I see you. I hear you. I understand.

Subject: I see you. I hear you. I understand.
From: Tanley Martin Patrick
Date: 9 Dec 2017

Dear Survivors of all forms of abuse,

My heart aches for the pain, none of which was your fault, you have experienced and endured. I wish I could take the agony away. I wish you were never mistreated. I have zero tolerance for what has been inflicted on you.

I understand in those moments you have never felt more alone, terrified, hurt, confused, ashamed, violated, vulnerable, unloveable, less than, worthless, voiceless and powerless.

You are not alone. The shame isn't yours to carry. You are worthy. You are lovable. You are courageous, stronger and more powerful than you believe.

I understand how you feel your experiences have changed your inner self. I understand how you question if you will ever feel emotionally and physically safe.

I see you. I hear you. I understand.

You didn't deserve what happened to you. Nothing you did, justifies being mistreated. It wasn't your fault. You deserve to feel safe physically and emotionally.

I understand your decision to remain silent, or to say it out loud. I understand the burden of keeping a secret carries, and the impact it has on you, and your loved ones. I understand how the fear of telling someone is as frightening as what happened to you. I understand how maddening it is that when you come forward your credibility and character will be scrutinized, you'll potentially be judged, blamed or attacked. I understand how it feels not knowing if the person who is responsible for hurting you will be held responsible and accountable in a system that is terribly broken. I understand this only adds more pain to what already feels like an endurance in torment.

I believe you. I don't judge you. I see you. I hear you. I understand.

You didn't deserve what happened to you. Nothing you did justifies being mistreated.

I am thankful and grateful for those, past and present, who have courageously shared their stories wanting better for themselves and others. At the moment, there are many using their voices and art demonstrating how powerful survivors are. We are stronger together. Thank you!

I understand how without the right support system and healthy skills to work through your pain, you may have developed coping skills that don't address the root problem. I understand how that adds another layer to your anguish. It's simply the wrong skill to solve a problem. I understand how some see the survivors flaws, or poor coping skills, as an opportunity to shift the focus off the abuser's behavior. This is wrong. You are human, deserving of being treated fairly, equally and without malice. Nothing you've done diminishes what happened to you. There is nothing wrong with you. Blame shaming enables the abuser and allows the system to remain broken.

No one has the right to violate you in anyway. Being on the receiving end of someone's abuse has nothing to with you, your clothes, your alcohol/drug content, your past, your character, your education, your economic status, etc, to say otherwise is simply not true, insensitive and irresponsible. It's shifting the blame. It hurts like hell, and it needs to stop. I have zero tolerance for victimizing the survivor again.

There is no discrimination with abuse, or those who mistreat. A dull penny, or a shiny penny, is still a penny.

I see you. I stand with you. I have zero tolerance for the mistreatment of others in ANY FORM.

A system that tolerates mistreatment gives permission and power to those who act with malice. This is unacceptable.

Wherever you are on your journey and healing process, please know that you are not alone. I see you. I hear you. I understand.

Tanley Martin Patrick