Julie and “Fighter” Featured in Photojournalism Project for Break the Silence Day

Thank you to Break the Silence for including the photo and original poem, “Fighter” in the Survivors of Minnesota photojournalism project.

*Trigger Warning*

My name is Julie Grossman, and I am a survivor of assault.

I’ve been a fighter since I was thirteen
Bows to my opponents, always fought clean
But that night
He stole my chance to fight
The alcohol and drug
Pulsed through my blood
The underdog and the heavyweight
Not a chance was stood

So just imagine how I felt
When I found he had stripped
My championship

I fought to conceal
Scars I thought I earned
I fought not to reveal
Outpourings of tears that, like fire, burned

Then I pulled on my gloves tighter Landed solid punches on the bag
Jab left, hook right
I’m no used, shook up rag
I let out all my fight there in the gym
And for one night, I don’t think of him
I fight for myself,
Made not of glass
I kick the thoughts from my head
Choosing instead
To kick

I am a fighter
And I’ve always been
I carry on, not carrion
At the hands of some man
The trick is to keep getting up
Until the bell sounds
He may have gotten one
But there’s still nine more rounds.

I am alive
And I thrive
I am a fighter
And I will survive.