****Warning: this piece could evoke some overwhelming emotions***

When does a victim become anything other than a victim?
You label me this way, and wonder why that’s all I ever am
Powerlessness is the mark of the victim
And yet
We raise awareness of a crime as though this is prevention
As though I could have stopped
what happened
If only I had been richer, smarter, wore something different…

When does a victim become a survivor?
Why can’t I be more than these labels?
What control do I have in this?

I did not choose to live this
Hell I did not even choose to live

If I am powerless, I cannot change it
And if I have power and choice
How is it that my voice was silenced?

Even now, why do I have to scream so loud for you just to notice…

Can I just wear this outside my body?
Like a massive scar in healing
That makes you understand that I have seen the insides of hell
But doesn’t make me swallow it
Like some kind of identity
Forced to wear it forever
Unable to choose something else
Much like I was unable to choose what happened

Who I am
Is not the same as what I have been through
I am a whole person
put that label