From the moment of my birth, silence has been my enemy. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins all remained silent about the violence in our family. No one spoke the truth, and if they did, they were told by other family members to not speak about it out loud, to remain silent, to act as if nothing terrible was happening.

My family has been my greatest enemy in matters of what was actually happening. To speak out loud, telling my truth meant shunning, scolding, chattering behind my back. Others who wanted to speak did not for fear of being treated with these methods. They wanted to belong. 

I have never wanted to belong, it meant giving up my truth, conforming, submitting, obeying, being less than human. I had to stop thinking and acting based upon what I knew to be true. 

Silence is a killer of one's humanity. 

Clint Smith tells it from his experiences. 

The danger of silence

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Comment by Michael Penn on August 16, 2014 at 8:05am

Silence is a killer of one's humanity. I like that, Joan. It might also be said that silence is a testimony to things that others want to deny having happened. People either want to silence you or shame you. When I joined the Army at age 18 my step-father said to me "look at what you have done to your mother." I wasn't aware that I did anything to my mother. I was very much aware of what the 2 of them did to me, however.

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