Content Warning: The following poem contains references to sexual assault and mental illness - all of which may be difficult for some to read.
“Kintsugi,” Claire Stanford
Kintsugi is the art of mending a broken bowl with gold
In Sept of my sophomore year of college I broke.
I was raped.
By a boy who didn’t understand the word no -
“I don’t want to do this.”
I was broken. Shattered. and Cracked
It didn’t happen in anyway I had imagined or planned for.
I had always been taught to defend myself
But in that moment my body froze.
Weeks later I knew I wasn’t going to be okay without someone’s help.
So I decided to talk about it
That was the first crack mended with gold.
Then I decided to report it so any woman after me would know they weren’t alone
And he would know he hadn’t gotten off so easy.
Another patch of gold.
Deciding to tell my dad and step mom
being met with love and support
Hearing that he was found responsible.
joining a support group
Having amazing people standing behind me
Gold, gold and even more gold.
Forgiving my body for freezing
understanding it wasn’t my fault
A flood of gold.
Telling my mom
being told it wasn’t true
being asked if I was drunk
A piece rebroken
Hearing “No one wants to date the rape girl”
Standing up for myself,
making it VERY clear that I would not be putting up with those comments.
that crack filling with gold.
Speaking up when the depression creeps in.
Deciding to open up and tell my story today
Even more gold
the parts of me that I thought were broken for good
are now being mended with gold
I refuse to stay shattered forever
I am already stronger than I was yesterday or the day before.
Always mending with gold
My name is Claire Stanford and I am a survivor.