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A Message To My Fifteen Year Old Self- About Slut Shaming

I’m no one and I am everyone, I think my experiences are relatable and I’d like to give them here in a public space to lay a foundation for people to find comfort within and for myself to vent and shed the weight that heavy memories sometimes hold.

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A Message To My Fifteen Year Old Self- About Slut Shaming

A message to my fifteen-year-old self

Hi,

It’s been two years and although I still make some of the same mistakes because I am continually growing like a beautiful and prominent tree in my oasis shaped through the landscape my roots have formed within, I thought I’d write to you Sophie. I’m writing this because I was and I am still pretty average despite my pretensions and my attempts at abnormality.

I’m no one and I am everyone, I think my experiences are relatable and I’d like to give them here in a public space to lay a foundation for people to find comfort within and for myself to vent and shed the weight that heavy memories sometimes hold.

I was fifteen when I lost my virginity, and I was fifteen when I was undiagnosed with attention deficit disorder, depression and anxiety and I was fifteen when I dropped my rose coloured glasses.

I grew up in a home with parents who would put stars in the sky for me if I asked them too. I grew up in a home with a sister who would swim with me on hot summers days and we would catch rain in mason jars pretending it was Jesus’s own tears. I’m not religious, however I grew up in a family were if God did exist he had fashioned it from clay and beauty especially for me.

I grew up in a home were we went on holidays and took pictures, I grew up with a dad who was and is so larger than life, he would carry us on a plane to Australia to live sunny and largely undeniably happy lives. I grew up with a mother who would volunteer at the canteen at primary school and paint my walls purple and love me so much it would rupture ear drums if ever heard at a decibel level.

I had and I have, what every child absolutely deserves. Parents who knew my favourite colour and a sister who adored me more than a mangy old rabbit she’s had since birth.

Which is why at fifteen it probably came as quite a shock that all I wanted to do was die.

I was at a performing arts high school and at first it was the single best thing that ever happened to me. I got in for acting. My little head was swimming with the idea that I was worth my salt and that I was absolutely no doubt about it the next Nicole Kidman. I actually wasn’t that bad of an actress either, I was in state drama for NSW for three years in a row, I did shows almost every month with my school and annually with the state team, who were and still are truly remarkable people. I lost it though.

I think when people talk about bullying; usually they’re referring to name-calling and small scale continuous teasing, which is still the kind of shit that makes people mentally ill however, I want you to know I was severely bullied. I was slut shamed from the age of thirteen upwards; it started off lightly like it so often does. It started off with the occasional comment. As bodacious and confident young person at first I just blew it off. It progressed. To the point where I was locked in a toilet and told if I didn’t give someone a blow job I couldn’t leave, to the point where my legs were ripped open during P.E. class, to the point were it was routine for my body to be pinned to a desk and for countless boys to expose themselves to me in class time. I was bullied through slut shaming largely by men, I was first in English in year seven by the time I was in year nine I wasn’t even present to class. Haunted by men asking if I could fit an industrial ceiling fan between my legs. It only got worse on the Internet; home wasn’t home with lingering voices penetrating the screen. Groped and hair pulled out so harshly my scalp was almost bleeding one day I finally seeked help.

I went to a counsellor because for three years I had internalised voices. As I child I grew up learning that I was only punished if I did something bad. So I figured I must be in the wrong, I must have caused this. This must be a reflection of how I deserve to be treated. For two years until very recently I have allowed men and people I have called ‘friends’ to treat me like shit. Because even after changing schools, even after trying to face my demons head on I still believed the voices. The word slut defined the course of my adolescence and I’m writing this because, I didn’t deserve how I was treated. At all. No one does, I have been hospitalised for my illnesses, I have seen my life in pieces and I have motherfucking picked that shit up and glued in together. There are still cracks but I am standing. I want everyone to know, sexual harassment literally leaves deep wounds, and affects the entirety of peoples perceptions. Dear fifteen-year-old self speak up sooner.

On the day I left that high school good people wrote a card, to tell me, how much I actually mattered to them. I cried because you actually believed it was me against the world. It wasn’t. It never will be.

Dear fifteen year old me, you just got accepted into university and you’ve made it. You are not the echoed whispers in hallways you are not defined by the moment you dropped your love of life because you found it again.

Dear fifteen year old me you are not a victim you are a survivor and you now have restored love in your family and you have a boyfriend who cherishes you unconditionally, you owe him nothing. He loves you unselfishly. Your best friend isn’t going anywhere she will drink tea with you and show you how to survive.

I have a past, however my past is not my future. If this article helps one person. I’m over the moon, write love letters to yourself. You have enough enemies be your own best friend.

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