As the problem of youth violence across the United States reaches crisis levels in metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Ill., New Orleans, La., and Philadelphia, Pa., the poet Nordette Adams increasingly finds herself writing poems and sometimes prayers that reflect sorrow and frustration. The writer has been sharing these works at The Urban Mother Book of Prayers.
Most recently, grieved by the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl on school grounds during a homecoming dance in Richmond, Ca., Adams penned the poem "Daughter, Our Daughter."
"The absolute brutality of the rape taking place at a school function where parents expect their children to be safe was made worse with knowledge that some people stood around and laughed or took pictures with their cell phones," said Adams. "Nobody tried to stop the rape or call the police.
"Also, I keep thinking about how other students describe the victim as a girl who struggled to fit in at school and who showed up to the dance alone in a beautiful purple gown. ... The story is just so tragic on all levels. All these years and we're still raising humans who are inhumane to humans," she said.
The poet further reflected that despite the strides of the women's movement, females are still treated like objects and are too often victims of violence and male aggression.
"Too many of our young people blame the victim in such circumstances. Some blamed this young girl for her rape. And in domestic violence cases, such as rapper Chris Brown beating singer Rihanna, we saw young people again blame the victim. They asked, 'Well, what did she do?' as though there's something she could have done to justify Brown unleashing that kind of rage on her. Or in the case of the gang rape say the girl had done something to cause the rape," she said.
Less than two weeks before the homecoming dance incident, Adams wrote "Every Off The Wall Thing," a piece that she says more accurately falls into the spoken word category. The beating death of the teen in Chicago, Derrion Albert, prompted that poem, said the poet.
The Urban Mother's Book of Prayers.