Denise Barnes’s Song: Who WAS THIS MAN

Denise Barnes’s Song: Who WAS THIS MAN

By: Denise Barnes, Cape Town South Africa (Lyrics have been recorded by Tina Schouw).

Who Was This Man…
Who was this man that played a game that made my tummy turn? That made me wet my bed?
Who was this man that brought my mind so much confusion?
Who was this man who seduced my innocence, and corrupted my soul?
Who was this man that caused me to hold my breath, and forget how to exhale?
Who was this man that killed the child I never got to be?
Who was this man that violently tore my being a girl? My becoming a lady? My being a woman?
My being a virgin in my body, knowledge and in my soul?
He made a girl a woman far too soon!!
Who was this man?
Surely not you my father?
Surely not the man who had a part in conceiving me and giving me life?
Only to take my very life from me?
It would’ve been better not to have been born than to have lived the life you brought me into.
I grew up but no one raised me…
Who was this man who took my life before I knew the meaning of living?
Who was this man that was a part of creating me but never gave me the opportunity to be a person?
Who was this man that stripped me of my humanity before I knew its meaning?
Surely not you my father?
I long to know the innocence of being a child.
I long to know the security of not being afraid in my own home.
I long to know what it feels like to not be afraid of the dark.
I long to know how not to feel guilty about the things I’ve been made to do.
I long to live without guilt and shame, even of my own body.
Surely not you my father has caused my being to be so confused in a whirl wind of self doubt and fear.
The shame of living with the knowledge of raw nakedness in adult form.
The memories imprinted like scenes from a distance world, too difficult to embrace as the life of my own.
Who was this man that planted me in a parallel universe?
Where I live outside the world around me longing to belong?
Being surrounded but still lonely in this world which is not the same as that which is around me…
Surely not you my father?
Who was this man?
Surely not you my father?
……………………………………….

I wrote this poem about what my dad did to me growing up but he wasn’t the only man who sexually violated me. I see my life as being born but no one raised me. I don’t wanna live with the memories of my childhood of men & teenage boys having their way with me. I survived my childhood by the grace of God but being an adult knowing what I went through breaks my heart & I wish I could make it better. I live in a parallel world, most of my colleagues, clients, business associates know nothing about what I had to endure as a child. The fact that I’m alive is alone by grace but I feel like an empty body because my innocence was stripped from me before I even got to know right from wrong, before i could develop into a person. I’m so afraid of being seen. I’m surrounded by people and still alone.
My life feels broken no matter what i achieve. Sometimes i wanna have more motivation to live my best life and do the best i can to give my 2 beautiful girls their best life and sometimes i just wanna take myself out of my misery and stop breathing and stop feeling and stop being afraid of the dark or my own guilt for allowing so many things to happen to my body.
My greatest wish is to be like and feel like a child being held against my fathers chest and be safe. I wanna feel God and know that He loves me cause He holds me and that He won’t be angry with me for hating my earthly father because of what he has done – i just want to be held and feel safe and for this burden filled with guilt and shame to be taken away from me – i wanna be a different person with a different story and new beginning. I want to decide who the person is that I give myself away to – a man who loves me, respects me and wants to be one with me as his wife. I wanna experience a dance to the rhythm of our hearts beat and be a complete woman not a broken, lost girl child who was killed but left alive with pieces that can’t be fixed.

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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