It's been a long time since I wrote my last entry in the English language. As a result, you might be wondering why I have just decided to write in this language instead of my mother tongue. First of all I don't write very often and when I do so it's easy to write in my own language, although I keep saying to myself that I must write in English from time to time. A few days while I was browsing my Facebook timeline I learnt that Chanel Miller had decided to go public and was about to publish a book, "Know My Name", in which she unveils her identitity as the victim of the Stanford sexual assault.
I can perfectly remember my reaction when I read the sentence, only six months in prison although he just served three. I felt anger and betrayed at the same time as I just couldn't understand that lack of sympathy towards the victim whereas the judge seemed more concerned about the perpetrator's wellbeing. I just couldn't understand the reason why this person was unable to understand what Chanel was going through at that precise moment. I also felt powerless as the judge's decision told the world that rape wasn't so serious whenever alcohol was involved. But I didn't know her, so I wasn't also aware of the real impact of the assault on her life. Now that she has gone public I know her name and I've seen her face, I can understand the emotional damage she has undergone after the assault. That's the main reason I've decided to write this entry in English.
I don't know her, I don't think she will ever read this entry. However, I would like to let her know that I truly understand how she felt. As she says she had to rebuild her identity in order to overcome not only the assault but also the treatment received in court when she was questioned about her own behaviour, wasn't she the victim? I haven't been raped, but I know how it feels when you're harrassed at work and everybody else's, including someone who's supposed to be your best friend there, thinks you're overreacting. They're just jokes, their culture is different than yours and you just have to accept it. Finally, when somebody decides to help you and do something, it seems that the perpetrators are the victims and you're responsible for their acts instead of yours. I know that I felt deeply desolated at that moment, alone with no one to turn to but my sister, who encouraged me to leave that place, which I did a few months later. Although I don't regret my decision I do feel sometimes that I should have gone further than I did.
Dear Chanel, although it's true that he can't give you back the life you used to have, you have the power to build a new life, and it seems you've already done it. I'm really proud of you, and I hope that my support gets to you. Coming to terms with the assault must have been really tough. However, being unnamed in the media might have been if not the worst part of it pretty distressful. Now that you have revealed your identity I've got the impression you might feel relieved.
You might want to know why I haven't mentioned the other part. This is easy to answer; it is Chanel is the one who deserves to be given a name not him.