I know how hard it is to look at yourself in the mirror and love your reflection. You think you are ugly, not because of what you see but because of what you don’t. The pain, the shame, the guilt the resentment, and the fire that has been consuming you slowly since his rough callused hands touched your breasts, bruised your private parts, and later ripped your insides.
I know how hard it was for you to lie there and take in all the pain even after you fought relentlessly but he couldn’t let go. How your mind escaped your body and later you lay there bleeding, numb, mute, violated, wishing your mum was there. I understand how dirty you felt, how unwanted and unsafe you felt, how that was the first time you wished you could leave this cold world and be with your mum.
I understand how hard it has been for you to love yourself or feel valuable and worthy. Sometimes it feels as if the man took your beauty, dignity, and everything that felt dear to you. You feel small, almost invisible because the man reduced you to nothing. You do not want people to see you. You do not want them to come too close lest they see the stain in your soul or smell your brokenness.
I understand how hard it has been for you to trust men. How can you trust men when it was a man, your uncle who instead of protecting you as fathers do, climbed on top of you and broke you from the inside out? I understand how mad you got at daddy and all the nights you waited for him to come home and be your hero. You needed his love, protection, and praise, but he never showed up.
I understand how hard it is for you to own your scars. Sometimes it feels like his hands are touching you again and you can almost hear his deep voice and the song that played in the background as if nothing wrong was happening. I know how hard it is to be loved when you are always feeling unworthy, unlovable, ugly, and undeserving of life itself. How you run away from yourself and love. If you have never been loved and known real love, how can you love?
I understand how you learned to expect pain as an ingredient of being loved. How you took love wherever you could find it and all the messed up things you did to find love and keep it. I know how hard it was for you to open up to your aunt who later kicked you out of the house and accused you of lying, saying you were not any different from your mum.
I understand how hard it is for you to sleep at night when sometimes you see him in your dreams. While young children grew up hearing of monsters in stories, yours wasn’t under the bed. It was in the shape of a man who mercilessly misinterpreted your cry for love and left a bottomless hole in your soul. While children experienced love and care, you learned from a young age that the world is a ruthless place where mothers die, fathers disappear and uncles rape their own.
I know how hard it is to forgive yourself. To love that little girl who was abused, abandoned, and despised. I know how hard it is to love the body you’ve always been ashamed of. How hard it is to speak up for yourself, to say no when you want to say yes. To be strong for yourself when you want to break down and let go of everything. I know how hard it has been to love a man and recognize that not all men are like your father or uncle. I know. I know. I know.
And while you might never get any justice, the real justice is knowing that no one ever took the beauty and the light you possess. No one took away your innocence. You are not responsible for the bad things that happened to you. You didn’t do anything wrong, you were a child looking for love, safety, and care. They might have broken you, but they didn’t break your soul. You are still here, fighting, healing, and becoming the woman you were meant to be. Keep shining.