By: Sara Forcella, See the Triumph Contributor
For all those times I have not quite been able to find the words to say, and all of the times that I didn’t speak up when I should have. For all of the words that were never uttered from my lips--I choose to say them now.
I believe you. I believe your experience to be true. I believe all of the hurt, fear, shame and pain you have experienced. I believe you even if you have no physical bruises, photos, or evidence. Even if the police disregard your story, or probe you with more and more questions; I believe you. Even if your assailant was not held accountable by your school or never sees a day in jail, I know you are telling the truth. Even if your friends, peers or teachers don’t believe. Even if you are questioning each and every detail, every possible ‘missed-step’, every word, answer, fuzzy, discombobulated memory--I believe you.
It was not your fault. Abuse is NEVER okay. Regardless of whether it’s physical, emotional or sexual, abuse is abuse. Nothing ever justifies that person’s actions; not what you were wearing, who you were texting, what you said, who you were with, what you drank, what you chose to do or not do. The only person who is ever responsible for abuse is an abuser. I know right now it may feel like it’s your fault; that person may have told you that their abuse was your fault. Heck, society has likely told you this too. It’s not. Let me repeat that--that person's actions were not your fault, and they will never be.
You will be okay again. Maybe not right now, not tomorrow, or next week. In this moment, you may feel like a mirror, shattered on the floor in a million pieces--a mess that seems too much to ever put back together. You are likely overwhelmed, scared, confused, hurt, mad, and upset. Allow yourself to be, you have the right to experience all of these emotions. The multitude of emotions will likely ebb and flow for awhile. In time these emotions may seem less intense. One day, you may find power where you once felt weakness. You may find a voice where it seemed to have been stolen from you. This experience will likely shape your life. It’s not something you just forget but, it does not mean that you are broken forever, just that you are a survivor.
You are beautiful. You are breathtakingly beautiful. I am not just talking about your physical appearance, but your being. Your being is what makes you beautiful. The way that you approach life is beautiful and triumphant. Simply the fact that you wake up every day and exist is beautiful. With or without scars, blood shot eyes and a runny nose, you exude beauty. Currently, you can’t see this beauty, only the hurt sunken face looking back at you. Nevertheless, I see it. I see your beauty shining through the pupils of your eyes like a ray of sunshine, a small glint of hope. One day, I hope you see this beauty too.
You deserve love. You deserve to be loved by family, friends, romantic partners when you are ready, and most critically yourself. You are not damaged goods because someone chose to infringe upon your power and control. You are not unlovable. In fact, I believe that you deserve the most pure and authentic kind of love--self-love. You deserve to bathe yourself in loving words, compliments and good feelings because you are so worth it. You deserve loving, healthy relationships with every person who is in your life. Please don’t accept anything less.
You are strong; stronger than damn near everyone that I know. Stronger than I am, I’m merely here to support you. You are the one doing all the work--the one being vulnerable, bearing all of your hurt. I admire your strength. I admire your ability to get up every day, sometimes in spite of yourself. I see this incredible strength, it’s there behind your sunken eyes. Someday when you look back on this I hope that you see just how strong you are. I’m sorry that you have to use up so much of your strength right now. It’s not fair; there you are, nonetheless, a mountain holding strong in the face of an unforgiving wind.
You inspire me: inspire me to get up, to get dressed, to go to work, to fight, to exist, to love.