Dora McQuaid, Audre Lorde, and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
I discovered Dora McQuaid while Googling for information on doing writing workshops for women in shelters.
McQuaid is a poet and activist. Here is an interview from 2004. McQuaid quotes Audre Lorde, another poet/activist whom I read many years ago and had forgotten (but am very happy to remember).
From the essay McQuaid cites, "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action," Audre Lorde:
"I have come to believe over and over again that what is
most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk
of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any
"Your silence will not protect you."
Our silence promises protection, but only gives permission to violence.
I’m honored to find myself included here on the first day of October, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, along with the revolutionary, Audre Lorde.
That quote, “Your silence will not protect you,” changed my life. I had read it as an undergraduate student in her iconic speech “The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action” but it was handed to me again many years later by a friend when I was unexpectedly in a very violent relationship and struggling to survive it. The speech, and the quote, galvanized me, splitting into the fog of confusion, self doubt and fear in which I was living daily. It helped remind me of the woman I had been before the violence and fear had eroded my sense of self. And it helped me to change my life, to reclaim it and myself, and to then help other survivors do the same while also working within the systems meant to serve those survivors to raise awareness of the realities of the experiences and consequences of both domestic and sexual violence.
There are many strong, committed and eloquent women and men who have gone before us in the pursuit of justice, freedom and possibility. Audre Lorde is one of those women. Thank you for sharing her work with your readers, and for including mine, as well, and for the work YOU do to bring information, insight and hope to the people who follow your posts and efforts.
ALL PEACE TO YOU.