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heartbreaking poem about sexual violence in the foster system shows the power of #metoo

November 6, 2017

Because her birth mother was struggling with cocaine addiction, writer and poet Tamika Hedin was adopted by her aunt at birth. “From what I was told by my grandmother, I was my adopted with my mother’s blessing since [my aunt] could never have children of her own,” Hedin told AFROPUNK. “In addition to being sexually molested by my [adoptive] mother’s boyfriends and eventually the man she married, [she] would beat me with anything she could get her hands on whenever I tried to talk to her about what was going on and try to convince her to take me and leave.”

The writer’s gut-wrenching experiences led her to develop a peculiar silence when she was eventually moved into a foster home. There, she experienced even more abuse by her peers for refusing to talk, until she was saved by her Guardian Ad Litem introducing her to poetry. “A Guardian Ad Litem or GAL is advocate assigned to each child that is in foster care to advocate for the child and make sure that any decisions made are in the best interest of the child. She brought me a book by Maya Angelou, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” she explained.

“[Since then], poetry has been my therapy. Maya made me realize that there is life after trauma. A beautiful, powerful, peaceful existence that we all have to create within and for ourselves. I want to be somebody’s Maya.”

These experiences and passion for poetry fueled a heartbreaking video she posted in response to the #MeToo movement, opening up about the violence she withstood in hopes of saving someone else as she was saved.

“My mother died in May of 2016. We were very close during the last ten years of her life,” Hedin said. “I never missed an opportunity to tell her that I loved her and that absolutely all was forgiven. I never thought in a million years I would be able or willing to tell people on any type of mass level what my childhood was like. Now that I have made the decision to do so, I’m excited about how many lives my story will touch.”

Check out the powerful story below!