This is a letter to any of you who may by chance be reading this. I want to tell you how I feel; aside from the fact that you are a tosser.
Some of you may feel you had your reasons. But abuse is inexcusable and although factors may have made it harder for you to go a different way, you still made your choice. You still caused me, and others, a lot of physical and emotional harm. You knew what you were doing was hideous and wrong – why else would you make such elaborate threats in case I spoke? Why else would you go to such efforts to keep me silent? Even raping me, so somehow there was a bond, and so the trauma mixed with this sick bond managed to keep me silent for a long time.
That time is up.
I can remember being tied to the bed. I can remember the pain. I can remember the ache in my arms from being tied at a stupid angle. I can remember the joints in my toes screaming for me to relax…but the pain from the torture was being processed there, somehow. I can remember wanting to cry but feeling unable to do so – the tears locking themselves away in some other part of my head. Occasionally a stray tear would creep out, but mostly due to physical pain rather than being emotional distraught at the situation. I wonder…did you think you were winning, when I couldn’t cry? Did you think you were succeeding into making me a heartless monster, one of your own? Your sick game of ‘breed-abuser’? How does it feel to know you’ve lost? How does it feel to know that, actually, me not having feeling the emotions at the time was purely my own head protecting me…so that my heart could in actual fact remain intact? How does it feel to know the children you wanted to grow up and torture me turned out to be your enemy? How much it must anger you to see me walking and smiling… to know that you lost. I know you want me dead. I equally know you can never succeed.
That bed. That fucking bed. I can remember you walking around it, staring at my tiny exposed body, which was bruised and broken. I can remember I hardly had the strength to lift my head up, and yet I determinedly met your gaze. Glared at you. I remember some of you tried to glare back, to glare me into submission. I remember most of you never managed. Most of you looked away from my swollen, frightened, but angry eyes that belonged to a child. Despite being tied up, and beaten to within an inch of consciousness, and having gone through hours of horrific torture…I still managed to win, even then. How does that feel? Even years later, as an adult…I gave you that glare. As ever, most times…you looked away. Even when I felt like I was losing, I was in fact still winning.
You tried so hard to keep me silent. For a long time, you succeeded. Once I escaped, you tried so hard to keep me traumatised and abused, so that my silence remained intact and you could continue making your money off of me and getting your power kick. The greatest feeling in the world is knowing that this week, for the last however many years, I would have signed a contract “allowing” you to use me in a film and abuse me over Christmas…and this year, that hasn’t happened. You won’t sell me again. You won’t rape me again. You will never abuse me again. I am no longer yours. I am my own. I will never be yours again.
You never took the time to think about what safety nets I might have put in place at school, and that the majority of the human population are compassionate, and so others already lay down crucial foundations long before I escaped. The teachers who knew nothing and simply smiled at me in a morning, and so removed the trauma from the night…the students who laughed with me in lessons…the strangers on the street I saw who stopped their young child from stumbling…the teenager on the bus listening to music and looking content…the whole world unknowingly saved me. Each moment I was not being raped, I watched the world around me so that I could keep hold of where I wanted to be. I saw the caring mother; I knew love existed. I saw the smiling teacher; I knew kindness existed. I saw the laughing students; I knew fun existed. I saw the content teenager; I knew comfort existed.
7 A Levels may well have looked like a good way of destroying my mental health, and it nearly worked. But in fact, it meant I had to spend hours of a day *away* from the abuse… in lessons. At least 7 hours a day were spent being surrounded by normality, so that I could lay down foundations and know what I was later going to fight for. My own life. A few teachers who knew more provided me comfort, sympathy, and the occasional kick up the backside so that I learnt to stand on my own two feet. At university, you all assumed I’d be lost and friendless. I assumed this too. How wrong we all were! How does it feel knowing that your most extreme acts of terror and pain were not strong enough to simply overcome friendship and trust?
I remember lying on that bed in pain, not knowing if I’d wake the next day, and just glaring at you all in turn. That was my fight. It was silent, and all I could manage at the time…but even then, I was winning. You didn’t even know it. I laughed every day and you had no idea what that would do for my head. It saved me. I laughed at you. Often. You frankly were very stupid at times. And also, your masks were ridiculous.
I know some of you know I’m speaking out. If you think you can scare me into stopping, you can think again. It’s too late. Possibly the biggest act of speaking out has actually already been done. I hope you see my face on a poster and you are haunted by my screams for the rest of your lives. I hope my eyes stare right into your souls, as they did when I lay on the bed and glared at you. You didn’t break me then. You will not break me now.
I hope you feel as ashamed as you forced me to feel for so long, and as guilty as you made me feel. I no longer feel ashamed or guilty. I did nothing wrong. You are the monsters. I hope you rot in hell.
I will not punish you by making you scream, and I will not hurt you whilst you lie defenceless on a bed. I will not be so cowardly. I will punish you by speaking out. I will punish you by making sure the world knows I survived SHIT, and that you didn’t win…because I can speak, smile, laugh, love, and feel. I am stronger than you. I don’t need to be a coward in order to win a war. I will punish you by living, because to give up now would be to let you take my soul. Instead, you will have to live with your own fucked up souls that have the memories of my screams locked inside them. Have fun.
I won. I’ve already spoken. The world already knows.
And soon, I’ll speak more. And louder. And I won’t stop speaking until I believe every child on this planet to be safe.
So…I will not be silent. Now, it is your turn.So long, fuckers.