This is for the women who weren’t believed.
For the women who were made to feel like they did something wrong.
The women who were asked how much they were drinking that night. The women who were told they should’ve been more careful. The women who were told not saying no means yes. That saying yes then changing your mind isn’t allowed. That not screaming for help means please, continue.
For the women who were humiliated, and shamed.
The women who were branded liars. The women who were invited to read between the lines, and learn that wearing a short skirt means you’re easy and up for it. The women who were asked if they were a virgin before. And the women who were made to feel ashamed for ever enjoying sex. The women who were forced to re-live every detail of that horrific day, over and over again.
For the women who were intimidated, and threatened.
The women who had their colourful, sexual past dug up, and used against them. The women who were beaten down with power and money, and told it would only get worse until they backed off. The women who were forced to swallow their truth out of fear of their own life.
For the women who prayed for justice, but had to watch them walk free.
The women who were told, it’s your word against his, in spite of damning evidence. The women who put their faith in the system, only to find out how broken it really is. The women who found their voice, but were silenced once more. The women who learned they live in a world where their bodies and their rights aren’t respected, or protected. And the women who know that any woman is next.
For the women who have begun to lose hope.
The women who’ve been burned before. The women who have witnessed how women before them have been treated; and feel hopeless and stripped of their power. The women who believe more harm than good will come from sharing their story. The women who lower their head, push their thoughts into a dark corner, and soldier on.
For the women who have to live with not being believed.
I’m sorry that no one believed you. I’m sorry you have to wake up every day knowing that you weren’t believed. That you have to carry on with your life, with the truth weighing heavily on your heart. And you have to do your best to try and heal, knowing that you never fully will.
For the women who weren’t believed; I’m sorry.
I’m sorry you weren’t believed.
And I believe you.