Terrain Vol. 1 Issue 1

Page 1


MISSION STATEMENT..............................................2 LETTER FROM THE CURATOR........................................3 Terms..........................................................4 This is Rape Culture...........................................5 Survivor Politic...............................................6 Plea to Kindness...............................................7 You Close In...................................................8 Laburnum.......................................................9 >>I AM A VCR>>................................................11 //rebuilt//...................................................13 SWIM ACROSS THE ENGLISH CHANNEL...............................14 Untitled......................................................15 A Single Stone................................................16 Gone Girl.....................................................18 Him...........................................................19 AUTHOR BIOS...................................................20 RESOURCES.....................................................21 SUBMISSION GUIDELINES.........................................22


MISSION STATEMENT Terrain Zine is a safe space for victims and survivors of sexual assault to map and navigate the terrains of our trauma through written and visual art forms. Visualizing trauma as a terrain allows us to reify it into something visible and tangible, which then becomes a point of access for others in similar situations. Positioning trauma in a Euclidian space and positing it as a threedimensional entity absolves some of its abstraction. Trigger Warnings for rape and CSA for the content that follows.


LETTER FROM THE CURATOR In a way, this zine blossomed from roots of selfishness. wanted to be heard. I wanted to throw what happened back world for everyone to see. I wanted empathy. I wanted to less alone. I wanted to be more than some college campus statistic.

I at the feel safety

I knew that the things I wanted weren’t really selfish at all, but at the time they felt so. Why? Because they were unattainable. I couldn’t seek empathy with people who did not share a similar experience. No matter how much they cared about me as a person, no matter how much sympathy and support they showed, some people just couldn’t understand what I was going through. It took me forever to realize that I had to find the people who did. Someone wonderful once told me that we’re all textbook. No one’s ever feeling anything new. I knew there were other survivors out there who wanted exactly what I did. I knew we survivors needed a safe space to navigate our trauma, and figured hey, we’re all artists—why not start an art zine for us? After much debate over titling and intent, Terrain was born. Truth be told, this entire project terrified me. In the aftermath of my assault, I internalized so much of my abuser’s dismissiveness and victim-blaming that I almost felt like I had no right to want to express myself. I spent so long feeling like I had no control over any aspect of my life that putting together a zine and calling for submissions from other people felt like the last thing I should’ve been doing. But I did it, and I don’t regret any part of it. Thank you so much to everyone who submitted to this first issue. Words can’t encapsulate the magnitude of the bravery and courage it takes to acknowledge trauma, let alone flesh it into art and display it to the world. To those who didn’t submit, but thought about it, and to those who won’t submit at all, I just want you to know you’re not alone. May empathy be found within these pages.


Erin Taylor Terms I’m coming to terms that I was too nice to say no that I didn’t want to seem odd or uncomfortable or like a bitch or a bad host instead of vocalizing “No, this isn’t what we agreed this is painful please stop.” I am coming to terms that I have been internalizing victim blaming even though I consider myself a feminist, when he raped me I denied it “I invited him back I put myself in this situation I let him into my bed it was sex.” even though when he left the next morning I felt violated I am coming to terms that when I told my mother she responded “We have all been there, it happens, I have been there.” and the fact that my older sister after having been raped only believed that men would love her if she gave them sex sexualized self worth I am coming to terms that when I told friends they responded similarly I am coming to terms that I will never be able to yell at my rapist I am coming to terms that rapist now has the word “my” in front of it I am coming to terms.


Erin Taylor This is Rape Culture a group of girls sit in a circle discussing the age that men started sexualizing them. this is rape culture. walking around with cans of mace, screwdrivers in purses, and keys in hands. this is rape culture. a girl is gang raped in a crowd at a party, filmed, and people still say “well what was she expecting drinking?� this is rape culture. we internalize defense systems like we are preparing for war while all we are trying to do is live. this is rape culture. I am tired of having to matter in relation to a man TO MATTER, I am not a sister, a daughter, a mother first, I am a human being. this is rape culture. this is rape culture.


