A poem about Erika's experiences of violence and abuse.
Content warning: Mentions experiences of sexual violence, bullying, rape and child removal.
When I was young and beautiful
I never felt disempowered as a woman.
I laughed in the face of weakness
danced with pointy toes and big hair
and walked alone at night.
When I was thirteen
I never felt my boyfriend’s best friend rape me
to the music of laughter from my girlfriend
not asleep at the scene of our teen sleepover.
When I was fifteen
I never felt the man on the bus
the man who gave me a lift from the station
the others who seemed like a story that happened to someone else
and disappeared for decades.
When I was eighteen
I never felt my baby moving and growing
until it was twenty five weeks too late.
held and gone.
I could never be a mother.
A chance brush of my hand across my cheek
I feel your tiny hand touching my face
I see you clearly in the space where there is only stained carpet.
I will never understand how
to be young and beautiful again.
If you are affected by violence you can contact 1800RESPECT for counselling, support and referral.
Call 1800 737 732 or chat to someone online (external link). If you are in immediate danger, call 000.