Poetry event to allow survivors to speak out

The Waco Hippodrome Theatre will be hosting Unsilent : Survivors Speak, an evening of poetry and spoken word about interpersonal violence.

The event will take place at 9:30 p.m. on today and is free and open to the public. It is hosted by the Waco Poets Society and Kyndall Rothaus, 2011 Truett Seminary graduate and pastor of Lakeshore Baptist Church.

Unsilent: Survivors Speak immediately follows Prayers for Survivors: A Time For Anger which begins at 8 p.m. at Elliston Chapel.

Rothaus is speaking at Prayers for Survivors and performing at Unsilent. She said she believes these events are important because there are not many safe spaces for people to creatively express their feelings.

“No one ever created the space for me, so we’re creating the space for you,” Rothaus said. “A space for survivors to tell their stories and listen with respect.”

Rothaus wants these spaces to empower survivors to get support and encourage allies to help their friends and survivors in their lives.

Sharyl West Loeung, a 2011 Truett Seminary graduate, believes there is a Biblical precedent of anger being healthy and she hopes these two events allow students to share and hear testimony that they can relate to and identify with.

“Psalmists cry out to God and we should too,” Loeung said. “I hope students of all backgrounds come to both events and cry to God for themselves and on behalf of others.”

Loeung hopes these events will encourage students to move away from the rhetoric she often heard in church such as “forgive and forget” and “good girls don’t get angry.” Loeung believes skipping the process of anger can be detrimental to healing and hopes students will come and express their anger through the prayer and spoken word opportunities Tuesday night.

There will be an opportunity to make a donation to the Family Abuse Center and the Advocacy Center of Waco, two local organizations providing services and support for children and adults who are recovering from sexual assault and family abuse.

Georgetown sophomore Audrey Hamlin is one of seven guest poets performing at Unsilent :: Survivors Speak.

Hamlin often wrote poetry as a child but really got involved with it as a way to cope with her own experiences with interpersonal violence.

She believes the event will provide an accurate view of what it is like to survive abuse through raw and vulnerable performances from survivors.

“Even if you haven’t experienced interpersonal violence, come to this event because more than likely there is someone in your life who has and this can help you love the survivors in your life.” Hamlin said.

Hamlin will perform a piece about what it looks like to cope with memories of violence. She will discuss how violence can cause life to revolve around your abuse and your abuser and how she personally struggled with defining her life by the good experiences and not the bad.

“I am more courageous and compassionate and beautiful because I am a survivor, and that is not credited to my abuser. That is credited to me,” Hamlin said.