We Rise

Poem by Jaqueline Mutere

Our world, our words, we rise!!!

I was the wail in a night, in a day of hideous injustices,

When evil sought to devour me, my essence, my garden!!

I cut into the depths of centuries of the unsaid.

My pain tightens my voice, my chest,

My cry went up … take me out of trouble,

Before the sun is up, my cry for help comes to your ear, I have hope

And… I rise

Centuries of the unsaid is now laid bare, … because

We speak

Freedom !!….. Makes my voice light,

A secure future I create for my children defines hope!

My voice says…. No more war, it says peace, its says healing

For this dream we hope.

Together, we unite, to love, to feel, to walk, to speak, to stand, to resist and insist !!

We rise!!

We speak with our tears, our pain

Then …..

The light pierces the darkness, the garden sees light, and has life!!

No more stigma, no more fear, no more shame!!

Wickedness does not win!! They are shamed to cause the pain

We heal, we sit, then stand to hold hands and resist.

Our words, heal our world, our songs, our solidarity, our resilience is our fist,

We rise!!

 We are alive,

The secret garden has healed, has life and light

….We rise!!

You may have heard about us…

But we are present here today, in living color to speak, to act

And you will see and hear what defines courage, hope and resilience!!

So this is the story….

“that life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we simply get stronger and more resilient.” …

“the oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent ….. And survived.”

And because we are here together,

….We rise!!


Written by Jaqueline Mutere, SEMA member from Kenya, for the the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) Conference in 2022, on behalf of the SEMA network.