JM Douglas Survivor Politic when your mind is not a safe place and the sky burns differently than it did before, you are no survivor just a placeholder or a shadow for the one who died before. there is no telling who she would have been before the hands the clammy weight of bodies now there is only you, the after-image, the sum of the shattered and the whole.


JM Douglas Plea to Kindness see the sky drawn low, mute and snow-struck, wanting to kiss you? and you, not wanting to be touched, not even by air. not even by frost. your bones are the bones of a mammal in orbit. loop after loop- what comes when you split yourself wrist to calf, cheek to abdomen? your arms are grown tired. I know your bones, tender tendon, your skin and what you’ve done to it.


JM Douglas

You Close In the things I cannot hear course down-river, migrate over abyssal plains, cycle under. I feel disaster coming each time I take a breath. the walls are getting warmer I see an avalanche when you close your hands you've got a talent for breathing smoke


Laburnum by CrowBirdArt 9

CrowBirdArt ARTIST’S STATEMENT Sexual trauma is always hurtful, but especially so when inflicted as a child. Now as an adult, there are things I fear that may be permanent. The act of hiding under a blanket when something scary comes is a child's armour. But blankets don't protect much.


Eva Azenaro Acero >>I AM A VCR>> we are watching television, you and i. we are sitting side by side on a couch that sinks beneath my weight, we are staring at a man who is staring at a woman who is staring at her lap. she is young and thin; her shirt is unbuttoned slightly. we know what comes next, we all do. i cannot feel my chest. there is fire in my lungs my eyes my throat; somebody douse my body with water. drown me. >pause. >rewind. we are lying on the floor and it is spinning around us, counterclockwise. we are clinking small glass bottles together. giggling. there is more television in the background, but i am not thinking about that; i am busy counting the freckles on my hand and measuring the size of my wrist (i do this a lot now). you are rolling onto your back, you are asking me about my sex life, your eyes faded but smile wide. i am debating how loose my tongue is. if i blow this bubble will it pop and cover my esophagus like a drum? thump thump thump. you are blurring against my eyes. i tell you it is nonexistent. i take a drink. >rewind. >faster. sitting against my bed, leaning into plastic. you are rubbing my shoulder, i am sobbing and there are puddles on the rug but i am burning; i want to destroy a forest. i swallow, choke out if i tell you why i am shivering you must promise not to touch me. if i write this out i need you to excuse my language, please open your hands and offer me a bar of soap. clean me out, i taste of dirt. i am speaking calmly but i am begging you: please don’t put me in your words; mine are jumbled enough as it is. i have become a basket case with a bow on top. i will not remember this in the morning. >rewind >we are not there yet. 11

Eva Azenaro Acero it can take 10 years for HIV to show up in your system, the teacher says. i look at you and you shrug, roll your eyes. my lungs are on fire. i faint in the bathroom. > rewindrewindrewindrewi i am watching from the inside of the upstairs loft. i am watching you at the table, i am watching you watch each other watch the little one. i am reaching for you; there are so many wooden bars but my fingers might still find a space. such a small room, why is there nothing to see? his hand is tight against my mouth. >play


Eva Azenaro Acero //rebuilt// i have a terrible habit of pulling myself apart when i think no one is looking; i tear off little bits of myself and scatter them in every room. in this way i leave a trace, although each piece is only half mine. (you know who the other half belongs to.) at this rate i could be brought in for a murder investigation one day. “we found a small piece of tongue under the victim’s sofa,” the officer will announce; he will be proud of himself, and i will shrug and say “at least i was there.” i will be sentenced to ten years in prison and i will leave charcoal fingerprints on every chair within reach. the walls will crumble -my dna will stain every brick. i have traveled far and wide now. you know this; somehow i feel you have been following my pieces, moving them slightly to the left. when i turn to look you are nowhere to be found, but my path has become tilted. you have moved my map, perhaps this is you trying a different route; but searching for you means going backwards means starting over, and i am not willing to reattach my skin cells. (do not walk too closely. i have already taken several showers and your touch has yet to dissipate.) blink. there are spots in my vision now; i am running out of things to give away. i left a large chunk of my leg in New Jersey, thinking it would keep the worst of this, that i would leave that state in a better way than it left me. i was incorrect. now my fibula is rebuilt but i cannot walk quite as fast. you wait for me to catch up, watch me place my elbow on the earth behind me. (i am a part of you.) i do not mind. smile away, oh love of mine; i will tear myself apart if it means i can build with my hands one day. they are the only things that still belong to me.


