Month: June 2016

To the Woman on the Bus

You don’t know me
And I don’t know you
But there are many people like me
People who listen

And when you say “I think six months is fair…”
About that Stanford Trial we all know about
…we hear you
And we listen.

You’re saying this to me
And to girls like me
And to girls like the woman who was so awfully taken advantage of

To the woman on the bus:
You don’t know me
But as you sit behind me and tell your husband that she

Drank too much

Or that she

Wore too little

Remember that you are a woman. And remember that we must stick together.

Because when you speak of that case, and you say out loud to a full bus that it was the victim’s fault

You are telling me that it was my fault

I can hear you. And I am listening.

When I was fifteen, sixteen, eighteen, twenty, and twenty-three years old you are telling me it was my fault

When it happened time and time again

It is my fault they took parts of me that I’ll never get back

It is my fault they took some of my joy I will never find again

When you say that she shouldn’t have gotten so drunk. When you say that he was drunk so he’s not responsible

You’re telling all survivors, those of us listening, that they didn’t do enough to keep themselves from getting violated.

You are part of the problem.

So when I walked off that bus and I told you “it is never the victim’s fault” I wasn’t just telling you that

I was reminding myself

Because you blindly shouted to your husband and the girl in front of you that you are siding with a predator. And this girl was listening

And you reminded this girl that she needs to keep fighting, to keep listening

She needs to keep fighting a culture that teaches daughters about safety but doesn’t teach sons about consent

Keep fighting a world that tries to tell women their feelings aren’t validated

Keep fighting people like you who don’t realize the triggers they are spouting to a stranger on a bus.

But people like you remind me that listening is not enough. I need to be telling. I need to be sharing my story and telling everyone that it is never the victim’s fault.

Because it isn’t

And maybe, if I keep talking

I will be louder than the people like you.

And everyone who is listening will hear me over you

After I looked you in the eye I walked away with my heart pounding and my hands shaking

Because I was fighting my mind

I was battling the guilt that I have beaten down in the past. You reminded me that I once believed it was all my fault.

We must stand together.

We must remind each other that we are strong and that our emotions are validated. That it is never our fault.

To the woman on the bus:
People are listening. So change your dialogue. Don’t feed into the culture- we have terrible judges that give out six month sentences to do that for us

Change your dialogue and tell the people who are listening that they will be okay

That it isn’t their fault

And that you stand with them.

The Girl Who Listens