Thursday I testify.

I will stand before a judge and tell how I was assaulted– thrown to the ground, my pants jerked down by a stranger intent on raping me. My voice will tell what happened describing that unlucky day.

I know my fellow women, my sisters, will be safer because I do.

I also know that many of my violated sisters chose not to testify. A stranger attacked me. Far more women are attacked by someone they know, a family member or supposed friend who harms them. These women must balance their hurt against the value of the community, often receiving no support for her person. She swallows her pain for the group.

I will stand and testify where many sisters did not.

I am lucky–yes, I am privilege–to be in an environment where I can trust the law. My citizenship is unclouded, and my family need not fear scrutiny. My alabaster skin gives me unfair advantage. I called 911 without a second thought. The whole police force, it seemed, came down to the park where I was attacked. I was treated with respect the whole time. I know that is not always the case. After I got home, I paused and called an attorney friend to check if I needed to protect myself somehow. As privileged as I am, I still had memories of stories that didn’t end well. I chose to cooperate. And to my utter amazement, he was caught.

I will stand and testify where many sisters did not feel safe from the police.

An ignorant man said to me “Oh, he wasn’t successful. That’s why you can talk about it.” I’d like to think I would testify with greater intensity if the crime were greater. I know that it would be harder to talk about a greater violation in front of strangers. When I worked with the police, one woman told me that many assaulted women do not report the crime for months after. Some women, when they do report it, say that the police are the only ones they can speak to about it. My heart breaks to think how these women felt so isolated, when I was surrounded with love. I told everyone. I was confident in my community to support me.

I will testify, and not be silent, for my many sisters who were so alone in their pain.

I’m not sure what will happen. They caught the guy, and he’s been sitting in jail for most of a year. A private investigator working for his defense left a business card and a note on my front door. It scared me to think of him knowing where I live. Was it an intimidation move? I don’t like it, and it will not silence me. I think of Malala, and how it’s hard to be a woman in this world. I shall not be a victim. I will not be an object. I am a witness to the world around me.

I will testify.