ENOUGH: All I Could Do to Survive


ENOUGH is a Rumpus series devoted to creating a dedicated space for essays, poetry, fiction, comics, and artwork by women and non-binary people that engage with rape culture, sexual assault, and domestic violence.

The series runs every Tuesday afternoon. Each week we will highlight different voices and stories.


I’ve Been Prey for Most of My Life
Leonora Simonovis

in the subway a man pressed against

my hips           on the bus a hand on

my thigh   someone’s sweat dripping

into my pores     eyes lift up my skirts,

crawl inside my shirt

at home my mother’s uncle tangoes

his legs between mine

let me show you how’s it’s done    get closer

my hand inside his      his other hand

I don’t  remember       my mother

howls      pounds her fists

on his chest     pulls our

shadows apart she knows

what it is to be hunted

we share this history

dodge the bullets of others’

desire    shroud ourselves in silence

but still they come     call us names

virgen  puta  madre  puta  hija 

don’t let them touch you

don’t give yourself away don’t  

don’t don’t don’t


Head in a Gunnysack
Judith Roitman

head in a gunnysack arms interchangeable someone upstairs complaining feet and hands

first comes the stomach knife in the pocket I can’t track it you tear my mouth loose

hands on head put your hands on your head side of the road side of beef mustard

we went to the flowers we ate worms why are you pulling your pants off what do you want with me

we peeled shrimp my skin is peeling I don’t speak the language the train doesn’t stop

first I thought you were my uncle I thought I would drown I thought my breasts were frozen

little lilies in the water little lilies underground little lilies following me everywhere

it’s a straight line but it curves anyway turn your head why don’t you let me turn my head

I’m seeing double I can’t erase anything what kind of document lies on the road like that

snow fell on the road the car door was locked I couldn’t get out there was no way to get out

face pressed against glass spinning out of control night sky extended days spent alone

pressed to a radiator pressed in an elevator pressed against walls pressed into water

how do you swim how do you recognize how do you turn your head once and once and again

such a cool drink I had it once wind in the sails wind across the courtyard

they dance in the courtyard no one can stop them please someone stop them they’re going to die

his face looming it’s not his face that looms you can’t get out of this morning lasts forever

her tears haven’t stopped her tears aren’t broken feed the dog to the animals feed to the children

tell us your name tell us your origin tell us what you want you know you can’t have it

penis pressed against my neck his head angle and witnesses


Laura LeHew

sister they side with the other parent   they
won’t believe your daughter’s accusations her
sobbing nightmares   her confessional   her
school counselor calling the cops   her investigation   her

father touching her   her naked bath-time photos   sister
they won’t believe her phone calls   her articulate details   her
mother won’t believe her as a standard deviation   her
mother won’t care if she knew her ex-husband’s father had

similar allegations   her daughter will accrue time
with her father anyhow equals
equals who is going to watch her
while her mother has a drink or two   her

mother will sigh creative imagination—her
story’s deceptively attractive


When the Basilica Roof Brooded
Sabrina San Miguel

Swept needles
from cedar tree
thrown towards earth
with such force
neighboring villages
hushed babies.
Heard pleading
through rib caged walls—
did not intervene
for the sake of mangled
tendons hanging by a thread.
The day we escaped,
the basilica roof brooded
hoped new sanctuary
heated well,
contained the laughter.
Basted her brown butter tilework
with saguaro flower essence
the kind used to remind
the fatherless they are whole.
Smudged the empty space.
Coaxed open reluctant blinds
exhausted from hiding
the tapestry woven of
bone marrow and lost thyme.
Took an oath to remain rooted—
that was before the pillaging.
Before the crow-pecked trenches,
how the home bled to death.
The day we departed
ghost pipes gathered in clusters
sang of the peaceful decay
that stained the cream walls,
Bowed their heads in agreement—
that leaving was all I could do to survive.


Rumpus original logo art by Luna Adler.


ENOUGH is a Rumpus original series devoted to creating a dedicated space for work by women and non-binary people that engages with rape culture, sexual assault, and domestic violence. We believe that while this subject matter is especially timely now, it is also timeless. We want to make sure that this conversation doesn’t stop—not until our laws and societal norms reflect real change. You can submit to ENOUGH here.

Many names appearing in these stories have been changed.

Visit the archives here.