Sound of Silence

“When the solid ground is falling down underneath my feet; between the black skies and my red eyes, I can barely see….” — Eye of the Storm

I woke today in anguish. Heart and soul and body. My shoulder is wrenching in pain. It remembers. On this day, twelve years ago, it was twisted from its socket as it was pulled behind me by one of two rapists.

By the rapist who got out of prison this weekend after serving 3.5 years—not for my rape, as he was pled down to only one count of conspiracy to commit rape. Like so many survivors before me and after me, I have not experienced justice. But I have experienced silence.

Silence of the detective whose job it was to fight for me—and instead scoffed so she didn’t have to do that very job. I vividly remember the echoing silence in the room as she ordered me to strip so she could take pictures of the scars on my chest from the bite marks—etches in my skin she did not believe were present. My heart raced and pounded, but my ears felt the bleeding of silence.

The intensity of not knowing I had a choice still boils in my soul today. The transformation of her face burned into my eyes as the etching on my skin came to light under the flash of the camera and the closing of a file. Silence.

There was silence from the county prosecutor as a plea deal was slid across the table. Silence as the pen sliced the night and the deal was signed. Voices, void of noise, racked with agony, unheard, faded into the forgotten darkness. Silence.

My mind recalls the silence of waking up in the bathroom—covered in bruises, bite marks, feces, and urine—alone, naked, confused, broken.

I remember my own silence in shame and “knowing” I shouldn’t have gone to the bathroom alone. I feel the vacancy of silence that I thought was an empty parking lot. And I am aware of culture’s silence as the victim collapses beneath the debt of blame and shame—none of which are owed by her, by me.

The silence of our world spins as rape jokes are held as acceptable on some tables and on others the phrase “you should be over this by now” limits the parties to one.

I’m aware of the silence AND of the rattling it is feeling in its bones. #MeToo fired synapses into the twitching and sleeping giant, shaking it awake. But the world in which it is rising, where it is launching into the battle—is still silent.

The “Sound of Silence” is heavy:

“Fools, said I, you do not know

Silence like a cancer grows

Hear my words that I might teach you

Take my arms that I might reach you

But my words, like silent raindrops fell

And echoed in the wells of silence…”

We have a choice to be different. We can rise as this giant and break the silence surrounding us. We can replace it with the echo of our warrior cries and bring with us life and hope. And when silence falls, we can build in its wake a future where it is merely a memory.

#KickAtDarkness #RiseUp #SoundOfSilence #HealAz #EndIt #NoMore #MeToo


5 comments on “Sound of Silence”
  1. Tara Reiter says:

    I don’t even know the words to say in response to the intense courage that is within you to write this Billi Joy. I’m sorry for the pain and torment you went through, that’s a pain that some may never lose in their lifetime. You took that pain though and you’re doing something positive with it to help others who may not have their own courage…..yet. Thank you for your strength and your friendship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. billijoy says:

      I appreciate you and your words, Tara. The journey is intense and exhausting. At times, I feel like I can only crawl. AND I know the warriors I am surrounded by. Warriors like you. Much love, friend. Thank you for fighting for and with all of us.


  2. My heart goes out to fir undergoing sych a devastating ordeal. Victims should be given so much more empathy and support than truely is disgraceful. Thank you for the courage to express your experience. You never ‘get over’ an ordeal like this.


    1. billijoy says:

      Thank you, friend. It is deeply painful, yes — AND, we are not alone. We stand together. United. Able to help each other rise from the darkness and march onward. Thank you for reaching out.

      Liked by 1 person

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