Kristiana Reed Interviews Kindra M. Austin, Candice Louisa Daquin, Rachel Finch, and Christine E. Ray About the Anthology ‘We Will Not Be Silenced’

In the last few years, the stage on which women and men were always expected to prance and perform has changed. Windows are being installed in the wings. The heavy, velvet curtains are being pulled down and the ropes are being severed. The gauze on the lights is being torn or removed so they shine brighter and the ornamental ceiling has wide cracks in the stucco and tears in the paint. All that has been built around us for centuries – patriarchy, gender stereotypes, heterosexuality being the only sexuality, expectations of femininity, toxic masculinity and silence – is crumbling. It is crumbling because of people like the editors of We Will Not Be Silenced.

This anthology, which showcases powerful poetry, prose, essays and art, is the lived experience of sexual harassment and sexual assault. I was given the wonderful opportunity to interview the women who, in response to current events such as Christine Blasey Ford’s courageous stand against Brett Kavanaugh, decided to do more than just support those who share their stories. Christine Ray, Kindra Austin, Rachel Finch and Candice Daquin chose to create a monumental anthology which empowered an array of men and women from around the globe, to shatter the bonds of silence they were told they had to keep. It will no doubt propel the momentum we already feel with movements like #TimesUp and #MeToo and continue to shift power from the guilty many to the innocent many; who never asked for what happened to them.

I asked the editors four questions and below I have edited together their responses. I hope you enjoy reading about their own personal strength as well as their unconditional desire to help others.

We Will Not Be Silenced’ – What does this phrase mean to you?

Rachel: ‘It means Courage, Strength, the Reclaiming of Personal Power & Healing. It means we are not victims but survivors.’

Christine: ‘Breaking the silence and writing about my experiences became critical to my survival. The public backlash from the Kavanaugh hearings also reminded all of us how easy it can be to dismiss a single survivor.  We wanted to make a strong statement that we would not continue to maintain a silence that only benefits our abusers and the rape culture that surrounds us.’

Kindra: ‘We Will Not Be Silenced means we have found our voices, and we are going to use them—we will not wait to be asked.’

Candice: ‘By having a movement first with #metoo and now with We Will Not Be Silenced, this has felt like a reclamation or growth, the silence into a unified voice. That voice is saying no, you don’t have the power to silence me anymore. I am going to speak my truth.’

What do you envision or hope the legacy of this anthology will be?

Candice: ‘To be one way by which survivors and their loved ones, as well as anyone affected by sexual assault, can gain acceptance, healing, conversation, openness, through a pure art form.’

Rachel: ‘I hope the stigma concerning this type of abuse will change and that the anthology will help raise both awareness and understanding of how such an experience can affect a person. I hope that those that do know this pain are able to see that they are not alone in their experiences or feelings related to this and know that their voice matters and they need not be silenced as we were. I hope my daughters and sons read every page and see clearly that a person can carry strength even in their quiet but that we do not have to be.’

Kindra: ‘I hope that survivors of assault find strength, validation, and camaraderie within the pages. I would love to see We Will Not Be Silenced nationally recognized for what it is: a call to action.’

Christine: ‘We want to see the Anthology in public libraries, and rape crisis centers, and being read on public transportation.  We want to hear non-survivors say, “I didn’t understand until now.”  We want this to lessen the isolation of survivors who have not shared their story and help them realize that whatever they are feeling is normal and that we don’t have to stay victims.’

Why is the publication of this anthology important to you?

Christine: ‘The week of the Kavanaugh Hearings was incredibly triggering for me as a survivor.  There were times that I felt afraid and literally heartsick at what I read on social media, what I saw on the news.  But what I increasingly felt was outrage and anger.  I needed to do something creative and productive with those feelings.  I needed to connect with others who were feeling the same way and create something bigger than ourselves.’

Rachel: ‘When you have carried a story with no words inside of you for so many years, the telling of it becomes much more than just that. Many of these poems stir deep and painful emotions, at the same time, the collection is both empowering and liberating.’

Kindra: ‘We have to fight way too hard for respect, and compassion, and equality. Survivors of sexual assault live with a stigma projected upon us by the people who should be working toward justice, and making sure we have the support we need to get back to living and not just existing. This publication is important because we want victims to become survivors.’

Candice: ‘For the four of us, this was a necessary response to the climate politically in America and world-wide. Publication of these voices is a validation of their existence and their survival and I truly believe in the power of the printed word.’

You thanked people for trusting you with their pain, their stories and their survival. Can you share the moment when you realized how significant and powerful this project would be for you and many others?

 Christine: ‘We only opened submissions for a two-week period and received hundreds of pieces of writing and art in those two weeks.  We are still hearing from people who just learned about the project and wanted to submit.  It has been incredibly humbling and inspiring to hear from the contributors why it was important for them to participate.’

Candice: ‘This has slowly evolved into something far bigger than any of us could have expected, it speaks for all of us, it contains all of our momentum, frustrations and rage as well as our need for more than we presently have. I truly believe it’s taken on a life of its own and this is exactly what you would wish for as far as any collaborative project goes, although the fierce beauty and courage of these survivors never fails to take my breath away. I am so honored and humbled by the response it just makes me want to do more.’

Rachel: ‘Whilst reading through each piece I found myself with tears rolling down my cheeks for both myself and every survivor that had come forward with their truth and it was during the submission process that I realized this project was significant to many hundreds of people and that together the poetry creates both a powerful depiction of what it is to experience sexual violence and the importance of why we must untangle our vocal chords.’

Kindra: ‘All I know that is that all four of us are awestruck by the strength—the sheer will—and honesty of these beautiful contributors. I’ve collaborated on a lot of projects, but We Will Not Be Silenced is by far the most important and powerful to me.’ – Kindra Austin

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We Will Not Be Silenced was be released on November 27, 2018.  It is available in both print and Kindle editions.

