I met with Zane’s beautiful (now) ex-wife Saturday... We cried, we hugged, and I heard what she had to say. One thing in particular haunted me...
She said that all of the women he cheated on her with looked like me. This beautiful, blonde bombshell tells me all of those women had brown hair and big brown eyes like me. I can’t say this without tears welling up in my eyes, because people don’t understand that it’s not easy to be me.
I don’t want this target on my forehead anymore. I don’t want them to think I’m easy or vulnerable. I don’t want them to think that they can take what they want without my permission. When I know they only see the superficial Danielle, I am afraid. I am objectified. I am simply a body and a face. I am a target.
What makes it even worse is that I do not have a ring on my finger. I don’t have someone to share my life with. And that makes me all the more vulnerable - a lone prey in the middle of the field.
During my rape kit exam, I was hysterical when I asked my mom, “Why does this always happen to me?” She said, “I don’t know, Honey, but let’s not try to figure that out right now.” When the Red Cross told my sister who was deployed to Kuwait what happened, she called my mom and asked, “Why does this happen to her? Why her?” The pain had compiled from all of the other times I had been sexually assaulted or harassed.
But when you see me, you don’t know of the fire I now have in my soul. You can’t feel the hurt that I have suffered through. You can’t understand that it’s dangerous walking in my shoes. You also can’t see the fight I now have within.
But I’ve since realized why. Why me? There is only one explanation. THE. ABUSER. The perpetrator.
So please hear what I have to say. Please see me as a whole person, rather than just a shell. Know that I am smart, strong, capable and fierce. Know that I have a young super hero I’m raising to walk in my footsteps, whom I would give my life for.
Please know that I am done being objectified. I am done being vulnerable. I am done being a target. I’m done being passive. I’m done letting them win. Now it is my time. I have a lot to say, and this is only the beginning.