I’m feeling very inspired by this story. Feeling like the scared, younger me has a little more permission to come back up to tell her story, and that there are people there to hold her. And together, we’ll hold each other, and we’ll all be ok…
“So there’s this girl. The girl is 12 years old. The girl goes to school.
There’s this group of boys. They sexually harass her.
The girl’s parents are conservative evangelicals. The girl doesn’t want to talk about it. The girl doesn’t want to make a scene; she thinks, next time, she should just do what they want her to do.
There are these women, in a secret Facebook group for women writers, who wish there were a way to do something, anything, for the girl who is blaming herself for what happened to her. The woman who posted this story in that group wrote:
“Is there anything out there like a Girl’s Guide to Rape Culture? That explains it in an accessible, empowering way? I just want her (and all the other kids, of all genders, who are in similar situations) to know: This isn’t your fault. I believe you.”
Lindy West, a staff writer for Jezebel, said “How do you reach a kid like that? Where they’re getting this really destructive narrative at home, and they don’t have people around them who can provide an alternate narrative about themselves, about their bodies, their rights, the boundaries they’re allowed to maintain?”
Someone had a suggestion: What if all the women wrote this girl letters?
West said, “If we don’t want to invade her privacy by having a bunch of weird ladies sending letters about this really personal thing that happened to her, what if we wrote letters that were more generalized and posted them somewhere? And as soon as that idea came up, it was just astonishing. Everyone has a story. Every single person that I talked to about this immediately had a story that they wanted to write.”
Last Thursday, West launched the Tumblr called “I Believe You | It’s Not Your Fault.”
These stories are heartbreaking. Especially that anyone — any innocent child or insecure teenager — would be told afterwards that what happened was their fault, or not a big deal, or a joke.