Well what a stupid idea. It seems the universe didn’t want me to be silent last Thursday, although I fought it very hard. Texts, calls, questions asked – and that was just at home – not at work where it will be an even ‘stupider idea’. Technically I used no spoken words. It was a strange feeling as I felt like I was in a day long exam, yet I still managed to communicate with hand gestures (I can spell the alphabet through sign language – does that count!?) and noises that weren’t words. It would seem you can’t ‘not’ communicate when surrounded by people. The frustration was not being understood and my attempts to communicate being laughed at (it was funny to be fair…).
My SILENCE for 5 x 24 hour days is a simple attempt to pause and remember women who are treated like objects, dehumanized and silenced. Women who have been silenced through shame, women who have been threatened to remain silent-or else, women who are not used to their voices being heard or listened to, and women who have NO words for the abuse they have faced as a child or an adult, they literally can’t say the words.
‘Silence is the best scream’ Anon
I was surprised as my day of silence caused memories and feelings to rise up in me, like an instant supervision; the stories women have told me over the years – of violence and abuse by boyfriends, pimps and clients. One particular memory rose up of a woman I supported last Christmas who was so alone, after being trafficked here as a child – she had no one. She was so ill last Christmas that for nearly 2 weeks she was unable to care for herself, get food, or leave the house; having no one to ring. For some reason that stuck with me more than the abuse she had told me of. So many memories of women’s horrific stories that I thought I had dealt with. The grief was surprising to me, welling up like a big fountain but with NO words came out like some sort of ‘silent scream’.
My silence is just for 5 days; their silence may carry on unless women receive the support they need to find their ROUTES OUT. I have to say, I don’t think I could operate on this level often, as this would paralyse me. But I guess these things can stay with us (despite supervision and all the good support systems we put in place), waiting for a time when we are quiet, waiting to download.
Go to http://www.NO-vember.org.uk if you want to say NO too…
by Josephine Knowles, Co-Director, Beyond the Streets
Posted by Beyond The Streets on 11/11/2014 at 03:57 PM