Eva Azenaro Acero SWIM ACROSS THE ENGLISH CHANNEL they do not tell you that the world is so dirty, that you will sit in doctor’s offices and cringe at the mud beneath your nails they pat your shoulder leave dust marks on your shirt they cough kind words into your face and leave a fine layer of grit you cringe you are a shower-taker a water-drinker hurricane eyes and salty teeth you wanted to be a mermaid when you were young and they towered over you said yes of course, may i see your scales? poor fish you offered up your legs not knowing they hadn’t been melted into a tail yet you thought they were unbreakable magic is a tricky thing, after all.


Skella Beaudet Untitled He sucks in poison with his throat He sticks his paddle in my moat Bubbles and meat in his body Flesh on flesh booze foggy You don't care what you will find there Egg shells teeth and hair Just take what you decided your need Just take what you are promised He lights his fire and yawns as it ashes my earth He counts his coins as i admire his girth When he sleeps he sleeps just fine Never thinking about the line You don't care what you will find here Egg shells bones and tears Just take what you decided Take in your nature, no fault No thought of what is left in the wake Future children on the bed I try and catch up in my head Clothes quickly thrown on The moonlight reaches through to comfort my bare skin, even with shades drawn You don't care what you will find there Egg shells bones and hair I wash, the stain never goes I gave you the curl in my toes Blue bottoms eventually thrown out memories cemented in grout The distinct smell of fall in the air I sit in my chair And wish I was anywhere but there Cause in my lap Are crushed egg shells, chipped teeth and matted hair 15

Dawn Graham A Single Stone “I know what you want better than you do.” I had told him to stop. I was having a flashback. He told me this instead. It is not the worst thing he ever did. It was a single stone in the massive pile he’d placed on top of me. Thoughtfully. With intention. None large enough to be a burden on their own. But together, a force designed to demolish. It was a couple minutes out of a couple million. When people ask what he did, I do not speak of this stone. I speak of the pile. Of being crushed, slowly. Til I am covered. Hidden from view and unable to move. The pile is what broke me down, not the single stone. But people walk right past the pile. Perhaps they are afraid to dismantle it. Fearful it will tumble onto them.


Ozyma Lachelle GONE GIRL i see what you did there— tried to make me another skeleton in your closet tried to stuff my bones into the same sad, sick void that birthed you. the nerve, the guts, the balls you had after i told you i saw my mother hurt too many times to do anything but learn to fight my way, fang and claw, out of any kind of pain. now i have to show you what happens when you try and make a wound like me go away without a salve— like i wouldn’t remember that you thought gone girl was a feminist masterpiece, as if it’s groundbreaking to show women doing what they’re capable of—being ruthless, getting revenge, lying through bared teeth. i could do that, too, mind you, if i wasn’t a slut for justice. it’s not subversive to let the world know that women can be awful too, but you’d love that, wouldn’t you, if female vindictiveness was the mystery behind rape culture and not you? your greed, your need to take what was already being given— and to think i thought i loved you, but i have to hate you now that you’ve made me an agent of karma, and if calling me gone girl is what absolves you of your filth, then so be it. but just so we’re clear, amy dunne isn’t real, and i’m not going anywhere.


Ozyma Lachelle Him you heard stories about the women who fell for him, told in tones that made you think they’d wandered drunk into a forest and come back covered in hives— like it was all their fault. you were convinced it would never happen to you because you carried aloe vera and you know poison ivy when you see it—never mind that you’d been squinting an awful lot, seeing shadows where they ought not have been. i don’t blame you for seeing the light before you saw the hellfire behind it. you were tired of standing after being on your feet for so long, and it suddenly seemed like God gave you knees just to fall into him. you wondered how you ever weathered the cold that came before. the red flags looked like roses to you. you carved your pelvis into a fire pit, chopped your bones to kindling in the hopes of keeping him alight. he smelled of youth and truth, but he never took an honest breath around you. he loved the way you cried and thought you looked best when defeated. his favorite song was the rumble of your empty stomach and your eyes were always prettiest unseeing. he loved unraveling you 18

