heaving chest
Her only son, her treasure chest
The only voice we had in my father’s house.
She motioned me over,
‘My daughter; run to Rashid the chemist.
Beg, don’t return without medicine’
The sun had gone to sleep
The moon reigned high above her time allotted kingdom.
Rashid smiled at me through rotted teeth
‘Come, a white man has the medicine
I have none here, come and beg him’
I followed timidly past questionable men
He walked into a seedy, run down motel,
The one where the ruined women stalked
He held my arm, dragging me into its narrow hallway
He showed me the door, I shook my head; I would not go in.
I knew a ten-year-old had no business braving a motel room alone.
‘Rashid? Is that you? Do we have a new package?’
The door opened, Rashid shoved me in
I turned to run, run past Rashid
I felt the violent yank on my hair
Dragging hard till my head hit the floor with a resounding crack
My vision blurred
Clearing to a scaring scene
He pulled down his trousers
Rashid followed suit, along with three other men in the room
I screamed, but was cut off with a blow
Punches to my face, kicks to my ribs
I struggled with all my strength
I struggled till I could no longer move, think, or breathe.
The Night Called, was published in Life at a Crossroads by the City University of New York (CUNY) Killens Review of Arts & Letters - Fall/Winter 2019, (Sept. 2019)