Civic Memory, Feminist Future
Lidia Yuknavitch

Thank you, Lidia. Daughters ( and sisters ) will always be shamed when we speak out, shamed sometimes even by other daughters. Incest is the first colonization, the first of many attempts to disempower women, as girls, so that by the time we reach adulthood, we are already deeply enculturated to deny ourselves our right to power.

In the 80’s, women began to speak publicly about incest and sexual abuse. As a peer counselor to women, I heard stories of such horror that I felt I had been woken up from a cultural anesthesia, a drug that silenced us, and took away our memories. Ironically, in that time, a counter-movement formed, aided by the psychiatric practitioners’ community, which brought into being a phenomenon called “False Memory Syndrome.” Led by a man accused of incest, by his daughter, it gained enormous traction, and I watched as the voices of women once again were silenced, as women once again became mute.

Yes, we, all of us, know how to reach out from the darkness and find hands to hold, circles to join, and visions to enact. Thank you for reminding us of our ability to rise above, protest against, and organize to ultimately dismantle the power of the fathers.

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