In a hundred years from now, long after I am dead, in some murky corner of the dark net (or whatever it’s called by then)… images of the darkest, most painful moments of my life will still exist. Those who know how will still find them, collect them, share them, and masturbate over them. Every degrading, dehumanising and humiliating moment of my abuse has been captured and preserved for all time, for all to see.
It is bad enough knowing that hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of men have seen me being raped, and worse.
It’s bad enough to live with the constant fear that today when we go into town, a man might recognise us in the street as the adult version of the little girl who got fucked by the big black dog in the videos he downloaded last night.
But the thought that even after I’m dead, all memory of me will fade except for the thousands upon thousands of images and films of child pornography my abusers made of me, fills me with more sorrow than I can bear.
And this is why I write. Because photographs last forever, but so can words.
My voice will tell what those photographs can’t.
If I tell what they did, if I tell how much I hated it, if I tell how the damage of years of being forced to perform for the big cameras with the bright lights that burned my eyes, caused me to become so lost, in a place so far beyond “broken”, so far beyond “ruined”, that I did not even feel human anymore… then maybe they won’t win.
Maybe my voice can join with other voices of other survivors and eventually, together, we can make it stop. So no child has to ever go through this again.
I want to tell you that it is not hopeless.
When I was very little, bad men stole my voice. They filled my mouth with water and taped it shut. I was raped over and over, and if I made a sound, or if I swallowed, I was shocked with a cattle prod. This is how I learned to be silent. Later, they injected my tongue with dental anaesthetic and told me they had cut it out, and that I couldn’t speak now even if I wanted too. They told me I would die if I ever tried to talk again.
But I’m talking now and I am still here.
And I will never stop talking again.
Because no matter how badly they torture you, or how many times they rape you, there is always a tiny spark of your light that gets hidden away safe inside. No matter how hard they stamp all over you, they will not be able to extinguish it. You may not even believe it exists anymore. But one day the right person will know how to reach inside and find that spark, and nurture it until the flames that grow from it learn what fuel they need and long to burn brightly for all the world to see.
There is a way back from broken.
I was the tiny spark of light hidden away inside of A that they could not put out.