Dear Sexual Assaulters: We’re Taking Our Bodies Back From You

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You changed me.

You were the turning point. The edge. The before and after.

You still have power over me. The way I speak about myself, the lens through which I view myself, you crafted it with no thought of the consequences. I see you every time I look in the mirror, if only for a moment. My body has gone from being me, to just a part of me. If I can disconnect from it, I can disconnect from you.

Your presence whistles through the breeze at night when no one else is around. You’re the reason I glance over my shoulder into the dark. I’m always listening for you. I never feel fully alone. I peek around corners. I lace my keys through my fingers in parking lots. I know you’re out there. And I know you’re waiting for me.

The women in my life know you, or at least know of you. A lot of us have seen you face to face. When we describe you to one another, our descriptions are always different, but your actions are always the same. You take what isn’t yours, and you trick us into thinking it’s our fault.

None of us have been able to catch you. At least not yet.

The optimists tell me they’ll get you. They say your career will be over. You’ll never find love. You’ll be cast out of society.

And then I see you playing on my favorite sports teams. I see you singing in my favorite bands. You’re starring in my favorite movies. You’re sitting in the White House. And I’m left wondering, how I can beat you when you’re everywhere around me?

And all I can think to do is take my body back.

You cannot have me. You cannot have my sisters. You cannot have the countless women that have looked you in the eyes and lived to see another day. You cannot have us.

It starts with our bodies. Though you have laid hands on us and taken your fill, it was not yours to take. You cannot be sustained on us. You have not ruined us.

And then we’ll take our minds. We will never forget you, the depraved look on your face as you stole from us, but we will not see you in the face of every stranger. We will not picture you as we fall asleep at night. We will not hear your words, detailing the numerous ways it was our fault, or how we asked for it.

Finally, we take our souls. You may have crushed us, but we are certainly not destroyed.

We are taking our lives back. We are not afraid. And now it is us, who are waiting for you. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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