Drawing by Stefan Zsaitsits
Send me your stories for Janna. Many of you have already shared your stories of sexual abuse privately with me, via email and messages and letters. I'm going to use some of them, anonymously and perhaps changed to fit the book, perhaps intact as you told them to me, unless you specifically asked me not to share them with anyone. I need more, however. I'm writing the last few chapters, and there is a courtroom scene where Janna publicly tells stories of other women who have endured the same pain that she has endured. I want these stories to be real, it's one of the reasons I'm writing this book. I have heard so many of them from those of you who don't dare to share them publicly, and it's because of this silence that so many of us are still unaware of the horrors that are happening right under our noses. I want to expose it, to make people aware, and so I'm talking for those who can't. I respect your privacy and, therefore, I always turn your stories into fiction where nobody can guess your identities. Moreover, I mix up certain facts that might be too specific and might make someone guess who's behind those stories, but these stories need to be heard and they will be.
So please. Send me your pain. Send me the pain you have told NO ONE before. I will make it heard. I will make it known. And I will keep making it heard until the day I die. Now, by sending me your stories and by reading this, you agree that I may do as I please with your stories and I owe you nothing. This is to protect my ass in case you change your mind later and decide to sue me for some reason. Mostly that reason is fear, of course. It's always fear. FUCK FEAR. We need to allow each other to make art from our darkest voids, to get happy. So please allow me to make art from something you think has to be buried and forgotten. It can't. It rules your life. To get rid of it you need to expose it. I don't have money for lawyers to type up a string of long and boring legalese here, nor do I care for it, for hiding behind the law. I trust you. I ask you to trust me. I share my stories publicly and you may do as you please with them. All my writing is under a Creative Commons license. Now I ask you to share your stories with me the same way.
You'll never know which stories I will pick (I might not pick any at all). You'll never know which facts I will change. You may share them here in the comments, if you want them to be public and if you want others to read them, or send me an email, or a letter. Anything you want. Also, remember, it's dangerous to spill your guts to a writer. ANYTHING YOU SAY MIGHT END UP IN A BOOK.
Okay, I've warned you as much as I could. But honestly, I just want your stories to be heard, my darling girls, my darling women, and any of you who identify as females and who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a man or many men. Because this is specific to Janna, I'm not asking for stories of abuse within the same gender. For now. I might write something about it in later books.
I love you. I have suffered as you have suffered. There is no measure as to how much, more than you or less than you, there is no way to measure our pain. What seems nothing to you may be huge to someone else, and what seems huge to you may be nothing to another. It doesn't matter. This pain shouldn't have been there in the first place. And the more we write about, the more we fight it, the more we help those who come after us, our children, to be free of this horror.
And now I wait. Thank you. Onward.