I’m honored to be the featured profile today on the amazing website, Me&EVE, an ongoing project created by my warrior-friend, Dorie Hagler, an internationally known photographer and photojournalist. Me&EVE offers “A place for women to be seen, heard and respected. One woman at a time we are changing the world for the better.”
“There I was, a 30 year old woman, a college faculty member and owner of a sexual harassment management firm that trains government agencies, sitting on the floor in my home being beaten and held hostage at gunpoint by my former boyfriend. My Master’s thesis was on Title 7 about awareness, perception and attitudes about sexual harassment and here I was with a shotgun to my sternum, praying to stay alive. I spent my whole life telling myself I was not going to be THIS woman. But I grew up knowing domestic and sexual violence, and girls who experience domestic or sexual violence are 7 times more likely to experience it again as an adult. At one point while being held hostage, I got up and went to the sink to run cold water over my wrists because his fingernails had dug into my arms so deeply that I was bleeding. While the cold water ran over my wrists, he said, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” And I said, “You hurt me. I’m bleeding.” To which he replied, “Yeah? Well, go write a fucking poem about it.” So I did. I wrote a book of poems so that I could write it all down and then close the book on it. Then open a new book and start again. I never meant to publish it, but colleagues encouraged me to publish the book and to educate people about the pandemic of violence against women. The only way we are going to change violence against women is by addressing it again and again. So I published my poems as, the scorched earth, using my personal story and my voice in the public realm as one story of hope, empowerment and change.”
– Dora McQuaid is an award winning poet, activist and speaker. In 2012, McQuaid’s image replaced that of former Penn State coach and convicted pedophile, Jerry Sandusky, in the Inspirations Mural near Penn State, to honor her activism and her being a Penn State University alumna and former faculty member.
To learn more about Me&EVE and to view profiles of other women changing the world, please visit Me&EVE.
To learn more about Dorie Hagler and to view her photographs and projects, please visit Dorie Hagler Photography.