Several thousand people gathered at the Iowa State Capitol on Jan. 20, 2018, for the second year of the Women’s March and the first anniversary of the inauguration of Donald Trump. (Phil Roeder / Wikimedia Commons)

Silence.

That’s what we hear when we tell our stories. It’s deafening.

Sexual assault, rape, molestation—why is there silence amongst these words? They aren’t dirty or inappropriate. So why is there a hush among the survivors?

Oh, do they make you uncomfortable? Imagine how we felt. 

Below, young women share what they would like to say to their assaulter. Meet the survivors and their stories.


Coming forward to share stories about sexual assault is frightening. Oftentimes you’re labeled as “psycho”—and many times survivors begin to think that. We are manipulated into thinking that we are the “bad guy,” when in reality it’s the “bad guy” who makes us into these “psychos.” 

Dear Mr. “Broken,”

Well I have to hand it to you, you did a great performance. Playing the victim was always easy for you, wasn’t it? You almost had me fooled. Almost. It wasn’t until you were on my couch continuing after the “no’s” and “stops” that I finally realized what you were. But I’m the crazy one right? Since we were both asleep, there’s no way I woke up to your hands feeling around—because you were asleep right?

No, I’m not the “psycho” or the “crazy bitch.” I’m a survivor. I survived you and your friends. I did that, I helped myself. I found peace within the chaos.

Today, I stand tall and help others who can’t find their voice. So you know what? Thank you. Thank you for being a lowlife coward, because while you’re rotting in your own mind, I’m changing lives and making a name for myself.

Sincerely,

The “Psycho”


In the U.S., 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate boyfriend, husband or partner. It doesn’t matter if you’re dating or if you’ve been married for 20 years; consent is still needed.

To the boy I called Home,

I trusted you, I loved you with every bit of me. I gave you everything I had, but the one thing I didn’t allow, you stole for yourself. You took something so valuable to me, my “golden ideal.” You walk around with a piece of me, and I’m stuck with one of you.

I tried to question why or how someone is capable of this, but my only conclusion is that you’re just sick. I thought saying no once was enough. Unfortunately 30 times wasn’t either. But it’s okay, because you were drunk and just being “open with your thoughts.” That makes it okay, right? Alcohol doesn’t turn you into this, you were already a self-serving narcissistic abuser, it’s just that on that night, it wasn’t hidden. I pray nobody endures the pain you caused again. I pray you get help. 

Sincerely,

Your “Queen”


We’re told to look up to authority figures like our pastors and teachers. Are we still to look up to these figures when they abuse their power, to lure in the innocent and weak, to prey on the impressionable and to seek for power? 

Dear Mr. ”Man,” 

That Wednesday night was the worst. I’ve undergone what happened with us more than I could count with many other boys. Not men, boys. A man would’ve understood the word no. A man wouldn’t have locked me inside a room in the back of our church. A man would’ve simply, not. 

However, many boys seem to do what you do. But did you pay? You were sent to a military school. What about me? It’s been nearly five years and I still have nightmares. I still can’t go to church. I can’t go out. You taught me how to be safe, but you also taught me how to hide.

Do I owe you? Do you owe me? Do you own me? No. I owe you nothing. I never want anything from you. You did not break me. Instead, you changed me. I owe you nothing. 

Sincerely, 

Ms. Woman


It’s time we stop applying the word victim to survivors.

What are we to do when our voices are seemingly stripped in a patriarchal society? Today, we take back our voice.

Dear Mr. FUCK YOU,

Thank you for all the damage that you had done to my well-being. It hurts me to know you don’t understand what you did. The day you hurt my body is the day I knew nothing would ever be the same. I can not trust the same, I can not look at men the same, I am not the same anymore.

The day you penetrated my body without my consent was also the same day I knew my life was going to change. I had already grieved over the pieces of myself that had left, but now two years later I am ready to get my revenge. I wish you could hurt the way I hurt, but for now I am here to make a change in this fucked up society of ‘boys will be boys.’ 

Sincerely,

I was still a child 


We are asked how we cope with such a traumatic event. “Time will heal” is what we are all told, but does it? Days, weeks, months and years go by yet we will never be the same. However, we will not let their power control us. We will never be the same, but we will use our strength to help others.

Dear Mr. Regret,

You completely messed up my life. Sounds cliché, I know, but you truly did. That night that you raped me, I was not supposed to be there. I was supposed to be at another friend’s house and I regret everyday being there that night.

That night you drugged my drink without me knowing and proceeded to take advantage of me. Although, I was going in and out of consciousness, I fought, I fought you with everything in me and yet you still did what you did. Shortly after that incident, I turned to drugs and alcohol to help cope with the immense amount of pain that I felt. Still to this day I feel the urge to turn back to drugs to help with the feelings of that night, it is a daily struggle. 

Sincerely,

The girl who was only a child


Our voices have called onto others to share their story, make their voice known, make their truth known. Today, we end the silence of rape culture and make the stories of survivors known. 

We are five survivors. We are the power of strength. We are the survivors with voices.


Sign and share Ms.’s relaunched “We Have Had Abortions” petition—whether you yourself have had an abortion, or simply stand in solidarity with those who have—to let the Supreme Court, Congress and the White House know: We will not give up the right to safe, legal, accessible abortion.

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