Spoken word for unspoken violence

Spoken word for unspoken violence

I’m Vanessa Agovida, a sophomore at Fordham University. As a bookworm, occasional writer, and actor, I believe in the power of stories to spread awareness and inspire change. Last fall, I became a founding member of Fordham’s first spoken word poetry club, which was started by my friend Sarah Davis. Unlike traditional forms of poetry, spoken word is meant to be seen and heard. There is something uniquely terrifying about presenting original poetry, sometimes due to its intimate subject matter. After our first show, though, a classmate whom I barely knew told me how much my poem resonated with him. Since then, I’ve never doubted the power of spoken word to bring together seemingly disparate people.

This past April, Fordham held their annual local round of Campus MovieFest, a national competition for college students to create a five-minute short film in one week. Naturally, when my friend Shannon asked me to write a poem about domestic abuse for her film entry, I quickly agreed. Collaborating with Sarah, I set out to show how abuse can be quite subtle, having been inspired by another friend’s experience. The story follows Lucy, a young woman who performs a spoken word poem as a way to regain her voice and agency after ending an unhealthy relationship.

The finished product, Mine, won Best Actress and got nominated for Best Drama out of over 100 entries at Fordham. My production team and I were surprised and moved by the response we received from our peers, so we posted the film to Tumblr and Facebook. Since then, it has been promoted by the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Abuse, the Center for the Pacific Asian Family, and End Violence Against Women International. It has been unreal to see how our film has been received by allies and victims of domestic violence from across the US and even in Australia.

Now our team has a chance to bring the film to Hollywood this June by winning the Campus MovieFest Wildcard round, but we need the most views out of all the Fordham teams by this Sunday, May 11. We currently hold a narrow lead over the first place team. Hopefully with the support of We Talk Women, we can bring this important story to a wider audience!

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  1. P.F.A. BY PEARLINA S. STORY, AUTHOR

    P.F.A.

    PROTECT ME, PROTECT ME, PLEASE PROTECT ME!

    Let me start from the beginning. My heart is heavy, in LOVE, he’s so sweet, dependable and kind, he‘s my man. Dinner for two, then three, would be our menu. It soon became a habit waiting, hour after hour then finally he arrives and I say dinner is done, he curses then say I have already eaten and throw the dinner on the floor.

    PROTECT ME, PROTECT ME, PLEASE PROTECT ME!

    Suddenly, my life begin to change always defending my actions of basic living! He demanded answers to: Who are you texting, whose on the phone, why did it take you so long to go to the store, you must be seeing someone. Then the pushing started and self isolation set, I made no more phone calls, no visiting family or friends. I felt alone, he controlled me there was no discussion, I did what he said or else, he was arrogant, cold and rude! I could not breath, I needed air, afraid to live.

    PROTECT ME, PROTECT ME, PLEASE PROTECT ME!

    Couldn’t work or go to school he would follow me and make a scene. Then he would start an argument then the hitting got more intense. Afraid, frighten, scared and unhappy, I sought help from family, friends and co-workers. The police was called many times. See, I thought he would change, so I stayed. Love, confused and honestly lost my dependence of self worth. I had enough, enough bruising, scaring, enough beatings, the court gave me an order for Protection from
    Abuse. At first the order separated us, but my love and his charisma brought us back together. Realizing I was still being in-prisonated, I left HIM, with my child.

    “FREEDOM”

    “FREEDOM” “FREEDOM” “FREEDOM FROM ABUSE!”
    MY SOUL saw the future for ME! It was a long journey, not being able to trust a man, looking over my shoulder, turning this way and that, suddenly afraid to look around to what I thought was a familiar voice. But, it wasn’t him? Then, I would regain my composure. Yes, I am still afraid and the journey is long and hard but I have learned to forgive my trespasser, to accept and learn from the past, I learned to live and let no man take my soul!

    “FREEDOM” “FREEDOM” “FREEDOM FROM ABUSE!”

    NOW, I AM EDUCATED
    NOW, I CAN TALK ON THE PHONE
    NOW, I CAN RAISE MY CHILD IN A NON-HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT

    NOW, WE CAN GO WHERE I WANT TO GO
    NOW, I CAN HAVE FRIENDS LIKE YOU!

    By, Pearlina S. Story

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