The editors want to ensure free copies of this anthology make it into to the hands of the people and organisations who need it most. Visit their Go Fund Me page to learn more about how you can help this movement be one which saves lives and changes history.

-Kristiana Reed

Image courtesy of April Yvette

Indie Blu(e) Publishing Announces the Release of We Will Not Be Silenced

We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay, and Art is the brainchild of Kindra M. Austin, Candice Louisa Daquin, Rachel Finch, and Christine E. Ray. The four indie writers and survivors felt compelled to do something after the strongly triggering Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings. Ultimately, they decided to advocate, educate, and resist through art.

They opened submissions for only two weeks to women and men around the world. The response from writers and artists was overwhelming: the final anthology includes 166 pieces of writing and art from 95 contributors around the globe.

The editors decided early on that this was a project of passion and compassion, not profit. 70% of the royalties raised above the publishing and promotion costs will be donated to organizations that provide services to sexual harassment and sexual assault survivors. The editors have prioritized making the book accessible to as many individuals and organizations that could benefit from it. The retail price is only a few dollars above the publishing cost to keep the 300-page plus Anthology as affordable as possible. They have also created a Wish List so that individuals and organizations such as rape crisis centers, gender studies departments, and public libraries who might not otherwise be able to afford copies might be able to receive one.

The truth matters, our stories matter, and you can help.

We Will Not Be Silenced is available in print and Kindle editions.

To help provide copies to others who might not otherwise be able to afford them, please visit our Go Fund Me page.

To be placed on the Wish List for a copy, please email the editors at indieblucollective@gmail.com

WWNBS Back Cover 11-28-2018

Nicole Lyons Reviews We Will Not Be Silenced

‘We Will Not be Silenced’ is a call to arms; it is muffled voices upon strangled voices ripping the gags off to scream their stories and speak truth to power. ‘We Will Not be Silenced’ is rage and heartbreak, it is the soul-crushing pain of the worst kind of human violation being laid bare for all to see, and it is laid bare with an unflinching power that demands you to keep reading. These stories are poignant and disturbing, and they are filled with everything this world needs to read right now.

‘While We Will Not Be Silenced’ is not an easy read, but it is an important one, and while the subject matter is sensitive and the words unforgiving, these stories and essays, the poetry and the prose, the art captured within, have done a service to every survivor of sexual abuse and harassment by taking back their power and reliving their horrors without the shame that most survivors feel.

These writers and poets, the artists and voices who were brave enough to submit their work to this anthology have not only taken their power back, but they have gifted it to every victim, to every survivor, to every single person who has either shouted, “Me Too”  from the rooftops, or whispered it under their breath.

‘We Will Not Be Silenced’ is a beautiful collection of devastating pieces, it is a siren call to survivors everywhere, and a book that should be showcased in every school, stocked on the shelves of every hospital, and sitting on the counters in every police station in the world. ‘We Will Not Be Silenced’ should simply be available to everyone and anyone who has ever been violated, and to everyone and anyone who would be brave enough to speak out and speak up in an era when victims still aren’t being heard.

Bravo to the fearless writers, poets, artists, and survivors who shared their story in order to change the world. We hear you, and I know you hear us too.

– Nicole Lyons

Nicole Lyons is a force of nature disguised as a writer, a social activist, a voice for the downtrodden, and a powerful poet with a delicate touch. She is a best selling published author, poet, and a consulting editor for Sudden Denouement.

Coming Soon From Indie Blu(e) Publishing

What You Should Know About ‘We Will Not Be Silenced’

We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay, and Art is the brainchild of Kindra M. Austin, Candice Louisa Daquin, Rachel Finch, and Christine E. Ray.  The four indie writers and survivors felt compelled to do something after the strongly triggering Kavanaugh Hearings.  We decided that we would advocate, educate, and resist through our art.

We opened submissions for only two weeks to women and men around the world.  The response from writers and artists was overwhelming: the final anthology will include 166 pieces of writing and art from 94 contributors around the globe.  It also led to the birth of Sisters of Indigo Light, dedicated to the healing and empowerment of sexual harassment and sexual abuse survivors through creative expression and community.

The four editors decided early on that this was a project about passion and compassion, not profit.  We are committed to donating 70% of the royalties raised above the publishing and promotion costs to organizations that provide services to sexual harassment and sexual assault survivors.  The further involved we became in the project, the more important it became to us to make the book accessible to as many individuals and organizations that would benefit from it.  This involved the decision to only charge a few dollars above the publishing cost to keep the 300-page plus Anthology as affordable as possible.   It also led us to create a Wish List so that individuals and organizations such as rape crisis centers, gender studies departments, and public libraries who might not otherwise be able to afford copies might be able to receive one.

We believe that it is time that the voices of sexual harassment and sexual assault survivors are heard and respected. The editors of We Will Not Be Silenced know the pain of living with secrets. We also know the healing power of art, and the written word. We believe our collective stories can educate, lessen isolation, and inspire others to tell their stories.  We Will Not Be Silenced is not always an easy read but it is an impactful one.  It is about breaking the silence, telling our truths, reclaiming ourselves and finding our power.

Our goal is release We Will Not Be Silenced by the end of November/first week of December. We need your help getting the word out about this important project.  There many ways to support WWNBS.  Share this story on your social media, add an individual or organization to the Wish List by emailing us at indieblucollective@gmail.com, share the link for the Wish List Go-Fund Me Page, and/or donate to the fund yourself.

The truth matters, our stories matter, and you can help.

kkc

Katherine Love

Carrie Weis

Emily James