Dear pervert who sexually assaulted me:
I wonder how many women can start a letter like that to you.
On August 21, you were behind me while I was filming a friend’s dance performance. You were standing close to me. It made me uncomfortable, but I chalked it up to the place being packed with people in a small venue.
You kept pressing into me and I kept excusing it away, against my better judgement.
Until I felt your erection against my back and your hand under my skirt, grabbing me.
I wanted to scream, kick, fight to get away from you.
But I froze.
Because it’s scary. Because it’s triggering.
It made me feel dirty and vulnerable. Broken. It made me hate myself.
When I started to speak up about what you did to me, I was victim blamed.
“Why didn’t you notify security?”– There was no security.
“Why didn’t you fight back?” – Fight. Flight. Freeze. I froze.
“Why didn’t you report it to the police?” –
- I’m conflicted about it. I was raped by a police officer in the early 1990s. Cops trigger me. That’s not to say I won’t report it.
- I never saw your face.
“You should take it as a compliment” – Sexual assault is defined as unwanted sexual contact. I did not want it. It is not flattering to be the victim of a crime or to be violated.
“What were you wearing?” – Red and black blouse. Black skirt. And what women wear doesn’t invite sexual assault.
People seem to want to defend you or excuse away what you did, while I deal with this all alone and being blamed for your actions. It makes me feel unworthy of compassion and support. It makes me question whether this was my fault, even though rationally I know it wasn’t. It makes me feel all alone. It makes me wish I could disappear.
Every minute of every day, I wonder whether the pain will ever go away, whether the tears will run dry, whether I’ll survive.
I wake up in cold sweat from nightmares. When I get flashbacks, it’s like I’m right there all over again, reliving it in immense detail. The music that I hope I never hear again. The neon lights reflecting off the ceiling and wall; neon now triggers me. The smell of sweat and alcohol. Not only did you violate my body, you violate my mind in the form of flashbacks and dissociation.
What would you say if I told you that sometimes I want to die so the pain would stop? So I can forget what you did to me. That I’ve been seeing a therapist because what you did destroyed my sense of safety and emotional well-being? My worth is tattered and bruised. You stole that from me.
I feel rage. Knowing you did this, knowing you probably have done this before, knowing you’re still out there. Knowing you remain a faceless threat. I don’t know what you look like and you could be anywhere. Were you in the same store as me? Did you drive past me? No place is safe. You get to live every day oblivious to the agony you inflicted upon me, while I carry the shame and guilt. I feel like a walking ghost. Haunted and a shell of what I was. Reliving the trauma and not being able to forget it happened.
I’m afraid to go to sleep because you invade my nightmares. I’m afraid to leave the house because you are still out there.
It is not lost on me that you did this while I’m filming my documentary about domestic violence and sexual assault. I lost my voice the night of August 21when you assaulted me, but I’m trying to claw my way back by speaking up in the documentary about what you did. No woman should ever be made to feel the way you made me feel.
No woman should go through this alone.