Foreword by AskAsheville: Barbie Angell has been a part of our lives for many years. Not only is she a wonderful person, but she is a huge part of our community as a whole. On the outside, she is an Asheville staple to say the least. Behind the scenes she works tirelessly to support the local scene, help others who need a friend to talk to, and be a mom – all at the same time. I know she does not realize all that she does, nor how important she is to all of us; because she is just being herself, which is a beautiful soul. She is family and Asheville would never be the same without her.
Nobody likes to talk about rape, but silence is violence all in itself. Recently, while our community was protesting a couple of misogynist coffee shop owners, Barbie was on the front line with us helping a lady who was drugged and raped by another business owner on the west side of town. It happens everywhere, it’s happening right now as you read this, and there is so much more we can do to help. You can start right now by supporting Our Voice and Walk A Mile. Please read what Barbie has to say below…
Recently, I recorded a series of videos of my poetry. My photographer, Rodney Smith of Tempus Fugit Design did an amazing job on all of them. We chose to launch this project with two videos about sexual assault and victim blaming. (They are “The Car Accident” & “How To Stop Rape“.) I am sad to say that I would be unable to count how many times I have physically been a victim of sexual predators. From being molested as a child, to weekly assaults while I was in a home for children, to the two “normal” rapes and my relationship with a violent alcoholic… there’s just too many attacks to even count.
For reasons still unknown to me, I have found myself in a position of some notoriety in our little town of Asheville, NC. I suppose it’s less to do with my being voted the Mountain Xpress’ 2015 Best of WNC poet, and more to do with my odd outfits, emcee work, and making people laugh on social media. That tiny bit of “celebrity” has put me in an unique situation. If people know who I am, and I am not ashamed to say that I have been raped multiple times, then maybe, just maybe, it will help someone else. Maybe they will see that no matter what they were wearing, or if they’d been drinking, or even if they were dating or married to the person who attacked them… they are still not to blame. They did nothing wrong.
On Saturday, May 7th, a lot of my male friends will throw on a pair of high heeled shoes and walk (or even run) a mile through downtown Asheville. They’ll be hot, tired, sore, blistered, & everyone of them will be my hero. Each team raises money for Our Voice &, of course, my favorite guys are Greg Garrison’s “Team Hop Ice Cream.” Greg has actually walked for me twice… the small act of wearing a sticker with my name on it had an immeasurable impact on me.
Walk A Mile raises money & awareness to help stop rape, gender violence & sexual assault. If I’m lucky, my poem can do a little of that as well.