Our Voice


There's a knot in my stomach.

A knot that bleeds pain.

And that pain pours out of my mouth when I speak,

Torrents of torture tumbling from my body.

So I was struck down,

Held down until my mouth was closed again,

Suppressing that pain deep inside and

Building up a silent resistance to the world outside.

Whenever there was a decision to be made

You stepped in,

Beating us to the words we longed to utter,

“It’s our turn to decide.”

You didn't want to hear my opinions about you,

And if I spoke up, your crushing hand would compress my form,

Sweeping my fragile words into tiny piles of unspoken hatred

That floated away with the slightest breeze.

My small voice has been hidden by millions of shouts for centuries,

Quieted under those who claim they're superior.

We fought for the freedom to speak our mind,

Although our spoken words they still attempt to bind to our bodies.

We've been screaming at the top of our lungs

But no one ever looks up

To meet our voice.


I have a voice.

A voice to reach out to others

A voice to command and console.

One that doesn't


Need to hide any longer.

You locked us in a dimly lit cell where

Our screams echoed off the concrete walls,

But only because we tried to rise to equal you.

Let me out of my prison

These cold, lifeless walls can't hold my glowing wings

Free these ropes from my speech

The ceiling that rises above my head can only fill with so many of my words

So give me my freedom back.

Release this cascade of words that longs

To drip from my lips

And flow unceasingly down to meet your oppression.


To speak is to believe

In yourself

In your words

In everything around you.

Believe in what you know to be true

And speak.

Writing is speaking,

And some women

Have to write in secret:

“I'm freezing,” she whispered,

But that's the only way her words can have meaning.

Hide her away beneath layers of cloth,

Hide her body because everything is her fault,

Hide her voice,

And make her words die on her lips

As if she is only a machine

As if she has no heart and no soul,

But she has as much soul and full as much heart as


And a voice as strong and witty as yours.


Suffering is worse than dying

And if you think holding me back is better than killing me,

You're wrong,

And you've always been wrong.

To tell me I couldn't vote because I was a woman

Shreds my soul to the bare threads of my existence.

And why should we listen to you?

You who keep your brides locked up in secret

Only because you can't stand what they’re like,

Then lie to the world that they don’t exist.

They have the right to live a life of dull isolation,

But not imprisonment

And she,

We, are too strong for that.


I am headstrong

And I will fight to the end

Even if it means sacrificing my life to do it

Lives are precious

But if surrendering one

Will bring triumph to hundreds more,

I can do it.

I will do it to save our voice.

One voice that rises up together to protest what has been in place for centuries.

Our individual voices flow and swirl into one

Powerful word

That rushes ruggedly over rocks and rough areas in our past

But is able to glide flawlessly through the twists and turns in the road.

You held me down,

Tied me in thick ropes

That rubbed my skin raw and bleeding,

And those ropes formed a knot in my stomach.

A knot that bleeds pain.


Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741