Ozyma Lachelle and re-spooling the thread. you felt so at home in his basket and warmed at the thought of what he’d make of you. but any given moment is only the beginning of an end to something. history has a heart of its own, and it craves repetition. he kept you holding out for better days that never came. he told you that the way you cling, like smoke, is the reason men don’t love you. when his fingers uncurled and let you go, you opened your eyes on an orchard, saw the sky dropping the sun below the horizon and heard the cores of rotting apples sing a song of how you were not abandoned, but released from your tree of blight.


AUTHOR BIOS Erin Taylor is a Tulsan poet currently based in Hangzhou, China. Eva Azenaro Acero is an illustrator, writer, and ardent feminist based in Chicago; utilizing a variety of mediums and inspirations, her work explores the unusual and obscure, often at equally odd hours. follow her on twitter @birdlets & on tumblr at birdlit.tumblr.com. Dawn Graham is passionate about social justice and has devoted a good chunk of her life to working with youth, queer communities, and people who have experienced violence. You can find her at dawngraham.com. Ozyma Lachelle, creator and curator of Terrain Zine, is a Bay Area-based poet, author, and zine enthusiast. You can find them on twitter @lozymandias_ or at detroitian.tumblr.com.


RESOURCES National Sexual Assault Hotline: National hotline, operated by RAINN, that serves people affected by sexual violence. It automatically routes the caller to their nearest rape crisis center. You can also search your local center at http://centers.rainn.org/. Hotline: 800-656-HOPE National Sexual Violence Resource Center: This site offers a wide variety of information relating to sexual violence including a large legal resource library. http://www.nsvrc.org/ Survivors of Incest Anonymous: They provide information on how to find incest survivor support groups in your area. http://www.siawso.org/ GirlThrive: Girlthrive Inc. honors teen girls and young women who have survived incest and all sex abuse through thriverships, opportunity and education. http://www.girlthrive.com/ Deaf Abused Women’s Network (DAWN): Legal, medical, system advocacy and survivor support services. Video Phone: 202-559-5366 website: http://www.deafdawn.org/ NotAlone.gov: A government website dedicated to educating students and schools about Title IX and sexual assault. FORGE (For Ourselves: Reworking Gender Expression): Home to the Transgender Sexual Violence Project. Provides services and publishes research for transgender persons experiencing violence and their loved ones. http://forge-forward.org/ Association for LGBT Issues in Counseling’s: Directory of LGBTfriendly mental health specialists across the United States. Specialists listed are verified members of AGLBTIC, a division of the American Counseling Association. http://www.algbtic.org/ National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Provides crisis suicide intervention, self-harm counseling and assistance, and local mental health referrals. Calls are routed to local centers. Hotline: 800-273-TALK (8255) and for the Spanish line call 888628-9454 or TTY: 800-799-4TTY (4889)


CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS The next deadline is November 26th, with a December 1st publication date. The following submissions are accepted • • • • • • • • • • • •

Poetry Personal essays Short fiction Short non-fiction Self-care routines and healing advice Dissections of rape culture in media Photography and photo journals Illustrations Drawings Paintings Collages Digital art

*in the physical copies, visual arts will be in black and white Please send your submissions (maximum of 3 per person) to terrainzine@gmail.com in .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt, .png, .jpg, or .jpeg format. Max 2,000 words combined for written submissions. The subject line of your email should include title, author/artist/pseudonym. While not mandatory, feel free to include a short bio and artists’ statement. Submissions may also be made anonymously–if you opt for anonymity, please specify in the title and body of your email. Submissions are unpaid, however anyone whose submission is published will receive a free printed copy of their issue. Please do not submit if you do not identify as a survivor. For next month’s issue, I’m including a prompt: If rape culture was a person, what would you say to them? Submissions may or may not answer this question. It’s just something to get you going if you want to submit but are having trouble getting started. 22

Front image: Odyssey views a surface changed by floods Contact: terrainzine@gmail.com terrainzine.tumblr.com @terrainzine

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