Letter to Another Survivor (essay)

Prose

On October 6, 2018, I wrote a thank-you email to Christine Blasey Ford for her congressional testimony. I shared intimate, vulnerable details of my life because I thought she could understand as another survivor. I share it with you all in the hopes that you can have greater empathy for us as survivors and victims.

Dear Professor Blasey Ford,

As a concerned American and fellow survivor of sexual violence, I followed Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process through the news with a good deal of interest. I thought your testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee was brave and inspiring. From the bottom of my heart, I wanted to thank you. Even though he was ultimately confirmed, your efforts meant the world to me and to survivors across the country.

His confirmation to the Supreme Court is particularly painful for me, given that I attended law school in pursuit of my belief in government institutions to create and maintain justice. Perhaps I was too naive. Perhaps not. But I know that the Senate did not give you justice with their vote today. The FBI did not do you justice with its limited and cursory investigation. And the White House did not seek justice for you with its partisan trickery and manipulations.

Disappointment is not new for me. Yet I continue to weep when such news reaches me. My father sexually abused me throughout my childhood, starting from when I was just two or three years old. When I attempted suicide during my second year of law school and sought help from Harvard (we were entitled to 10 free mental health sessions per year as students), I was told that since I was off-campus for an externship program (for which I was receiving school credit), they would not provide any resources to me. 

On my own, I exerted great efforts to transform my life and to treat myself with care and kindness, including changing my inner dialogue with myself (no tolerance for diminishing self-talk, reasoning through my beliefs, delving deeper into philosophy to structure a more positive worldview) and developing healthy habits (curbing alcohol consumption, limiting processed food intake, incorporating exercise, using stretching/mindfulness/essential oils to reduce stress, embracing arts/crafts, picking up the violin again). During this time, my dissociation was extremely difficult to manage, and I endured periods of numbness when I felt incapable of connecting to any emotion. For the first time in my life, I felt genuinely concerned that I could lose touch entirely with reality, and had nightmares reflecting that anxiety. During my third year of law school, I went into the health center to be assessed for ADHD. I got a neuropsych test that confirmed my suspicion of inattentive-type ADHD, but not before the prescriber, Dr. David Abramson, attempted to block me from getting help. 

During my last semester, I started dating Dr. Jon Einarsson (ob/gyn surgeon at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, professor at Harvard Medical School). He came to visit me December 2-3, 2017, when he transmitted chlamydia and garderella vaginalis to me. After examining our text communications and writing down all of our experiences together, I determined that he is a psychopath, and that the STI transmissions were premeditated, deliberate, and malicious.

In the aftermath of that sexual battery, I have been diagnosed with PTSD and fibromyalgia. I had to take a leave from work– a pastime that was a source of great fulfillment in my life. All of this to say that I know what it feels like to be abandoned; to appeal to power only to have your cries for help fall on deaf ears. I just want you to know that you are not alone, that you’ve never been alone. I and countless others stand with you.

Wishing you strength and love,

Ally

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