This is a letter written somewhere between an eulogy and a work in progress.
So dear you,
I’m talking to you. Please close all the tabs on your laptop. Mute the notifications on your phone. Get a glass of water, and sit back. Read in silence. Relax.
Take note that silence is in bold. Did you notice it? If you did not, go back and read that again.
Silence. That’s how that day felt.
They ripped my little voice, and turned it mute.
My rapist hands did not tremble for a moment, his voice did not flicker when he told me to shut up, his arms didn’t hesitate to pin me down, and rape me using threats and violence. Then, they mutilated my body and put acid on my body . My body and voice were dead within minutes. I was silenced forever. Did you get your headphones? You should, so that you could hear my heartbeats. It’s too late, I’m dead now. I cannot speak, but you can.
I was also sexually assaulted, but it was a friend; a- well-educated friend who I used to grab beers with. I was touched without my consent, but no acid this time. You might have heard this same story a lot of times, from your sisters, girlfriends, female friends, or some strangers on the internet, so I understand if you cannot hear the heartbeats.
I’m me, you, us, her, they. I am also the girl next door. The next next door, probably not that far from your dorm room. I am the girl you do not talk to at school, the girl you gossip about because she has her life sorted, the sweet-shy- away from the crowd girl, the girl that says no to parties, or the girl with the perfect flawless makeup. I am the girl your judicial system revictimized, I am the girl who made headlines and I am the girl who was swallowed by your own society. I am the girl, with labels, with endless questions by your close ones : why didn’t she fight back?” “Why did she not report?” “Why did she say silent?” “ what was she wearing?” “why was she drinking?” “Why did she stay?” “it was bound to happen?”
I am a lot of things, but I wanted one thing; for the pain to end. I am not here to paint a portrait of my misery, or to cry on the internet about rape culture. Maybe I have been granted an afterlife; with a set of instructions, and labels. They decided that now, I would have PTSD, I would have depression, I would have trauma, I would be labelled the girl who typed a letter. It doesn’t matter if today, I got my medical school degree.
But let’s be honest here, sometimes, they were right, I would indeed have panic attacks during my first kiss; what if he harms me? during my first date ; what if he hurts me? and my trauma would weave through my relationships like fine sand. Maybe, girls, do not talk about that core pain, buried deep down like icy cold slippery caps. Girls are supposed to be strong to be respected, we are told not to expose our pain all over the internet, because it makes us look weak, attentive seekers, vulnerable, and make people uncomfortable. Maybe If I wanted to fit into that “template” of how women and girls should be, I would not have pressed the publish button.
So, because I was touched, and you were assaulted, and she was sexually harassed, society shunned us, and then they tried to predict our future. The trauma will be too much to carry; they say. We became stories, memes, Whatsapp Forwards, Instagram stories, invites to a pity party; we became articles, “should you date a rape survivor or not; why girls are all crazy?” based on assumptions, we are called witch-hunts, our credibility is tested, our cases dismissed, our voices silenced, our dreams, hopes, and life on hold.
Amidst the chaos we exist. We fight this with bare hands. We crumble, fall, cry, then wipe out the tears, and we start over again. Next time, Buzzfeed, please label us as dragon-fighters, because we are.
There are nights when you will feel alone; you will come home to an empty flat or dorm room, hungry, and you will feel overwhelmed. You might even sit down and cry before reaching there; in the corridor. There will be doubts, loads of what-ifs, and you will feel defeated. Society will tie a big rock on your feet, throw you in the ocean, and if you do not find a way, you will drown. If this happens, please know that it’s normal, and in times like this, I will be there. We all will be there. It’s gonna be okay, we will blow soap bubbles, and take down rape culture, gender inequality, and will throw away the piece of paper where society engraved our doomed future, into the ocean.
I will be there when they will kill your voice, because they will. I will be there to remind you that whatever you've been through, you can always bounce back with grace, and strength. You will heal. I do not promise that there won’t be nights, where you will be in a happy mood, and then everything will hit you, and you will cry to sleep; you will feel everything only to wake up with body pain, but you will make it through.
See that light at the end of the tunnel? Even if there isn’t any, pretend there is one, and walk there. Keep walking.
I wish I could tell myself that, but here I am telling you. Roar. Shout. Speak.
And yes, at 9 years old, I just wanted to watch Dora. And maybe shout a little.
“I” is an amalgamation of girls who had to jog back their memory while reading this and be silent.
Posted to a world who did not care to listen.