I was going to speak at an event and share my story of the 10 years I lived in an abusive situation.  I was scared to death on my ride down.  I called a friend, "I can't breath, I feel like I'm going to be sick, I can't do this."  He told me to take a deep breath and think of something from my tradition which would help me.  We hung up and I breathed taking time to slow down and I thought of what might help me. 

In our tradition we have a Sunday called All Saints' Day and in the prayers and hymns we celebrate the cloud of witnesses - all the ordinary people who have influenced our lives.  I thought of all those women who die at the hands of their abusers or who never escape and I wrote this.  My friends words gave me a focus to know who I was doing this for and it wasn't just for me.

You take the shroud off
of your heart
revealing  more and more
of your silent dead life

Places you don't want to wander
but must
To go forward
the crowd of witnesses

Those who have endured the past
those who will endure the future
all stand wanting your voice
to speak, breaking the silence

To reveal the covered injustice
veiled within the halls of "justice"
Why don't you leave?
Why do you stay?
We can make you safe

and we die
by the hundreds, thousands
not only at the hands of our abuser
But at the hand of justice

They tie and bind us further
allowing the control to power
us into the shadows of unreachablity

They stand and point the finger
You did this
wanting freedom
a better life
a safe place
and you are never supported, fully

So we live in the houses of violence
Crying when, when will someone
fully protect and save us
But you don't know
until we speak
how naked we are