Our fourth profile needs no introduction Dr. Maya Angelou was a critically acclaimed poet and author, a survivor, a civil rights activist and an inspiration to men and women alike. My introduction to Maya Angelou was at age 13 when I read the first part of her autobiography “I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings.” The book changed my life, and I was suddenly hyper-aware of the privilege I had through my comfortable home and loving parents. It made me grateful and determined because her story started with so much pain and yet she overcame this pain and arose as one of the world’s greatest female inspirations.
Born in 1928 to parents who eventually separated Maya was sadly raped at the age of 8 by her mother’s new partner. She told her brother who raised the alarm with the rest of the family and when the man in question was only imprisoned for one day her relatives meted out their own brand of justice, and he was found murdered. Convinced that it was her fault that her abuser was dead Maya stopped speaking as she was afraid that her voice caused harm. As we know from her numerous appearances, she eventually found her voice and went on to use that voice as a force for good.
At Women of Kaieteur, we know that sexual abuse and interference are all too common and we always advocate for women and girls to use their voices to highlight injustice and help break the silence that often haunts victims. One of our favourite quotes from Dr. Angelou is
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”