I wish someone had told me a long time ago that Prince Charming doesn’t exist. Maybe if they had I’d have spent a lot more time learning how to defend myself instead of waiting to be saved.
Maybe I’d have spent more time clutching to the one man I know won’t let me down, Jesus Christ, instead of white-knuckling the abuse you put me through.
But this letter isn’t about the hell I’ve been through – we’ve had enough time to talk about that. No, this is about you.
Because I see you –
There at the back of the room, trying to blend into the wallpaper, hoping no one notices you and calls you out.
To start, I want to thank you for letting us have this moment. Your silence has been much appreciated during this time of grieving and connecting with our sisters. Thank you for letting us be angry. We needed to get angry.
But time’s up. You need to step forward now.
No, I’m not going to ask you to make a big public apology or something. I already know you’re sorry. I know because you told me when we bumped into each other unexpectedly that night at the bar – when you said you regretted all those terrible things you said to me.
When I wrote about you on my blog and you chose your words so carefully when you texted me to tell me you read it.
I know you regret treating the women you dated the way you did because of how you asked me every time if you could kiss me. You asked me every time if I was comfortable. I know it wasn’t Mama who taught you that – you’d already talked about consent with the women before me, so I continued to talk about consent with all of you for the women after me.
There were so many times that so many of you disrespected my boundaries, but I need to thank you for that one important time you were there for me (or someone like me). When I (or someone like me) sobbed on your couch about assault and you put your hand on my shoulder and apologized for every man before you.
I know to some of you, my story must have seemed so dull compared to your own, but you never once made me feel like my pain wasn’t important. You convinced me to go to police – after all, you’d have done the same thing, if you’d been old enough to remember who it was who hurt you…
If I had known that then, I would have told you, so I’m telling you now: no matter how many women you’ve hurt, you are important. And you are loved.
I will never know, in this crazy world full of messed up pressures on men, how hard it was for you to talk to that psychologist. Or how many nights you broke down in sobs, calling out His voice, only to hear echoes of your own.
Or how little and broken you felt every night before you popped that sleeping pill. But I want you to know how proud I am of you for trying to make yourself better.
Right now, I need you to do something scarier than all of that. I need you to step away from that wall and I need you to tell your story. We’re about to get carried away with ourselves and we need your voice in this conversation.
I need you to realize what kind of privilege you have, not so that you relinquish it, but that so you bend down and grab the hand of the woman below you and pull her up.
You’re so stoic right now, letting this moment be for us, but it can be for you too – this can be a moment of reconciliation. Believe me when I tell you that you know more people than I do and that your voice is valued, in some spaces, more than mine. I need you to talk about consent EVERYWHERE.
I need you to do this for me.
And for her.
I need you to be braver than you ever thought you could be right now.
I need you to be Prince Charming – because don’t you know? The world could sure use one.
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