I’m using such a negative term to refer to you because that is what you are. Bullies. “People who use strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.” People who use words or actions that are meant to hurt others. People whose actions and words have hurt me time and time again.
This is not a letter to garner pity, nor is it a letter to insult you in anyway. This is a hope that, if you do read this, you might understand how your actions made me feel. I recognize that people have tried to convince you many times that the actions you do at times may hurt others, but you seem to not understand. Even if I can’t convince you, maybe you’ll hurt that I have felt for so long.
You who I had once looked upon with enthusiasm, I feel only hurt and emptiness when I see you. You have claimed that I am out to get you. I am not out to get you. I included you in membership, even when others had told me not to because I saw a spark, and I saw potential in you. You were kind, you were enthusiastic, and you showed a certain gung-ho about something I had just started up that I didn’t see in anyone else. I thought you were a great addition. I thought you had good ideas to offer. And you did. I just didn’t realize that by including you on my team, I was including in utter toxicity.
Many times last semester, you criticized my leadership. That is fine. Criticism is always welcome, for it is something that is meant to help improve one’s mistakes and short-comings. There’s a difference between criticizing and critiquing, but that’s semantics. I read the messages and faltered. I brushed them off and tried not to think about them. Maybe this is the kind of person you are. As time went on, however, I realized that there was a certain toxicity and darkness tied to your words that not only hurt me, but hurt the ones who I loved. When we had our big disagreement and I had to talk to you face to face, I had no energy for the rest of the weekend. After that, I couldn’t even look at you in the eyes anymore. The smiles you gave me, meant nothing more than a mask, and I don’t think putting on the mask that I’m happy with what you did is worth the effort.
Do not think me as a weak person. I am not a weak person. I have been through all kinds of abuse, so do not call me weak. I have been thrown every single insult in the dictionary in both English and Javanese by my mother. I have been tied with belts, slapped with shoes, and have had water thrown at my face just for the sake of humiliation. I have been called “stupid” when I made mistakes, “worthless” when I failed to exceed expectations, a “bitch” when I did something wrong as a six year old, and “dog” by the ones who were supposed to nourish me and care for me. I have felt the utter brokenness as I cut my wrists with a cheese grater (a knife wasn’t ready at hand, fortunately), all the while hearing about how I should have worked harder and how I wasn’t good enough and why I couldn’t be like my friends and how it was utterly embarrassing that I had gotten into just Notre Dame. And I’m still here. So do not call me weak. Because you don’t know me. Because I am still here.
What you did was absolutely unacceptable. You may feel offended at the utter “injustice” of not getting what you thought was “fair” and what you wanted, but rules were established in the beginning, and you did not follow them. You may feel that it was unjust. However, the words that you wrote out that were sent out to everyone in our club, insulting me, making me look bad in order for you to look good was not necessary. You took it even a step further and publically humiliated me on social media, with posts and comments intended to bring me down on your entire platform, treating me like a joke, when I did not do the same to you. This action was immature and hurtful. Other members have labelled this as harassment, and I agree. You may not know this but I have depression and anxiety. The words that you said made me feel like scum. The actions you did made me feel like nothing. The antics you have done have just reinforced things that I already think about myself, quite frequently (though I’m trying to get better, I promise). I barely slept, I barely ate, and I barely worked. While I have dealt with this toxicity with my own mother before, every new insult or hateful comment is like another fresh wound. It’s times when I’m most hurt that I wish I had no emotions and could feel nothing. Maybe then your words then wouldn’t hurt so much. Alas I cannot, for I am human. Just like you.
And during this time, it was no longer I who was being harassed, but you brought in my loved ones and friends into the mix and started to harass them. You have also made them break down and wipe their energy out. Do you want me to feel hatred towards you? I feel none. Only hurt. Do you understand? I hope one day you do.
And you, the other, who is older and wiser. Why do you encourage these antics when you have shown care and concern for others in the work that you do, in the things that you post, in your sensitivity towards certain topics? I do not understand. Are you not supposed to discourage pettiness and immaturity? Through your outright support of the activities that have taken place, even to the point of harassing my friends on social media, you have shown a more real side of yourself. Do you actually support these things? Do you support words and antics that are hurtful to others because you think of it as petty teasing? Through your actions you have shown that you do. But I guess it is only normal when one supports her significant other.
This is a letter of hurt and pain. Maybe it is extremely hard for you to empathize, but I hope this letter gives you a sense of what I’m feeling. Some cannot learn empathy easily. I feel no ill will to you still, only hurt and pain. I’m not sure if this was your goal. I would say this to your face and try to help you understand the hurt, but I know that others have tried and failed. And I’m sorry if I have hurt you in any way for you to go so far and to do the actions that you did.
By the time this letter has published, I will have already reported your actions to higher authorities. Not to get back at you and not to be petty. But I have kept silent for too long, internalizing the hurt and pain I have felt all year, for the sake of “peace and fun” in our club community. That was a mistake. And you have gone too far. What you did was wrong, and you still refuse to accept that. I reported you to my not to get back at you but because I am hurt and because this is wrong. I would try to tell you that you are wrong.
But you will not listen.
Someone who is no longer Silent