an open letter.

An open letter to America (or anyone that wants to read it),

My life changed last night. Not in a big, drastic, "I got engaged!" kind of way (because I most definitely did not). But it changed. And not for the better.

I woke up embarrassed today. Embarrassed to be an American. That has never, ever, happened before. And I used to live in France. I also woke up embarrassed to be a woman.  

Here’s why.

 I am a survivor of sexual assault. Daily. Dudes, I know this is hard to comprehend, but bear with me. I cannot get through a day in New York City, or really anywhere for that matter, without experiencing it. It's not always the "grab em by the pussy" kind of sexual assault (which, to be fair, happens a lot), but it's real.  It comes in the form of: grabbing my ass on the subway, getting cat called, getting flashed (yep, it’s real), getting verbally violated, and so on and so forth. We just elected a president that thinks this is ok. That it's just "locker room talk". I can assure you, it's not.

 I am a survivor of rape. No, I did not report it. Yes, I still struggle with what happened. I did not report it because I thought at the time that it was my fault. It wasn't. I didn't report it because I was conditioned to believe that that it was something that could have been prevented. It wasn't. I did not report it because I thought my friends and family would hate me, think less of me. They don't, and they won't. But America, you do. You just made it ok for kids like Brock Turner to get away with it. And you made it ok for women to be terrified to speak up and say something when it happens. You elected a president that has been accused of the very thing that makes me incapable of having a normal life.

 I suffer from severe depression and anxiety. No, this is not something I bring on myself. No, this is not something I can control. And yes, it is debilitating. It took me a while to come to terms with it, but it's real. Until today, I've been confident in the fact that I am able to get quality healthcare, therapy, medications. Now, I don't know.  I don't know what will happen to my heathcare, to the affordability of what I need to live my life, but thinking about it terrifies me.  According to Donald Trump, I’m a “sicko”.  No wonder why more people don’t speak up about mental illness, try to get help.  This rhetoric, especially from someone that is supposed to be leading the free world, is heartbreaking.

 I am a woman.  NO ONE gets to have a say over by body besides me.  NO ONE tells me what I can and can’t do.  NO ONE tells me my place is in the home.  NO ONE tells me my worth based on my looks.  NO ONE treats me like a second-class citizen. Until today.  

 America, we should have done better.  We could have done better. I fear for myself now.  I fear for my family.  I fear for my black friends, latino friends, gay friends, muslim friends.  I fear for my future children, should I have them.  I fear for our very being.  I fear because the rhetoric that has been put out into the world is not going away.  I fear because we elected a president that is supported by the KKK.  I fear because I don’t believe in walls.  I fear because the blatant misogyny, racism, terrifying nationalism that, I know, has always been there, is now leading our country.

 I could continue, but I won’t.  I’m too distraught.  For those of you know that know me, you know I’ve traveled a lot. I’ve been around. I’ve seen some things. This, what happened last night, shakes me to my very core. Some of you may disagree with me, some of you likely voted for Trump.  All I can do is tell you my story, my side, my feelings, my fears.  Do with it what you will.

 America, I love you, but you’re bringing me down.