Dear Survivor,

Prior to the last two weeks, I had decided that my next article was supposed to be about my first time traveling abroad by myself. It had been a while since I had written about things other than politics or current events and I needed a break as a writer. However, I have not felt so strongly about an issue in a while. Your worth, mental health and overall well-being are too important for me not to speak out.

I can imagine how taxing this week must have been. It must be exhausting to see someone who is credibly accused of sexual assault and misconduct getting a nomination for what is supposed to be the highest court of the land. The United States Supreme Court is supposed to be an emblem of hope and justice, not just for our country but people around the world.

So for the nominee to have several accusations of sexual assault, harassment or misconduct of any nature against him is troubling, to say the least. There is already one justice sitting on the Supreme Court who was credibly accused of sexual harassment and I would hope and pray that the leaders in this country will come to their senses and not confirm a serial assaulter.

There is also an unbelievable smear campaign against Dr. Ford, the brave woman who came forward to tell her story. And every time I read a comment on Facebook, accusing her of being a woman who has some secret agenda or that she’s being paid by congressional Democrats, I think of the hundreds of sexual assaults that occur but go unreported in our country. (And in society in general.) I recently read a statement of a 17-year old girl in South Dakota who had been following the news coverage and shared that her whole class felt that the idea that was being reinforced throughout all of this is that he may still get away with it.

But I don’t want to make this about a supremely unqualified candidate. This letter is for you, my fellow survivor.

I want to take this opportunity to tell you that you are worthy of love, compassion and all of the dreams that you hold close to your heart. I want you to know that coming or not coming forth with your story is entirely your decision. This world isn’t kind to women and it’s especially unkind to women who challenge the patriarchy in any sort of way. So I want to tell you that I see you, I believe you and I stand with you. Sharing your truth requires a strength that I believe we all have but that strength manifests itself in different ways. For some of us, it can mean coming forth with your story, even if it means facing death threats and uprooting your entire life like the case of Dr. Ford. For others, it can mean telling family and friends about what happened, if/when you’re ready. And for a number of us, it can mean wiping away our tears as we come across yet another trigger that takes us back to that dark time but somehow finding the will to keep carrying on.

So once again, I’d like you to know, that I see you, that I believe you and that I stand with you.

You are every bit of worthy of the love and compassion you bestow on others.

Take care of yourself because you are most certainly worth it.

Sending you love, strength, grace and solidarity.

Your friend,