How many women does it take?

It was raining the day the movers truck pulled up

piling furniture into the back, exposed to wet streets

everything dirty and unfamiliar

when you take your safety out of its box

when you unlatch your secrets

and expose the insides of a locket

sticky mouths seek to further that exposure

until nothing of your peace remains

but the belly of your secrets on display

as if you were sitting in class without underwear

as if the abuse etched in your soul were a t-shirt

as if his fingers weren’t in the dark but had been

dipped in luminescent paint and everywhere they went

left their grimy imprint / yet you think

this horror may have been the very best thing

as wretched as exposure may taste

at least it wouldn’t be a case of disbelief

how many women does it take?

for one person to not hesitate

how many must say;

he did this / that happened / we are not okay

because of this / why do I have to prove / with gore

and soiled soul / the truth / why isn’t it sufficient that I say

why why why

did he lay a hand on me?

how many women does it take?

a juror in the Bill Cosby case disclosed the reason for his guilty verdict;

I believed he was guilty because he said he had drugged girls

hearing it from the horses mouth got my vote

are we bidding on a horse? Did you check the inside of his mouth?

what of the SIXTY women who spoke?

their voices do not warrant proof?

were people just speaking words?

to deaf sign posts stating;

move on / get over it / don’t make a fuss / why should we believe you?

one person has lied before / you must be lying / that’s our automatic default

what hope then

for one girl?

one single soul

violated in the dark

of a house when all is moved out

and she is left inside a shell, within a shell

the echoes of trucks taking memories

somewhere else

how many women does it take?

to be heard.

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45 thoughts on “How many women does it take?

  1. Well done! You have made your point very well…illustrating how society fails to hear the words of the oppressed and abused.
    Dwight

  2. I think all of us who loved Bill Cosby in the Cosby show are sad right now, when a hero lets us down it is worse than if we didn’t idolize or admire the person. I used to think he was such a nice man, he just really seemed to be, and now I am left wondering, how can we trust if someone who appeared so lovely had that layer of evil to them? It is sad. But more sad is the idea that if it had not been sixty women who had come forward, they may not have even believed it. It seems so wrong that it would take as many as it does.

  3. Thank you dearest Dwight. I really appreciate you saying so and reading this. I feel strongly about the idea that those who cry out, are often not believed, by women and men, and I don’t really understand that, because I truly think the VAST majority who cry out, do so because something awful has happened. But it only takes one to lie and then people believe they are all lying. Very sad where our priorities lie sometimes. xo Thank you so much for reading this

  4. Too many.
    Too many women who eventually find the will to run or speak out, but have no visible marks on their flesh. To be believed they have to see bruises, blood and proof. The fear in their eyes the emotional disguise is not enough. Their word unbelieved.

  5. Well said, and so sadly true. How many women indeed. Apparently the sheer numbers do not make a difference. I have had this argument over and over with some people who think ‘oh there’s no way to prove…’ or ‘allegations don’t equal guilt’ and that kind of thing. The fact is that these attacks most always happen behind closed doors and out of sight. Why does the abuser seem to get the benefit of the doubt over the victim? Thank you for this powerful piece, Candice. ❤️

  6. Why people don’t believe when someone says they are being hurt or abused I will never understand. It isn’t right to ignore the truth

  7. I ought to take no more than one. That it takes so many is the shame of uncounted generations. That there are so many who are speaking is cause for hope for generation to come.

  8. An excellent statement. I particularly liked the way you have shown the sense that everyone must be able to see what the victim is going through

  9. This case has broken my heart from the very beginning. I wanted to believe that he was the man we all saw on the screen. I wanted to believe that the person I grew up knowing was not capable of this.

    But one after another after another they all said the same unprompted words. And then my sadness turned to rage when some people began to believe he was untouchable because of his status. That we had no right to question.

    We had every right to question. Even if it meant that we did it with tears in our eyes.

    We should have pressed the issue when someone said, “it happened”.

    I love you of course, but most of all because you write these things. ❤

  10. I’m with you. The hardest part is for those of color who had Crosby as not only the man we all loved, but a figure-head for them to see a representation of a black man on TV that really was main-stream. Yeah there had been others but Crosby was really one of the most recognizable. Having that type of role-model and then to have it torn down by the reality of his actions – he did an irreparable disservice to all those little kids who grew up happy to see a black face on TV and nobody has the right to take that away from them, not even Crosby but he has because he’s tarnished what he was so badly that you can’t even love him for being a black figure head anymore.

  11. Right? And the race issue I thought in this case was bogus because whilst it is true sometimes justice is racist and pins everything on the black man, and sometimes there is a conspiracy against black men in so-called ‘justice’ I think in this case this is less about that and more about his choices to abuse and rape many women and yet, he also did such a disservice to the many who grew up seeing him as a black role model – but it seems that all of our childhood ‘heroes’ are anything but, mine used to be Ralph Harris and a couple of others and they were all found to be child abusers! It’s truly awful. But worst yet is when it takes so many women to be believed! What if it had been just one? She would have had no chance.

  12. Dearest Meg, (hugs) so true. I agree. It shouldn’t take that many! I agree, they say there is no way to prove and yet, few people make it up but those who do, taint things so badly that then nobody is believed. Although I tend to think those who don’t believe wouldn’t have even if those who made it up, hadn’t existed, because they don’t want to believe.

  13. Well said Ellen. It is absurd that it needs to be a gore fest before someone is believed, when most of the true crime doesn’t have the kind of proof that is required and the bias is always that the victim might be making it up or confused … you’re so right, it’s in their eyes.

  14. Thirteen people have commented on here … so if the law of averages is applied, one in seven of us has or is being abused right here. Mentally/ physically / beaten/ raped/ emotionally destroyed and or verbally lambasted. That thought alone would sober an alchoholic. But still there is disbelief. The victim has to carry ontop of everything else the burden of proof.

  15. Ellen, this is a really valid and important point that I think people need to consider more. From working in a rape crisis center I learned that many reports go nowhere near the authorities, whilst others don’t even get to the rape crisis center stage, so it’s boggling to imagine the true statistics on rape. You’re right about it sobering an alcoholic, and yet, whilst I want to believe this I also see a great deal of disinterest or disbelief and yes, that makes me really mad. As you say, the victim has to carry all the burdens, when will that change?

  16. As Jane said, an army….an army of “me too’s”. You’re right how disillusioning it’s been with Cosby. So many of us admired and respected him….had an affection for the character he played on t.v. How sad, the truth…. and that of so many others through the centuries. I hope that real change is afoot, as awareness spreads. Cosby is just one of many, unfortunately.

  17. A heartfelt plea for truth and transparency, something that the law and our masters aren’t very good at. In this the twenty first century it should only take one voice!

  18. I fear our empathy was lost and now we must be taken by the neck and thrust face first into the wickedness of those we once admired. It was a sham, a cover-up, a terrible waste of trust. The rich and powerful show us once more that the serial rapist often stands in the brightest light. How many does it take? As many necessary to awaken us to the threat that lives within and among us. Then let justice be swift and harsh. Your voice is so strong and I do believe you are heard in the heart and soul of your readers.

  19. Oh how right you are dear friend. How right you are. You have truth and fire in your words and I am so glad for that, as it means you care and that is what we all must do, so much more

  20. Ah, this was the post I accidentally left a comment on your post Honor that was supposed to go here. Remind me not to comment on your blog while napping.

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