We walk in silence; tightly holding hands. It is early – very early – in the morning, and a cold swathe of clouds lies low over the spires of Grahamstown.
Just behind me a woman weeps quietly, hot tears streaking her young cheeks. No one says anything – this is her time to weep; this is her space to reveal her wounds, and the pain she has carried too long, unfairly.
We are the survirors. We are the ones you violated – abused – raped. We are the ones who would not lie down and die, and take your fitlhy secrets to our graves.
We are the formerly silent, given space, time, love, encouragement and power to stand up and speak up – to shout out “YOU RAPED US! YOU RAPED US!” – but today, we walk in silence in memory of those you have silenced with your fists, with your rage, with your anger, with your disrepect, with your vile bodies.
We walk through the cold, knowing that it will never be as cold as you once made us feel.
We walk together, knowing that in this pain, we are bound together for the rest of our lives.
We walk with our heads held high – because we claim back our lives and we give you instead the banners of shame and hate that we have carried for too long. In time we will give you forgiveness and compassion – but that time is not today…
We walk because we still can, in memory of those who cannot walk here today because you took them from us and robbed them of a life.
We will walk in silence, and when we are done, we will speak, sing, cry and shout – we will speak your names and tell the world what you did to us; we owe you nothing.
We’re taking back our lives.
© Dave Luis 2014. All Rights Reserved.