Madeline’s story: A Letter to Me

Madeline’s story: A Letter to Me

Dear Maddy,

It’s okay that you get sad sometimes. It’s okay to cry and to be angry about it. You’re allowed to be disappointed, confused, tired and weak. You don’t have to be happy and strong all of the time. You’re allowed to feel broken.
You’re not, though.

He didn’t break you. He doesn’t get to take anything from you – you know this.
It’s not okay what he did to you. It’s not okay that he put something in your drink. It’s not okay that he got you into a car and drove you away from your friends. It’s not okay that he took you into a house.

It’s okay that you don’t remember everything.
What’s not okay is when he pushed you down onto the bed. It was dark, but you remember the outline of his body. He tore your clothes off and it hurt when he ripped your bra from your chest. The straps snapped and left welts on your shoulders. It hurt when he put his hands around your throat and wouldn’t let go. You couldn’t breathe and he ignored your tears and your pleas to stop. Your hands couldn’t pull his away and you panicked. He turned you over and bruised your hips from grabbing so hard. He held your head down and you cried into the pillows. He was going to hard and was banging your head into the wall.

It’s okay that you blocked out the rest. You did it to protect yourself. You don’t to remember his face.

You did the right thing. You did so well. You got out of the house and you called [A]. You went back to school residence and asked the taxi driver for water. It’s okay that you cried but couldn’t say what had happened. You got out of the car and sat outside Cascade Hall. You didn’t live there anymore, but it was the first safe place you thought of. It was pouring with rain and you hugged your knees to your chest. You’d never cried this hard before. It’s not okay that he hurt you.

You called security and they let you into the building. It’s okay that you didn’t tell them. You went to sleep on the couch under a warm blanket. It’s okay that you still felt cold and numb.

A couple of hours later, [A] called you again and you tried to drive home, she stayed on the phone with you the entire time. You went slow, and you did it. You got home and took your damp clothes off. You re-applied your makeup and brushed your hair. You were still numb, and that’s okay.

You looked at yourself in the mirror, but it didn’t look like you. There were bite marks on your arms and neck. There were bruises on your throat and chest. There were scratches on your wrist, your knees and shins were battered. Your eyes were red and your breathing was shallow. But, you did so good – you went back upstairs and made the kids their lunch. It’s okay that you cried when [M] asked you how your night was. Even after all of this, you still tried to out the kids first.

You did so well. You told [M] and he called the police. It’s okay that you had to wait a little while. He tried taking you to the station and people stared. You were holding your clothes in a bundle because they told you not to wash them. You weren’t allowed to shower either. They told you to go back to your house and wait for an officer. It took her 3 hours, but it’s okay, they had called [K] and she was with you now.

The officer took your statement and then took you to the Sheldon Chumir. It’s okay that you felt embarrassed and dirty. You shouldn’t though; not anymore and not again.

They took you into the emergency room and you had to wait. You waited seven hours while people came in and out, asking you the same questions over and over. It all blurred together.

Its okay that you couldn’t eat or drink. You couldn’t bare to swallow. It’s okay that they took you into another room and made you undress. It’s okay that they examined you. They had to take pictures of your bruises, cuts and bite marks. They had to measure each injury and document it. They had to give you a very invasive exam, and it hurt. It’s okay that you silently cried out throughout all of this. You didn’t want to be touched. You cried out when they had to put the cold, metal clamps inside of you. It’s okay that you reacted like this. They took your clothes away in plastic bags labelled, “evidence.”

It’s okay that you still have nightmares. It’s okay that you can see him above you when you’re trying to go to sleep. It’s okay that sometimes you have to sleep on the couch because being in a bed in the dark scares you. It’s okay to be frightened that you might run into him one day. Maybe you’ll see him at the shops, or maybe he’ll come into work. But, he’s never going to hurt you again.

You’re doing so well by being open about this. You’re trying so hard. It’s okay to be triggered by things. Like that time [J] put his hands on your throat you cried – but he stopped straight away, he didn’t want to hurt you. Or that time you had a panic attack on your birthday. You took pills and the effects were terrifying. You weren’t in control of your body for those few hours and that upset you. It’s okay that that experience scared you all over again. that you couldn’t breathe and you felt like he was there in the room with you. He wasn’t, though. And you had friends who took care of you. It’s okay that you had another panic attack at work and had to sit under the metal benches in the bathroom. It made you feel safer and [R] held your hands as you cried.
You did so well when [M] went to hospital. They took her to the Sheldon Chumir and when you went to find her, you had to walk through the same doors. You had to walk down the same hallway and into the same ward. It’s okay that your heart dropped when you saw what room she was in. You tried to slow your breathing and hold back the tears when you saw what bed she was laying in. She smiled at you and was so happy when you walked in. You were there to be with her and that time wasn’t about you.

It’s okay that today you got triggered by a memory. [J] asked you about your childhood and you told her about that time you were sitting outside on the deck meditating. You were 8 years old and it was summer. It was kind of peculiar for a child so young to be meditating, but the flying ants were all around you and you and you could hear the quiet hum of their wings. Their migration only happened once a year, in January. The warm summer’s evening touched your soft skin, and the birds sang their song in the distance. The leaves of the eucalyptus trees rustled and fluttered. You couldn’t hear anything else. It was so peaceful. You were so little. You didn’t know what the outside world had in store for you. That little girl had no clue that people could be so cruel. She didn’t know what was going to happen to her on June 21, 2019.
She hadn’t even thought that far ahead yet. She was just sitting there, soaking up the sunshine while her mum and dad looked at her through the kitchen window.

I know you feel sad for her. I know you just wanted to protect her; her innocence and naïvety. Your tried. You’ve done so well/ And it wasn’t your fault. He did this to you. It happened to you, but it does not define you. It was one day in your life. He doesn’t get to take anything away from you – ever.

Keep pushing forward, you’ve got this. You’re strong and I have so much faith in you.

All my love,

– M.

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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