Reverend Dr. Barbara Edemea returns to The Nightingale with a series of positive intentions celebrating belief in one another, oneself, and our community of survivors. These intentions are at once universal and specific–with a “he” and a “she” in this piece, we have characters that speak to Edema’s own experience and reflect a common narrative of sexual violence, but her intentions of strength and support can be valued by all readers regardless of gender or situation. These loving, supportive intentions serve as a reminder of the power in solidarity, and they are also a preview of what is to come in our upcoming issue of Awakened Voices, centered around affirmations and intentions, to be released in May.  


by Barbara Edema

When she says, “Me too.” When she says, “You know me.” 

My intention is to sit, listen, acknowledge, and support her. 


When she says nothing, but her tears tell the story, 

My intention is to let the story be told, then validate her truth so she can catch her breath. 


When she says, “He did these things.”  

My intention is to believe her and share her pain. 


When she says, “He tried to silence my voice, steal my identity, erase my name, and destroy my soul…” 

My intention is to remind her of her humanity. My intention is to remind her of her powerful voice. My intention is to remind her of her strength. 


When he (whoever he may be) thinks he can trample her being and steal her voice, 

My intention is to join with all the voices who condemn him for his brazen cruelty. 


When he (whoever he may be) attacks, beats, and abuses women for decades and somehow evades justice, 

My intention is to encourage the women who finally have their say. 


When he (whoever he may be) says, “It was her fault. She wanted it.” 

My intention is to be enraged, and then work to highlight her brave honesty. 


Whether he is a movie mogul, a president, a man of power, or the guy down the street, 

My intention is to condemn his lies, his ruthlessness, and his brutality. 


When he goes to prison, 

My intention is to lift my eyes with hers and feel the streams of justice flow down. 


And tomorrow, when he (whoever he may be) is made known for his brand of cruelty, 

My intention is to continue the fight with her.  



The Reverend Dr. Barbara Edema has been a pastor for over twenty five years. Her most recent pastorate was interim work at an open and affirming church in Grand Ledge, Michigan. She is a survivor of sexual abuse. She is the author of poems and prose about abuse and healing. She is also the author of The Pastor Maggie Series available at and She is a wife, mother, and happy owner of four rescue cats.