Skin Affliction by Faith Rice

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, “Not for Ourselves Alone” is running a special series called 30 Days of Bodyshaming, designed to give a voice to the many different experiences of girls and women. This series will feature guest posts by professors, writers, a nutritionist, a cartoonist, young girls, and mothers. Gut wrenching and honest, these stories are presented in an attempt to bring about a deeper understanding of the plight of girls and women as we make our way in world that, for us, is hostile at its best and violent at its worst.


I don’t wear my emotions on my sleeve

They are on my arms like skin badges

With him I wore sweaters and jackets

Hoping that my fashion sense

Would hang like courage and strength

But when I let him peel my clothes off

I couldn’t hide them anymore

He stared at them and laughed

Then used an army knife to

Carefully carve into my flesh.

He said,” I’m giving you a badge of honor.”

But now it looks like a really bad scar

All blacks, purples, and blues and raised skin


My emotions are on my arms like skin


When he touches me I want to jump out

of this skin

I turn my face to hide the pain

But he says, “I want to see all of you.”

I adjust my clothes and zip my jacket

to my chin And let him think that I am

afraid that he will hurt me

When I’m really afraid he’ll see

the “badge of honor” still dark,

still browns and blacks, half scabbed, half pink.

How do I explain that I allowed another to brand me


When he touches me I want to jump out of

my skin and into his so that I can feel

what its like to look at me and see precision

in my contour. My outlines.

The details are just too harsh for me to reveal

And though his touch feels genuine

I’m really afraid


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Faith Rice, Book Group Leader

Ms. Rice is a spoken word poet, playwright, independent instructor, and director. She has won awards in visual arts, open mic competitions, talent shows, and youth leadership and violence prevention. She has also co-written and directed a live hip-hopera, I Cry, and a play based on the biography of Blair Holt. In 2008, she founded a spoken word organization called Verbatim which has currently evolved into its sister organization West Side School for the Desperate. In 2011 she became a national poet and spokesperson for STRYVE Network, an organization that is dedicated to increasing awareness of youth violence. Faith graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Poetry at Columbia College Chicago in 2010 and received her Masters of Science in Child Development in 2013. After Completing two years as a Teach for America Corps Member, she is currently pursuing her poetry and being a youth advocate full time.

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