A Letter for all the Sleepless Nights


Photo by: Paulina Rodriguez Ruiz

For the six year old girl who grew up too fast, the one the world constantly questions. A survivor, unaware of all the pain her story holds. Paulina Rodriguez Ruiz on December 23, 2001 at Belvedere Elementary School in Los Angeles, CA.

A letter to sexual abuse survivors amidst Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court while facing sexual misconduct

I believe you.
When they question you. Harass you. When they demand answers you don’t have.

I believe you.
When they probe you, with their needles filled with grime, unsterilized, trying to puncture holes in your story.

I see you.
When the pus oozes from the wound, when your flesh begins to rot, and all the things he did to you start to eat you alive.

For the days you feel invisible, and you choose to run and hide, choosing solitude over company, just to get some piece of mind.

I see you.
With your sunken face, unkempt hair, and frazzled eyes. An empty shell, no longer living in your body, somewhere in between, where he can’t reach you.

I hear you.
When you weep at night into your mother’s arms, gasping for air, falling asleep to her prayers.

I listen to the words you don’t say, the ones you try to swallow; the ones that end up choking you alive.

I understand why you didn’t say anything, why it took so long, why you tried to forget.
It was survival, self-preservation: mercy.

For all your sleepless nights, the ones you never talk about, the ones that leave you hollow, and dead inside.

The feelings are temporary, you won’t believe this at first, but with time and patience you’ll see the cycles break.

Remember to choose yourself amidst it all, your freedom, your salvation, until the pink returns to your cheeks, and your body begins to feel like home.

Grow roses in the space between your heart, fill the void he left in you, until you remember your name.

And when the world decides to turn a blind eye, and you wonder why you even fight, remember those before you, names and faces erased through time, who fought so you could be alive.
Know that you are worthy of love.
Don’t let the world trick you into a lifetime full of silence. Scream, cry, until you recognize the sound of your voice.

Forgive yourself, for the days you lash out against those who love you. You never learned how to express all the pain, and so you stash it all away, until there’s just too much to contain.

Don’t apologize for the weight your story carries; let your words fill every room until each
syllable leaves a bitter taste in their mouths.

Make a home out of the discomfort; allow yourself to truly be seen, heard, understood.
What you have to say will never be pleasant, or easy, but it will be necessary.