Written by an anonymous contributor, with grace and bravery.
*TRIGGER WARNING: CONTENT PERTAINING SEXUAL ABUSE*
I own a body. I own a body with all its bones, skins and scars. It heals when I fall. It nurtures me even when I reject to take care of it myself. I hold a mind, or it holds me. It holds me and everyday it absorbs my life. I am nothing without my body and mind. I am everything with the legs that stand me and the thoughts that make me.
So when my body is forced to weakness under someone else and I am vulnerable to the core, everything that I thought I knew is violated as much as my being. He who did this to me, a friend, a “nice guy”, a he-would-never-do-that-to-anyone guy, is the one who brings me the emotional scars of remembering what it is like to be so helpless.
I, who struggled and is yet to come to terms with being violated of such kind, one that I have seen in statistics and in the movies, but never on my skin, is here to declare that there is truce in the battlefield of anxiety.
I, am not an anomaly. There are thousands who have suffered and had their souls detached from their body. When it seems as if no amount of strength is enough to uphold the feelings that consume you, and the tenderness of your kind heart seems to be permanently damaged, it is then that you are the strongest, the kindest and the bravest.
The invisibility of my pain and voice, is one that deepens my sadness. Like oceans on high tides, waves and waves of emotion and yet nothing seems to stop my drowning. I find it hard to breathe sometimes, as if no amount of oxygen will calm my body from being physically sickened by the thoughts of him. But I will, I will continue to breathe because even though it has been through hell and back my body has not rejected me and continues to hold me, despair and all.
It is easy to feel as if I have failed and that my worth is equivalent to incidents that are beyond my control. I have stopped eating three meals a day and am often confused as to what I deserve in this life of mine. I often sleep all day or not at all, a walking disaster. But sometimes it is in these bottomless pits of desperation that I learn how much I am capable to feel. I feel utterly and irrevocably sad because I am, and I have nothing to lose otherwise.
The people who I have held on to so dearly have failed and sidelined me as an exaggeration. There are few things worse than feeling completely invalidated in your vulnerability. And yet, I and the millions of peoples who go through sexual harassment still wake up in the morning and our bodies and minds carry us throughout the day. I have yet to feel strong, but I know that there is strength somewhere, despite no one including ourselves acknowledging it yet.
The conflict of my mind tends to spiral down to hopelessness sometimes. My anxiety and low self-esteem are the foundations of my insecurity and it will take a lifetime to unlearn the assumptions we place on ourselves as women. “But you were drunk too right?”, “Give him another chance, you owe him that”, “What were you wearing?”. Society has created gendered stereotypes that often blend the line of consent for many, a sad and alarming fact. Many victims themselves take years or never realize what they have gone through, I stand in pure solidarity to the women and men who are manipulated and coerced to believe that they are to blame.
When I was in high school, a girl from the grade below went to a club with her friends and she was raped by three men in a hotel room after they forced her to snort cocaine. This was my first direct contact with sexual abuse. The boys in my grade laughed it off because they thought she was making a big deal out of it, that she was known to be drunk and promiscuous and therefore she probably wanted or even deserved what happened to her. I did not know how to defend her, and to my biggest regret I sat at the cafeteria table in silence, my heart breaking slowly. I often wish I could go back and scold them and I often wonder how she is. I hope she knows that there is a lot of wrong in this planet but that she is not one of them.
If you are struggling tonight and you see no end to the hurt, there is kindness in feeling the way you do. But remember that you have a body that is tender and stronger than most, and a heart that is mindful and everyday appreciates the complexity that is your mind. I have felt suffering of the kind that gets stuck in your throat and you want to cry but you are left with nothingness. The kind that makes you helpless and all you can do is guttural pleas. This suffering may be all you have right now, but it does not have to destroy you, or me. This body is mine and it has been so gentle to my soul, it is mine and no one else’s.
I, who have been silenced by my outcry, am not alone. I am not alone. We, are not alone.