My soft white blanket

Dear twelve-year-old Ana,

I see the bad things happening to you, and I see you’re not telling anyone about them. I see you are all alone. I want to help you.

I see you at V’s doorstep. I wish I could stop you. I’ld invite you to my home instead, where we can chat or talk about what’s going on. I would tell you that befriending V is probably not a very good idea; first because it’s better to have friends your own age, second because a friendship between man and woman often turns sexual and you’re too young for that, third because V can be violent and you are unable to protect yourself, and fourth because the ties between V and your family are too delicate and complicated for you to understand.

I see you lying on that bed. You remain very still when V gets up and walks away. I wish I could hold you. I would wrap a soft white blanket around you and hold you against my chest. I would gently rock you, hum a song for you, and over the blanket I would stroke your back. I would hold you until you are warm again. If you panicked, I would hold you and rock you until you calmed down. I would tell you again and again that it’s over now, that I love you, and that I’m here to protect you.

Not much later, I see you cycle home. I would wish for you to come to my place instead, where you wouldn’t be alone. You wouldn’t have to pretend everything is alright. You could shower because no-one would think ‘how strange’. I would ask if you were in pain and I would keep an eye on you. And if you wanted to hit and kick and shout at me, you could; I can take it.

And then I would explain to you what had happened: Dearest Ana, this should never have happened. Sex is for adults; for children it’s harmful. Adults know that. Children don’t always know that, so it’s OK that you didn’t know. You may have thought you were old enough. That’s OK, you’re not to blame. Your body is beautiful and it’s all yours. No-one can touch it without your permission.

Come here with me, little one. Let me hold you. You’re safe with me.

twenty-nine-year-old Ana

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