*Trigger warning for sexual assault and victim-blaming.
What an absurdity it is, to lose one’s voice. To lose faith in the belief that you might have anything at all worth saying, worth hearing. To feel that it would be better to remain silent than to risk being told to shut up.
Yet in honesty, your voice is not something you lost, as though it were something you misplaced absent-mindedly, a set of keys that you realized you’d held in your hand the whole time after all.
It is something another person robbed from you and took by force. A man who used the weight of his body to tell you that what you say means nothing and can be disregarded as easily as a mother’s advice. The congregation with their cold shoulders and a message legitimized by a pulpit and priestly stoles, that woman is borne of silence and delivered by servitude. Acquaintances and strangers whose words mean well but say nothing, and maybe if you’d been a little more careful, you wouldn’t be in this situation, would you? Bystanders, as silent then as you are now.
You do not have to listen to them anymore. You can use your voice to tell others that they don’t have to listen and to tell a better story about who we can be as humans.