A moment in the life of a 'slut' trying to find help. For Jynx, a dear friend. For myself and the many others like us. You are not alone. This is not your fault. Persevere lovelies. Live.
“Just because you look a certain way doesn’t mean you can do what or who you want.” I heard you mutter that to the other nurse behind that shabby curtain. I saw your disgust and judgement as you came back to ‘help’ me. You couldn’t be bothered because to you I was a disgusting slut who ‘got what was owed’ me.
I felt even more shame and hatred towards myself because of your words. Your judgements and disgust made me believe the lies, “this is entirely my fault.” What you didn’t know is I am a photographer. I worked with special needs children and their families. Despite your words I continued doing that. Part of me used to enjoy modeling. She found it fun and exciting. Parts of me are extraordinary artists. I am a person. I am a woman. I wanted to die. I was a rape victim.
You considered me attractive. You judged me based on my appearance, even though I couldn’t see any redeeming qualities in myself. Not until now, that is. You and others I’ve encountered like you have given me the same look, over the years. The judgement, disgust, it’s always the same. You thought I was “well put together” and because I looked a certain way it “doesn’t mean I can do whoever I want.” Well, on that we agree. What may surprise you is I have no anger or hatred for you anymore. In fact, I want to thank you for your judgement, harsh words and disgust. Truly, thank you. Without them I would not have found my voice. I wouldn’t have the strength to speak about the horrendous and unimaginable reason’s women, men and children like me don’t speak or seek help.
The shame and not so silent whispers of your judgement behind that curtain raised my voice. By now, you’ve forgotten me, but I will never forget you or that shabby green curtain. It was a line drawn. It meant I belonged hidden and silent. There for people better than me, those like you, to criticize and condemn for the choice I never made. You deserved to be seen and I kept hidden behind the green curtain. So, again, thank you. Because of you I will raise my voice now.
I will be here for anyone needing what you never gave to me, simple human kindness. During my darkest days I needed a person; my entire life has been hidden behind a dark green curtain, no more. I will raise my voice for the women, the men and those children who endure and are judged by the best of people on the other side, like you. So again, I want to thank you.
I thank everyone who has judged the HPV I contracted from that pitiful ‘man’ who took something from me and in turn, gave me yet another challenge to overcome. I will no longer be ‘okay’ with merely surviving. I don’t want to be a survivor anymore, now, well now I want to live.
Thanks to you, dear nurse, for your disgust and judgements. Thank you to my rapist, yes even you, thanks. You’ve made me stronger than I ever imagined possible. I overcame so much at that point, I thought I was safe, but was again proven wrong for a short time. Now, nearly 10yrs later, I found my voice. It took time. It took work, but I am not ashamed anymore. The storm and shadows of the silence I survived in no longer cloud me. Now I will be more than a survivor. Now I will live. Oh baby, I will live.
Every look, scoff and judgement has given me the strength to shout, “Enough!” If you or a loved one find yourself in similar circumstances, speak. Find help. Silence can kill and it nearly killed me more than once. Don’t be content with survival, survive, but then live darling. Live.