Westcop Victim's Rights Week 2018 Concert
“I am a rape survivor” – the hardest 5 words I have ever had to say.
And every day for the last 5 months, every day since that Thanksgiving night in November- I tell myself, today I will say those 5 words out loud. Today, I will even say it with a smile on my face. The statement itself includes the word ‘survivor’ as if I have something to be proud of, but I just can’t see it, you know? And week after week I tell myself that I will speak about it ‘one of these days’ and that it won’t even be so bad because with ‘Me Too’ movements and all these stories in the news, I will be ‘just’ another person speaking out about sexual violence and people will only read the first line and scroll down to the next post on their timeline in anyway because by now they are so used to me always writing poetry about some sad shit that went wrong in my life ‘this time’ or they remember Lyla who used to be outgoing and celebrating sexuality and they will think ‘it can’t be’ - so I post this and tell myself I hope the one person who needs to hear this, is reading, and hope the rest keep scrolling. And I would finally be able to get it off my chest and it won’t even be that hard to say it because so many of my friends have been there. So many of my friends are survivors. But so many of them have never said it out loud. So let me say this out loud today if you still don’t know how to.
5 months later,
I tell myself that it doesn’t affect me anymore.
I tell myself that I really enjoy being single now.
I tell myself that NYPD is doing enough to try and locate him. I avoid facing reliving what happened by convincing myself I would only be a nuisance if I keep on following up on the case.
I tell myself that it doesn’t matter that I have to describe the worst night of my life to a male detective and a male attorney. And I look them in the eye when I speak about my vagina and I tell myself it doesn’t tear me apart at all.
I tell myself that the last 5 months I spent fighting myself to not get on a plane back to South Africa, are not 5 months wasted. I tell myself I haven’t lost the last 5 months.
I DID lose the last 5 months.
I could not get myself to play a gig in the last 5 months.
I have not fallen in love in the last 5 months, I used to fall in love with everyone.
I have been ignoring texts and calls for 5 months.
And in February after months of him asking, and me standing him up twice, I finally went on that first date after being violated, and he was so nice. And I wanted to want him so badly. But I didn’t want him.
He put so much effort into booking a nice restaurant and being a gentleman and when he tried to kiss me, I laughed at him and left him to spend the night in that fancy hotel he booked, all by himself.
And I laughed at the next guy who tried.
And then I started friend-zoning them, before they could even try.
And I tell myself it’s so sexy to be so hard to get now, and I am such a catch for not putting out and I don’t miss having sex at all.
And I can’t look at myself in the mirror. And I don't eat at all.
And I dig so deep into my soul and I try to fix my flaws after this big wake up call, called rape.
And I find God and lose him again.
And I look at my calendar and I realize that today is the day I promised my therapist I would sing again, and we have been speaking about this event since January, and I still haven’t said the 5 words out loud that I promised myself I would be brave enough to say, brave enough to write about.
So just like all the other things I leave till last minute in my life, I truly could not get myself to say these 5 words a minute sooner than now.
And today I will walk onto a stage and sing my heart out at the National Victim’s Rights Awareness Week in New York, because I am a rape SURVIVOR.