Anne Eastman Yeomans

A woman in a blue suit comes into a room.
She sits down at a table.
She has blondish hair to her shoulders.
Some of it falls in front of her face.
She brushes it back with her hand.
She is wearing glasses.

Before she speaks,
she straightens her back.
I see the whole length of her torso.
I begin to weep.

I feel the quiet of her,
the presence, the attention, the focus.
Tears are streaming down my cheeks.

She will tell us a story.
She apologizes.
She can’t remember everything.
She wants to be helpful.
She doesn’t have all the details.
She understands why. She has studied this.

She is here because she believes
it is her civic duty.
She didn’t want to come forward.
She is a private person.

This is what she knows.
She was fifteen.
She’d been swimming all day.

She was at a small party in the evening
in a private home.
She went upstairs to the bathroom.
Two older boys followed her.
They forced her into a bedroom.
They were drunk.

They closed the door
and locked it.
They turned up the music
so no one would know.
They were laughing.
One of them pushed her
onto the bed,
ground himself into her,
tried to tear off her clothes.
She screamed.
He covered her mouth
with his hand.

The boys were laughing.
Not at me, she explained,
with each other.
They were laughing.
They locked the door,
turned up the music
so no one would know.

They all tumbled to the floor.
She got away,
hid in the bathroom
until she heard them
stumbling down the stairs.

She opened the door quietly,
came down and left the house.
She doesn’t remember
how she got home.

How are you sure it was him?
she is asked by a senator.
The same way I know I am talking
with you right now,
she answers.
With what degree of certainty
do you believe it was Brett Kavanaugh
who assaulted you?
asks another.
She leans toward the microphone,
with a voice steady and clear
she answers, One hundred percent.

I feel the courage of her,
the deep quiet,
the presence,
the attention,
the focus.

It fills the room,
seeps under the door
and into the halls.
It flows down the steps
of the Senate Building
of The United States of America,
and out into the streets
where the protesters are chanting.
It fills the whole city,
the country, and beyond.
It echoes throughout the world.
It cannot be erased.
She brushes her hair back from her face.

Women and men are listening.
Women and men are watching
in offices, in school yards,
in hospitals and banks,
on street corners,
in homeless shelters and parks.
Many are remembering.
Many are weeping.

* * *

A teenage girl is listening.
She has shiny brown hair
and a thin grey coat.
She is on her way home from school.
The year is 1956.
She is on the subway.
It is crowded,
body against body.
There is a man behind her,
pressing, pressing his hardness
into her.
She can feel the splitting apart
in her brain.

Is this really happening?
No, this couldn’t be happening.
Someone tell me it isn’t true.

Frozen in fear,
she cannot speak or move.

* * *

Then in the afternoon,
a man comes into the room.
The one who, if you believe her,
had covered her mouth with his hand
in order to silence her.
With seething petulance and venom,
he pushes back defiantly,
asserts his innocence,
strikes out at all who would question it.

Some at the table stand with her,
but many others counter
with fury and apology.
How could his good name
be maligned this way.
The woman was mistaken.
She didn’t know
what she knew.
A lovely woman,
but she must be confused.
They were outraged
he had had to endure this.
Several days later the president
publicly mocked her
and the crowd chanted,
Lock her up! Lock her up!

* * *

I can’t get her out of my mind now,
I need to know how she is—
at least leave a note in her mailbox.

Christine, are you OK?
Thank you for your courage.
Thank you for your truth.
The protesters who stood with you
that day have not gone home.
The “We Believe Her” signs
are still here.
Women are standing up
as never before.
The silence is broken.
Take heart!
The speaking has begun.


Poet and social activist Anne Eastman Yeomans has been a psychotherapist and a group facilitator for more than 40 years. Her work focuses on the healing and empowerment of women and the re-honoring of the feminine in all people.