Photography by Lakyn Barton
I have seen evil,
I have witnessed great despair.
I have wept not only for myself, but for the fate of humanity.
I have seen the breakdown of a family,
I have felt the synthetic fibers and people that make up a courtroom.
I have fought both systematic and institutionalized violence.
I have felt agony and then nothing in a matter of seconds
I have wept for my country.
I have wept for my religion.
I have wept for my friends.
I have wept for my attacker.
I have wept for passive victims and the internalized shame and guilt they must feel,
but probably cannot openly discuss.
I have wept on help-lines; I have wept to social services.
I have wept to my friends.
However, I did not weep in front of my rapist.
I did not weep in court.
I did not weep during my 5.5 hour cross-examination.
I did not weep when the Defense Attorney asked me to put on my rapist’s sweater.
I did not weep as my brothers sat and watched my 3.5 hour testimony.
I did not weep as my attacker’s friends & family glared at me.
I am not a passive victim of violence.
I am not a victim, nor am I a survivor.
I was surviving long before my attack and will survive long after.
I know what happened to me; and I know who I am.
I am 1% in Canada with a 10% chance of conviction.
I am an upper-class, privileged white woman.
I am your sister
I fought for my life and won.
I have seen evil; I know evil.
And I have conquered the depths of humanity’s horror.