Menemukan Harapan dan Suara (Know My Name — Chanel Miller, Book Review)

You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.

Unggahan tersebut menyentuh dan menggerakan hati banyak orang. Berbondong-bondong mereka mengirimkan pesan penyemangat dan hadiah untuk Emily yang tidak mereka ketahui nama aslinya — sebab mereka merasa tulisan Emily telah membuat mereka sadar bahwa mereka tidak sendirian, memberikan harapan dan kekuatan bagi para penyintas kekerasan seksual. Menyatukan mereka dalam satu kekuatan besar yang bukannya menyederhanakan mmereka menjadi “korban kekerasan seksual” melainkan membuat mereka mengakui bahwa masing-masing dari mereka kuat dan pantas berada di dunia ini. Seorang remaja enam belas tahun, mengirim pesan kepada Emily bahwa tulisannya yang membuatnya dapat bangkit di pagi hari setelah 2 tahun merasa tidak ada harapan dan tidak dapat bangkit.

“Victims exist in a society that tells us our purpose is to be an inspiring story. But sometimes the best we can do is tell you we’re still here, and that should be enough. Denying darkness does not bring anyone closer to the light. When you hear a story about rape, all the graphic and unsettling details, resist the instinct to turn away; instead loo closer, because beneath the gore and the police reports is a whole, beautiful person, looking for ways to be in the world again.”

“In victim realm, we speak anonymity like a golden shield. To have maintained it for four years was a miracle. But while we discussed the protection it afforded, no one discussed the cost. Never to speak aloud who you are, what you’re thinking, what’s important to you. I was lonely. I longed to know what it was like not to have spend all my energy concealing the most heated parts of me. I kept coming back to a line from one of Lao Tzu’s poems: He who stands on tiptoe, doesn’t stand firm. I could not spend my life tiptoeing.”

Chanel bercerita dengan detail bagaimana rasanya tidak tahu apa-apa. Ketika terbangun, ia langsung disodori fakta bahwa ia kemungkinan telah diperkosa. Ketika ke toilet dan hendak buang air kecil, ia baru sadar bahwa ia tidak mengenakan celana dalam. Ketika dibersihkan dan diobati tubuhnya oleh perawat, ia baru sadar bahwa tubuhnya penuh abrasi, luka, kotoran, dan serpihan tanaman.

Melalui buku ini juga, kita bisa ikut merasakan bagaimana sulitnya kembali berusaha menjalani kehidupan setelah mengalami pelecehan seksual. Bagaimana sulitnya berkonsentrasi pada kerjaan, sulitnya harus memberitahu orang-orang penting di hidupnya bahwa ialah perempuan korban pemerkosaan yang sedang dibicarakan di berita.

Dan tentunya, kita ikut menjalani proses peradilan yang sangat amat panjang dan melelahkan. Kita dibuat ikut frustrasi dan merasa tidak berdaya menghadapi suatu sistem yang belum membuat gugatan pelecehan seksual mudah.

Banyak sekali poin-poin penting yang bisa diambil dari buku ini. Namun, di akhir bukunya, Chanel menegaskan bahwa yang ingin ia sampaikan bahwa masih banyak hal baik di dunia ini yang pantas kita perjuangkan. Pada malam nahasnya, Chanel diselamatkan oleh dua orang pesepeda Swedia yang kebetulan lewat dan melihat Brock di atas tubuh seorang perempuan yang tidak bergerak. Kedua orang itu langsung mengejar Brock, tetapi dengan sebelumnya mengecek keadaan Chanel terlebih dahulu. Dalam dua orang ini, Chanel menemukan harapan dan ingin para pembaca yang mungkin sedang mengalami hal sulit juga percaya bahwa harapan seperti itu ada.

“I can’t promise your journey will be good, I actually guarantee that it won’t. I can’t promise glorious days or shining redemption. I am here to assure the opposite; you will be faced with the hardest days of your life. The agony is incessant, unyielding, but when you get to the point where you feel like everything’s gone, there’s a little twist, a flame, a small shift. It is subtle, it comes when you least expect it. Wait for it. This is the rule of the universe, this is the one thing in life I know to be true. No matter how awful and long your journey, I can promise you the turn. One day it will lift.”

Terakhir, saya akan mengakhiri tulisan ini dengan beberapa kutipan yang saya suka dari buku ini (yang sebenarnya banyak sekali, sayang tidak mungkin dimasukkan semuanya).

“In rape cases it’s strange to me when people say, Well why didn’t you fight him? If you woke up to a robber in your home, saw him taking your stuff, people wouldn’t ask, Well why didn’t you fight him? Why didn’t you tell him no? He’s already violating an unspoken rule, why would he suddenly decide to adhere to reason? What would give you reason to think he’d stop if you told him to? And in this case, with my being unconscious, why were there still so many questions?”

“I encourage you to sit in that garden, but when you do, close your eyes and I’ll tell you about the real garden, the sacred place. Ninety feet away from where you sit there is a spot, where Brock’s knees hit the dirt, where the Swedes tackled him to the ground, yelling ‘What the fuck are you doing? Do you think this is okay?’. Put their words on a plaque. Mark that spot, because in my mind I’ve erected a monument. The place to be remembered is not where I was assaulted, but where he fell, where I was saved, where two men declared stop, no more, not here, not now, not ever.”

“He was not forced to acknowledge the facts of his present. He was talked about in terms of his lost potential, what he would never be, rather than what he is. They spoke as if his future was patiently waiting for him to step into it. Most of us understand that your future is not promised to you. It is constructed day by day, through the choices you make. Your future is earned, little by little, through hard work and action. If you don’t act accordingly, that dream dissolves.

If punishment is based on potential, privileged people will be given lighter sentences. Brock was shielded inside projections of what people like him grow up to become, or are supposed to become…The judge argued that he’d already lost so much, given up so many opportunities, What happens to those who start off with little to lose? Instead of a…Stanford athlete, let’s imagine a Hispanic nineteen-year-old working in the fraternity kitchen commits the same crime. Does this story end differently? Does the Washington Post call him a surgeon?

“I survived because I remained soft, because I listened, because I wrote. Because I huddled close to my truth, protected it like a tiny flame in a terrible storm. Hold up your head when the tears come, when you are mocked, insulted, questioned, threatened, when they tell you you are nothing, when your body is reduced to openings. The journey will be longer than you imagined, trauma will find you again and again. Do not become the ones who hurt you. Stay tender with your power. Never fight to injure, fight to uplift. Fight because you know that in this life, you deserve safety, joy, and freedom. Fight because it is your life. Not anyone else’s. I did it, I am here. Looking back, all the ones who doubted or hurt or nearly conquered me faded away, and I am the only one standing. So now, the time has come. I dust myself off, and go on.”



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