By Tori Lewis
**Trigger Warning for Discussions of Sexual Assault (and its aftermath), Suicide, and Bullying**
I wrote this blog post several months ago but never got the courage to post it. After Take Back the Night yesterday evening, I finally feel like it’s time to put these words out there.
I honestly don’t even know what to say. But saying nothing is what got us here. So here it goes.
Daisy Coleman attempted suicide this weekend. 2 years ago, when she was 14, a young man sexually assaulted her and then left her outside of her house, alone, bruised, and intoxicated, in freezing temperatures. 1 year ago, the system failed to seek justice for the crime that was committed.
Daisy Coleman is an incredibly strong young woman. Don’t just take my word for it… Read HER words. She is without a doubt incredibly brave. She’s been stronger than any human should reasonably be expected to be over the course of their lives and she is still oh-so-young.
There is something so fundamentally broken with our society and we can’t let it continue a single second longer. There are lives at stake. Young girls, with so much potential and light and spark, are being broken down by a system that is utterly failing to protect them. And then those around them are failing to listen to their words, treat them with respect, and allow them the peace to figure out what this all means for THEM.
It’s hard for me to do anything right now besides cry. It’s hard to remember how breathing works when each breath doesn’t feel choked.
I’m gonna be honest with you. I feel utterly wrecked by this. So wrecked that writing a coherent blog post seems trivial and nonchalant and nowhere near worthy of all the things that Daisy deserves from this world. What happened to her makes me physically ill — and I’m being sincere. The night after I found out about her recent suicide attempt, I couldn’t remember what human bodies were supposed to feel like. My body no longer felt like mine… Or I should say, it again felt like it wasn’t mine. Because I know what it’s like to be there and feel like not only were you utterly violated (which really is far too tame a word but I don’t know that my vocabulary contains one strong enough), but no one seemed to understand it and everyone seemed to want a reason for it not to be true.
I am not Daisy Coleman. Not all rape victims are the same. Her trauma is different from mine and her aftermath was different from mine and her path towards healing will be different from mine.
I stand with Daisy Coleman. I stand with Rehtaeh Parsons. I stand with Cherice Moralez. I stand with every young girl whose name we will never know who has been sexually assaulted and then made to feel like they were the ones who were carrying the blame. You’re not. And you never will be. It’s not your crime.
It feels like an unspeakable trauma, I know. But speech is here. And sometimes the words that come out will be a string of expletives that don’t make any sense and don’t even really make you feel any better. Sometimes the words will be rejected by those who hear them because they’re too selfish or ignorant or cruel to hear them. Sometimes the words will be you quietly reminding yourself to breathe in and out and in and out and in and out until your lungs feel like yours again. And sometimes the words will be the exact right ones and the right time and a little piece of your healing will click into place.
At least that’s how it is for me. I don’t know how it is for you. But I do know that I’m sorry and that there are people who are here to listen if you’re ready to talk.
Daisy Coleman is a brave and brilliant girl. What happened to her was wrong. But it didn’t just happen. Someone committed a crime. That person was not named Daisy.