“You, wrong doer 
Listen to me with your ears wide open:

Don’t label me “cute”, “sexy” or “pretty”
Don’t think that my body
Is all there is to me

I’m not your resting place
I’m not a piece of meat
Where you insert your dick
To satisfy your needs

I’m not a empty trash can
That you can throw things at 
Your looks when I stride by
Your whistling, your groping from behind

You think that I’m a puppet?
A dog? An object down the road?

Don’t stare at my ass 
Don’t dare touch my temple
Don’t throw me dirty looks
I swear, I’ve got plenty

Don’t speak to me like that
It honestly gets old 
If you think I’m beautiful
Why don’t you say it bold

When I say “NO”
It means “NO”
No matter the tears
The sorrow, the alcohol

I am not playing “hard to get”
I am single
Yet I don’t like to mingle
When you show no respect

Above all:

Be curious about my story 
My soul, my intellect
My joy, my magic
The human I am

The wonders I hold
The love that I give
The poems I write
The light that I shine

You, wrong doer
May you be wise enough
To rise upon this call
To join us on this fight”

I wrote this poem a couple months ago, at the core of my healing journey. Before speaking to my therapist, I had not processed the sexual assaults I had experienced in my life.

They came in all forms:

  • A classmate placed his body over mine whilst I was asleep, during a sleepover. I had to push him aside as he was trying to kiss me and take off my clothes. We were 14.
  • A man ran towards me in the middle of the city and grabbed my breast. He then kept running and laughing, disappearing into the street.
  • An unknown person grabbed my vulva in a public space.
  • A man followed me home. I had to enter a supermarket to distract him.
  • A man followed me through the subway. I had to hide away so that he could not find me.

I was yelled at, called at, whistled at… treated like an object down the road.

Yet, I never spoke about these events. I knew they were common place. The fact that they had been normalized in our society kept me from opening up. I genuinely thought: “everyone knows that this happens, why would I share my story?”

Yet I learnt 2 important lessons when processing these events:

1. Trauma is the emotional and physical reaction that you have to a particular event: the fear, the disgust, the shame, the rage, the sense of hopelessness, your legs shaking, your body frozen in disbelief, the stream of tears. It is not the event itself.

2. Trauma is also relative to all your other experiences. For someone who was raised in a safe environment, such events generated stark feelings within me. These were stored in my body.

And this is the key. As I began to open up, I realized, unless I spoke about these stories, unless I went to the core of the emotion and how the events made me feel, these feelings were going to be stored in every inch of my body.

And they were.

They were driving my life. They were affecting my decisions. What to wear. Where to go. My ability to carry myself as a sexual being in this world.

They were affecting my relationships. My trust. My ability to open up to romantic partners. They were holding my power back.

But I have claimed it back. I’m not a victim, but the creator of my own life.

And this is what I hold dear to my heart today:

That no matter what we experience, when we speak our truth, we claim who we are.

We assemble the broken pieces, and sew them one by one.

Watch us going back to wholeness.

There is no stopping us.

Originally published at medium.com