An open letter

 

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silence. can be the loudest scream you have ever heard x speak up, share freely, unburden your heart.

Do not carry with you what is not yours – let it go.

 

A female friend of mine, that i know through cycling … shared a link on Facebook at the start of December … She always shares intelligent, witty and thought provoking stories,balanced with hilarious memes and dog photos … I respect her immensely so i knew when i clicked through to the article, that it would be good.

I sat quietly tears streaming down my face as i read it at the kitchen table,  And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since….

I’ve had strangers email me to tell me over the past year to tell me I’m brave, for putting myself out there on social media… brave for talking about my struggles, for quitting my job … brave for riding a fucking bike!
I’m not brave.

But I’ve been ashamed. And I have been for a long time.

I was made to feel like what happened to me was my fault.

that it could have been worse… And because it wasn’t…

IT DIDNT MATTER That I DID NOT MATTER

That because something that happened to a prominent businessman, when he was young… it was my fault.

It was my fault, that I was born a girl.

I was at my boyfriends work Christmas party, Amongst well known business men – adults, respected community members… fathers.

I was 15 years old, i had my homework and a change of clothes in my bag.

I was poured drinks by the adults, a little more than i could handle But i was safe, amongst people i knew and trusted.

The music was turned up and everyone was joking around, I got up to go to the bathroom upstairs, As i was making my way back through the dimly lit office towards the light where the familiar and happy voices were floating up the stairs, he came towards me, grinning and i was pulled into an even darker conference room, i was told that i would be ok as he sat me on his lap, he put his hands down my pants and started kissing my neck. I was paralysed. I tried to call for help, but nothing came out.

A male co worker, noticing that i had been gone a while, heard a noise pushed the door open and flipped the light on, he saw what was happening.

But didn’t say anything.

They both rejoined the party down stairs, as if nothing had happened.

Then there was the boyfriend that found me curled up crying on the floor of the bathroom the next day, when i told him what happened he was angry…

but didn’t say anything.

The business partner that also knew, but didn’t say anything.

 

All of the men that knew, that in their silence and inability to act … did not only let me down… But they let their grandmothers, mothers, sisters and daughters ….down.

With their silence – they let every female in their life, down.
Instead of standing up for what was right,

they said that I should feel sorry for him,

for what had happened to him when he was young.

That he would loose everything. That he had a wife, a family, a business.
That what happened to me, did not matter… because it “could have been worse.”

So i don’t say anything. To anyone. I trusted them, Maybe they were right… I start to feel like it WAS my fault. I was humiliated, confused and alone. 

An Open Letter:

I see you around town occasionally, my heart starts to race and I feel sick, sick with anger … Sick with fear … Sick.
I feel disgusting.

I stare at you, but you do not see me. I do not exist to you.

But I will never forget your face.

 

15 years later, i join a gym.

I meet a girl, She is pretty awesome.

We have the same interests, love the same food, laugh at the same jokes – we could be great friends, we should hang out … so she finds me on Facebook.
I see her message pop up and I am frozen.

She has your lastname.

I instantly feel sick. I do not open the message. I click on her profile instead, and scroll through her photos.

I start to feel hot, my cheeks flush. That familiar feeling starts to creep up, i am a woman now, i have travelled, and lived and experienced much in my young life – heartaches, happiness, loss… But your face, instantly makes me feel like i am 15 years old again. Scared, Unsure, Unsettled, Anxious, Ashamed and Alone.

I feel a heaviness in my chest, There you are. Looking back at me. Smiling.

She is your daughter.
For a moment I Consider befriending her,

I imagine being invited to your house for dinner,
Sitting opposite you at the table.
I don’t know if you remember me at all, or what you did.

I imagine that you don’t, that you are making small talk while you smile and we all laugh pretending to be interested in what you have to say.

I wonder how your wife and daughter would feel when I tell them I know you…

That I have known you for a long time.

I wonder how you would feel if you knew that someone had touched your daughter the way that you touched me.

I consider all of this,

And I stop.

I close the computer,

Because I am a GIRL.

And I am STRONG.

what you did was not okay.

but  you DID NOT break me.

 

I am not brave. I am not ashamed.

I AM A GIRL.

I AM A WOMAN.

AND I AM

FUCKING AMAZING.

 

 

The Link to the Original Post i mention at the start:

BEING A GIRL – A BRIEF PERSONAL HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

Wether you are female or male – sexual assault, and violence is real, it happens, it is serious and you do not have to deal with it alone.

Lifeline 13 11 14 – 24/7 Phone Counselling, Support & Advice

Online help / Web Chat is available from 8am – 4 pm EST at LifeLine

If you are in immediate danger please call 000 

 

 

 

 

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