Dear Sir,

I see you everywhere I go. In the corner of my eye as I walk to my office building from my stall. In the shadows of the dumpsters as I end my day. I see you lurking in the fruit aisles or at the mailbox as I drive towards home. I see your car as I drive over the bridge and when I pass the airport. Everything replays in my head at night when I lie awake unable to sleep because of the nightmares you’ve caused.

Now I’m unable to be home alone because of the fear you have caused. I awake in the morning when my husband does and leave shortly after him, just in time to see the gates of my community unlock for passerbies. On the weekends I sit with a bat to my side counting the hours, minutes, seconds for my husband’s return. We have contemplated owning a gun I am comfortable to use so I feel protected. Every movement outside my door I am on guard for. You have disrupted my life.

There are other women out there that feel what I feel. Their boogeyman lurks in their shadows. We take every step with great care and detail to ensure our survival. You have hurt us in ways we never imagined. The feelings of fear and guilt so present in our subconscious. These feelings have caused disorder in our world. The women you have hurt try to be strong but we are now seen as paranoids as we flip every page of our life with care documenting every movement trying to find a way to conquer our villain. You haunt us every time we close our eyes.

Mr. Libertine you should know God made women to be strong, a foundation of silent strength and a heart to love all the hatred in the world. You should know with all our complexities we still manage to be sisters, mothers, daughters, wives and best friends despite the angst you’ve caused that is working against us in our insides. Like that agony you have become our bête noire, our foe, our antagonist in our story. But know, sir, you have not conquered us. You have not defeated us. You have made us stronger. You’ve made us warriors. We may not see it now or in the near future but you have. We still, even when everything in us doesn’t want to, get up. We get up despite what you took from us, despite you trying to destroy us. You created warriors because through the pain and suffering, the bad and the ugly, we still stand looking at our faults and pushing past them.

No matter the time it has been since you mucked up our lives, no matter how angry we are, no matter how dark our ride is I want you to know we will heal. We will go on a journey to find ourselves despite the pain you’ve caused, we will grow and succeed in life despite the violation to our person, we will be loved and love again despite the punishment you put us through. There may be days when there is a trigger that brings us back to that awful day but we will stand together against the men like you, we will rise, we will unite. We are not alone despite how you’ve made us feel. We no longer have a secret, we have a story to share to conquer you.

Stronger Than Your Excuse