Poem:  “How to Survive a Four Letter Word” by Marie Cartier

What is taken from a woman?

When someone breaks her open and fills her with nothing of herself,

and then leaves?

She has to find all the pieces of herself.

That’s why they call it—recovery.



You have to recover.

It doesn’t always happen. You’re not put back together

exactly the same. The pieces were broken.

Still are, just glued back together.

It’s a four letter word:  rape.

The Japanese say cover something broken with gold.

Kintsugi. Let the broken pieces shine. There’s beauty in that.


However, there is nothing to celebrate about home invasion.

There is only knowing you survived, if you do.

This time you made it.

You try to create a world

Where it can never happen again.


That’s impossible. So you create

either a dialogue with the world, or a wall.

I’m here, you tell the world, and I’m going to stay here.

You do your best to keep the pieces, those broken pieces especially,

shining bright. Then you go on.


If you’re lucky, and you have good glue –

you go on.


Marie Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.  She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall (Routledge 2013). She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine.

Categories: abuse, Art, Body, Consent, Feminism, Feminism and Religion, Loss, Rape, Sexual Violence, Violence, Violence Against Women

Tags: , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. Powerful – Yes, if the glue holds we go on. Broken is broken.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhhh, yes! Good glue. And the best glue is a combination of the Goddess, friends, and a supportive community. And we go on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And another type of glue is knowing you’re not responsible, even though our culture still tries to blame the victim! Feminism to the rescue!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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