It is not often that sexual offenders get caught. Even less often that they are found guilty before a tribunal. And of course there are just a handful of predators that end up with charges that stop them from being successful and acclaimed in their businesses. They can (and they do) carry on with their lives after having perpetrated their crimes. It is usually the case that survivors worry about destroying these men’s careers. But who spares some time to worry about the potential that is wasted when a survivor feels no longer at ease going on with her life?

Fiona’s biggest dream was to be a professional ballet dancer. After being raped she was kept indoors for her own safety and the mere thought of dancing made her sick. Now we will never know if that would have worked out.

Mandy left her teacher training programme after she was assaulted by a classmate.

Ronny was kicked out of her band when she decided to never perform for fear of being attacked at a gig.

Anna dropped out from university because she was being harassed by a lecturer.

Winnie quit her job in her law firm.

Bianca is afraid of driving and cars in general after being attacked inside her car.

Sam decided never to have children because she feels the world is “too evil”.

Grace’s rapist got her pregnant and she hung herself. Meanwhile, Lynda was pressured into giving birth and has neglected the rapist’s child and lived on drugs ever since.

Kay ran away from her abuser leaving her home and everything behind. Now she sleeps rough and lives on the streets.

Tammy fought for her life and lost an arm as a result.

Brandy, Chloe, Penny, and Ruth and so many more of us have stopped doing what we loved. Who cares how talented we were? Who cares how many brilliant careers were crushed? Who cares how much we have struggled just to be able to sleep at night?

I care. And because I care I tell you: It is not the survivors fault. We are not the ones who should stop pursuing our dreams and lives. It is the perpetrators who MUST STOP HURTING US and STOP KILLING US.

#Issue11 #DianaBarbara #CreativeWriting

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