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ethereal.otherworldly

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dreaming of goddesses, sunflowers and italian sunshine.

Message to Readers

trigger warning: sexual assault, trauma

i talk abt censorship and my experience (sfow, wtw)

November 12, 2018

FREE WRITING

14
hey buds. so the censorship stuff has grown a lot since sfow published that piece. i've seen countless posts about how the system is messed up and we need to change it - but i'm sure we can all get behind that. so i think i'm going to talk a little bit about my personal experience with censorship.

trigger warning: sexual assault, ptsd

so fun fact that you'll rarely see me mention: i'm thirteen years old, turning fourteen in a month. the boy involved in this story is seventeen. when this story happened, i had just turned thirteen.

this summer, my family traveled to chile. it's common: my parents immigrated here in 2002 (before i was born), and we regularly visit our family in chile. my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc. i loved them all, and before this happened i had genuinely perfect views of them all.

this summer wasn't different. i had some wonderful weeks in santiago with my close family, and one weekend, we headed down to talca, a city where some of my first cousins (all boys) on my dad's side live. one of these is named luke*. he's seventeen years old, and was my favorite cousin of them all. i have endless memories of him from previous years - playing on the xbox, jumping in the pool, running through town with the dog. 

we arrived and it was wonderful. the same as it'd been every year - xbox, trampoline, wrestling and buying bags full of chocolate from the corner store. i was so excited. i came out to them all, and they were endlessly happy for me. i felt like i had a bunch of brothers, and they trusted me and loved me and protected me.

on the last day of the trip, i was in luke's* room playing gta with him. we were chatting, checking our phones, talking about how much we'd miss hanging out - that kind of thing. his little brother, and the youngest of the family, isaac* was annoying us, telling dumb jokes and poking us. after a few minutes of this, i kicked him out of the room and locked the door so he couldn't come back in. i'm sure every one of you can fill in what happened next.

i wondered later if i should have screamed. i told him no and stop, but yet i didn't fight him physically, scream for help. i blamed myself. 

when it ended, i went to shower and scrubbed my body until it bled so that i wouldn't feel his skin on me. i cried and cried and cried and scrubbed and scrubbed until the water ran red. i got out and threw up in the bathroom until my mom was yelling "elisa, we have to go. elisa!"

she, the angel that she is, realized what had happened an hour later, without one word or touch from me. when she realized she held me for hours and whispered fairy tales to me, and even though we're both atheists i could hear her praying.

the moment we arrived in santiago i sat down in my room and opened wtw and typed out three poems in less than fifteen minutes and these three poems are to this day some of the poems i'm most proud of in all of my life. i published them because i needed someone to hear me, i needed someone to tell me i was real again.

within an hour i received an outpouring of support. within a day they were taken down.

they were not explicit, you see. they were not r rated or remotely explicit - they were tagged with trigger warnings and everything. they were my body pouring out my pain. i sent them the following email when they took it down:

Hello!
Thank you for notifying me. However, I was wondering why exactly these pieces were taken down? In the pieces, I clearly state that the event was reported to the proper authorities - the pieces were not explicit in any way, and they included trigger warnings in the beginning and author's note. The pieces were simply meant to serve a therapeutic purpose, and the support I received was indescribable.
Again, thank you for notifying me!


they never replied.

god, don't they understand that this censorship has actual effects? that maybe, somewhere else in the world there is a thirteen-year-old girl who is broken and needs to write to make herself whole again. maybe the protection of people who are naive enough to read past multiple trigger warnings isn't worth the pain caused by taking down a piece like this.

but i guess i'm just one overdramatic little girl, right?
*all names in this story are changed.

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  • November 12, 2018 - 8:53pm (Now Viewing)

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5 Comments
  • ProcrastinatingWriter

    Hey, I'm rlly sorry u have had to go through this, and I personally, being 11 have come close to being with a boy and I know what it feels like when they're pushy, but I've never been sexually touched or harassed before. I know that that can be a life changing experience and I hope that you are well.
    -Frances


    7 months ago
  • she's-got-a-story

    1. wait wait wait. you're 13? elisa what? why didn't anyone tell me i'm the weird older sister?
    2. you're 13. this puts everything into perspective oh my god.
    3. i have so much intense respect for you. i always have. but this story is heartbreaking. and even if it gets taken down know that at least 4 people have read it and we heard you and we love you.
    4. sending support and love from somewhere kinda close where the rain has stopped. isn't it beautiful that the rain has stopped?
    5. your experiences combined with your personality have made you stunningly mature. use that- like you already do- to write things that matter. you're our resident activist and you can take that other places too. tell your story for your own sake and people will read it, i swear.


    7 months ago
  • AminahMcBina

    I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I, personally, never like writing about the things that happen to me, because I was always told 'no one cares.' But when I joined WtW, that all changed. The people here are so supportive, and yet the site itself-not so much, I wish I had your courage and confidence, but I don't- but should I, if still I'm being blocked from expressing myself fully, what's the point?

    Thank you so much for writing this piece. This situation needs to be addressed! Always write free,

    Mina


    7 months ago
  • stripedfly

    I'm so sorry... I've come close to being molested, thought it never happened, thank God. I'm praying for you. I would republish them if I was you.


    7 months ago
  • paperbird

    I remember reading those poems. They talked against rape and portrayed their message powerfully; they shouldn't be the type of content that gets taken down, and it was awful that WtW did. The censorship system desperately needs to be revisited.
    Side note: You're thirteen?! I'm thirteen, but I always figured you were seventeen or something. You write so well and so maturely.


    7 months ago