Trigger Warning: This piece contains discussion of sexual assault
A letter to a girl that was assaulted;
How I long to tell you that everything will be okay. But, the truth is, it isn’t okay. Yes, you will be okay one day, but what happened to you was far from okay. You will have good days and bad days, and sometimes, you will have no good, very bad days, but that’s okay too. You are healing. And that takes time.
It’s okay that when you hear that song, the one that he used to play for you when he would drive you around in his car, you feel like crying. It’s okay that you actually do cry. Because, when you hear it, you’re transported back to the days when everything felt okay. You can feel the heat on your back from all of those hot summer nights when you would play soccer with your friends. You’re transported back to a time when all you did was dream, and you believed not only in him but also in yourself. But now, when the lyrics of that old song begin to play, “Let me go. I don’t want to be your hero,” those happy memories vanish. Your best friend never really was your hero, was he?
I know that there are nights where you can still feel his hands, wandering to places where they should not be, touching things that do not belong to him. You wonder if what he did to you even deserves a poetic description because what he did was far from poetry, but however you choose to talk about it is okay. And, you know what? It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it either. You don’t owe your story to anyone, and they damn well better accept that.
It’s okay to speak out, too. He did something wrong. He violated you. He violated your trust. He stole your sense of autonomy, and he didn’t even think twice. So, when I say that it’s okay to speak out, I mean that. You deserve the right to be heard. No matter how hard he tried to tell you that you were not worthy of basic of rights, of being a person, I am telling you that you are a person, and it is okay for a person to speak.
But, speaking is difficult. Even with all of the support in the world, hearing his version of the story will crush you. When you realize that the boy you spent your childhood looking up to, the one who picked you up when you stumbled and supported you through every up and every down, doesn’t even recognize your worth, it feels as though you’re listening to the words of a stranger. And, when you feel like you can’t take it anymore, it’s okay to ask for help. Reaching out to your loved ones is always okay.
I know that looking back on all of the memories from before the assault will feel like remembering the childhood of someone else, and each memory you have with him will be forever tainted, but that is okay. Looking back, you may begin to remember the other times that he made you uncomfortable. You’ll remember the time in eighth grade that he stuck his finger up your shorts, and all you could do was stand there. After homecoming your senior year, everyone watched as he put his hands on you, and it didn’t stop until you pushed him away. And you’ll realize, things never really were okay.
Though things are not okay now, I promise you that they will be, eventually. In the meantime, give yourself a break. Let the emotions ebb and flow. Cry, mourn the loss of your old self. Scream, don’t let the anger build up. Sleep, let the rest fill you back up again. Drink, because it’s okay if you want to just forget for a night, but please treat yourself well— you’ll have to remember again in the morning. Smile, let the sun radiate off your skin and remember that there is so much in this world to love. Laugh, because you’re so incredibly blessed. Dream, because you have so much left to do.
You are so strong, and I am so very proud of you.
All my love
Author’s Note: This piece uses female pronouns to describe the survivor and male pronouns to describe the perpetrator. While this is not an uncommon case, survivors and assailants can be individuals of any gender identity or sexual orientation.