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Poetry Violence Women of Colour

Womanslaughter

WomanslaughterPat ParkerDiana Press1978

From Wikipedia: Parker’s elder sister, Shirley Jones, was shot and killed by her husband. Parker wrote the autobiographical poem, Womanslaughter, based on this event.

In the poem, Parker notes that

Her things were his
including her life.

The perpetrator was convicted of “womanslaughter”, not murder, because

Men cannot kill their wives.
They passion them to death.

He served a one-year sentence in a work-release program. Parker brought this crime to the International Tribunal on Crimes against Women in 1976 in Brussels, vowing

I will come to my sisters
not dutiful,
I will come strong.