Everyone should read this woman’s open letter to the man who tried to rape her

Everyone should read this woman’s open letter to the man who tried to rape her

Sara Roebuck was attacked and violently sexually assaulted by a man in a night club, three weeks into a six month internship in Paris.

A year after the attack, the man was taken to court, and Roebuck was invited to attend the hearing. Recounting the horrific events prompted her to pen an open letter to her attempted rapist, which has since taken social media by storm.

(The letter, in its entirety, can be read at the end of this article).

Posting it on Facebook had been a challenge, and she had initially been afraid to use such an exposed, social platform to share an intimately painful experience.

She told indy100:

I was shaking and I just said to myself afterwards, ‘oh my goodness what have you done, you've just put the most personal story about yourself online, are you prepared for this?’

I had people from all corners of my life getting in touch, people from my past, people from my high school, old teachers, my friend's parents, friends of friends – [strangers] from America, France, Germany, Sweden, Australia, people from all over the place contacting me to share positive messages, telling me how proud they were of me, about how brave I had been, and that just raised me so high, all of those individuals, I read every single message.

In the letter, she recounts the events of the night – where a man locked her in a room for twenty minutes, took her bag so she was unable to call for help and, repeatedly ignoring her shouts to stop, sexually attacked her.

You said that what you did lasted a few minutes, not that you locked me in a room for twenty minutes whilst you tried to take off my clothes, whilst you launched my body onto a sink, whilst you tried to rape me. You said that you were on top of me on the floor because I dropped my drink and slipped, not because, after I managed to push you out from in between my legs, you twisted my body and pushed me onto the floor, pinning me and holding me down with the weight of yours. You said that whilst you threw me on top of the sink, pulling my legs apart and placing yourself in between them whilst I cried and screamed, thrusting my dress way above my chest and exposing the most intimate and vulnerable part of my being, all you did was touch me 'one or two times' but on realising, seeing, feeling that I was in fact menstruating and had a tampon inside of me, after you had tried multiple times to ram your dirty hands inside of my body, you decided to stop.

Roebuck fought back, and eventually managed to remove the fire extinguisher her attacker had wedged against the door to stop her running away. She got away, and went to the police station to report the crime. What followed was several invasive medical examinations, recounting the event countless times, and court appearances.

I can tell you now, no person would ever willingly put themsevles through [the process of reporting a rape]. It is humiliating, exhausting, terrifying, heartbreaking, and it is just the beginning.

Her recovery has been slow, but she wants everyone to read her letter - to realise that rape is a crime, and it is the fault of the rapist - not the victim.

To anyone reading this, please please read the letter, please know, if you are a woman, your voice is being heard. I am so glad I did this, and I want it to trigger change.

The letter has since been translated into a number of languages, and people are calling it the "Anti-Rape Manifesto" for its clear-cut, uncompromising definition of rape.

I found out [the letter] has been translated into Urdu, and the fact that women in Pakistan, in India, in these enormous countries where their rights really are atrociously denied, where women and girls are forced into marriages, are refused education, are raped and assaulted by the minute, if my words have been translated into their language so they can read it and feel empowered, I am so moved emotionally.

She wants women to read her letter, and feel empowered.

"You are a lioness, you are fearless. You are unstoppable".

Picture: Sara Roebuck

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