What She Was Wearing

Shawn Aveningo Sanders (Author) Robert R. Sanders (Cover Design by)
Available

Description

How long can you keep a dark secret before you become completely unraveled? In What She Was Wearing, Shawn Aveningo Sanders uses poetry, prose, and letters to tell her #MeToo story--one that has taken over 30 years to reveal.

In this collection, Shawn shares her nightmare of being raped at a fraternity toga party, and examines the event from a variety of perspectives, including poems written from the viewpoint of her attackers; the toga she was wearing; homecoming years later; and even the moment she told her college-aged children. As Shawn's story unfolds, the reader will come to understand how significant the aftermath of rape can be. For decades, she was "triggered" in the most unexpected ways and is just now recognizing how those triggers impacted her self-worth.

Inspired by the countless number of women who are bravely opening up to share their truth, she adds her voice to the fight against the oppressive, misogynic times we live in. It's time to stop blaming the victim and to stop asking what she was wearing! For Shawn, writing through the pain and sharing these poems has proven to be cathartic and even epiphanic at times. It is her hope this work can help women of all ages face and cope with their own traumas, while letting them know they can indeed heal and go on to enjoy loving, trusting relationships.

Advance Praise for What She Was Wearing:

"Starkly honest and memorably graceful, these poems are a virtuoso performance of feminism and survival."
--Amy Miller, author of The Trouble with New England Girls

"Forced into silence for too long, women all over this world are now speaking out, saying #MeToo. What She Was Wearing is Sanders' brave voice joining this transforming chorus."
--Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita

"Shawn Aveningo Sanders has turned shame, anguish and grief into poetry, ... teach[ing] the audience about pain in a way they will absorb and comprehend, creating deep levels of empathy?"
--Judith Arcana, poet & activist for reproductive rights, author of Announcements from the Planetarium

"What She Was Wearing demonstrates how sexual assault impacts the entirety of the survivor's life and shows us how one can fight their way back to feeling whole again."
--Christopher Luna, Clark County, WA's inaugural poet laureate

"As a fellow #MeToo survivor, all 25 poems in the book spoke to me."
--Sharon Wood Wortman, poet, storyteller, author of The Portland Bridge Book

"Fresh and unflinching"
--Leslie Anne Mcilroy, co-founder HEArt: Human Equity through Art

Product Details

Price
$12.00
Publisher
Poetry Box
Publish Date
November 05, 2019
Pages
50
Dimensions
5.51 X 0.1 X 8.5 inches | 0.15 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781948461320
BISAC Categories:

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Shawn Aveningo Sanders grew up in St Louis, Missouri and after a bit of globetrotting finally landed in Portland, Oregon, where she miraculously overcame her lifelong fear of birds upon meeting two baby juncos in her backyard. She believes poetry is the perfect literary art form for today's fast-paced world, due to its power to stir emotion in less than two minutes. Since 2008, Shawn's work has appeared globally in over 150 literary journals and anthologies. She's a Pushcart nominee, Best of the Net nominee, and managing editor for The Poeming Pigeon. She was named Best Female Poet-Performer in the Sacramento News & Review Reader Poll (2009) and was winner of the first poetry slam in Placerville, California (2012). Shawn is a proud mother of three amazing adults, and she shares the creative life with her husband, Robert. You can learn more about her at RedShoePoet.com.

Reviews

Dedicated "to those who have suffered in silence," this book is a testimony to Shawn Aveningo Sanders' courage. For thirty years, she kept a secret that verged on unraveling her, a secret so devastating she once attempted suicide. But here she transcends the traps of shame and self-reproach to confront--in a sequence of poems and epistolary prose--the four men who, as college fraternity brothers, raped her. Forced into silence for too long, women all over this world are now speaking out, saying #MeToo. What She Was Wearing is Sanders' brave voice joining this transforming chorus. --Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita

Shawn Aveningo Sanders' story of living with the aftermath of violence emerges like a geode that's been cracked open after years underground. Each image has been remembered and re-remembered, stored, pressurized, and slowly shaped into a single facet of the experience. From the earrings she was wearing to explaining the assault to her college-age children years later, Aveningo Sanders spares no detail and lets no one off the hook. Starkly honest and memorably graceful, these poems are a virtuoso performance of feminism and survival, as well as a wholly human story that far too many women will understand. --Amy Miller, author of The Trouble with New England Girls

Some of the women and girls who've spoken out in the #MeToo movement have spoken in anguish, and in grief. Some have spoken in shame. In What She Was Wearing, Shawn Aveningo Sanders has turned that shame, anguish and grief into poetry, as poets have done for thousands of years. Most of us read about the assaults sustained by those women and girls online, connecting with their words through machines. Here, we learn about their flesh and blood, their spirit, in a profoundly different -- indeed, a classic -- form, in poems. When poems are made of fear and rage, do the readers of those poems feel fear and rage? When art is made of pain, does it hurt its audience? Or does it teach that audience about pain in a way they will absorb and comprehend, creating deep levels of empathy? The latter effect is surely likely for Shawn Aveningo Sanders' poems, poems that persist in questioning personal responsibility over decades, struggling yet to understand. The variety of form the poet has chosen (compelling in its inclusion of lists, erasures, rhyming stanzas), and the characters she has included (her own children, years later; the girl she saved from the rapist who attacked her) are notable choices, moving readers from personal history, the event itself--still burning inside the body of the poet, to social history in this time of burning revelation. --Judith Arcana, poet & activist for reproductive rights, author of Announcements from the Planetarium

What She Was Wearing begins with the author's violation by men whom she once considered friends. The reader is not permitted to look away as Shawn Aveningo Sanders recounts a terrifying story that is all too familiar, a maddening reminder that rape can happen to anyone, anywhere, without warning. These poems also remind us of the damage caused by blaming the victim. What She Was Wearing demonstrates how sexual assault impacts the entirety of the survivor's life and shows us how one can fight their way back to feeling whole again. --Christopher Luna, Clark County, WA's inaugural poet laureate (2013-2017)