An Open Letter to Amouranth

Dear Amouranth, or Kate,

I am not sure how to address you. I thought maybe I should address you as Kate, your real name, the name that bore no heavy history behind it, no internet fandom, a name given to you before back when you were you, when you were untouched by him. I imagined for a panicked moment that he gave you that name, Amouranth, the name behind a multi-million empire, the name that men (and women, and people) grovel over, salivate over, and worship. At the same time, there are those who slander it, abuse it, and degrade it for their own perverted satisfaction, out of jealousy, greed or their own sadness, I don’t know, but they exist.

But then also, there’s that possibility that this is the name you made for yourself. The name you chose while you were innocently cosplaying for children, when you were dancing and singing songs to make kids happy on their birthdays, on celebrations. A name that you chose. A powerful one. So in the end, if there’s that inkling of a possibility that you chose this name back in the days when you were truly yourself, when you were happy, when millions of people didn’t watch every move you were making, I decided to take that chance, and call you Amouranth.

I saw you cry several days ago. My son was playing on the mat, a few minutes before he had to go to bed, and I clicked on a Reddit post when I saw a still picture of you with red eyes, looking so exhausted, so worn out, mid-sob, your trauma reduced to a thumbnail for consumption. And I consumed your story. I watched you cower as he screamed at you, watched your fear unfold on your face in real-time, and like many other women who saw these clips of you who went through toxic relationships, domestic abuse, and trauma, I felt something inside me curl up and die.

That thing that exists in all victims, that feeling of everlasting dread. Tiny, at first, then it crawls outside of us, sinks into our skin, and becomes us, mutates us, changes us. It’s there, every day, just waiting. Changing form. Sometimes it’s sadness. Sometimes, fear. But mostly, for me, it’s anger. And when it’s strong and vicious like this, and I lash out, it startles me, every time, how close fear is to rage, and how anger and winning are almost indistinguishable from each other when executed.

We saw ourselves in you, Amouranth, when you broke down. For once, your armour disintegrated, and we stopped seeing the goddess that single-handedly built an empire out of her body, the woman that used sexuality to her advantage. The power that came out of you was relentless, incredible, and shocking. As a former sex worker, I thought you represented what we all convinced ourselves at night. That this sexuality men bestowed upon us that reduced us into objects, into consumables, can be manipulated. We can make it ours. We can take what was supposed to make us frail and dominatable and use it to make others submit.

And when the veil dropped, and we saw who the wizard was behind it all, we saw the devil. The man that controlled us, that took away our voice. He didn’t force us to do the things that he wanted. He couldn’t force what he already ingrained in us. His influence over the years seeped so slowly, drip by drip, day by day, the million snide remarks, the million jabs, the million tiny little cuts that he rained upon us daily, the weight and toll of darkness and abuse that existed for seven years, made what and who we were before him, disappear.

Who were we before him? We don’t remember anymore. He told us we were dumb, he told us we were ugly, that once we become what he tells us to be, we will no longer be these things, that the pain will stop. So every day, we killed ourselves a little bit. Every day, we took that knife and carved ourselves painfully to his whim, took out the toxins he hated, and disfigured ourselves until we were no longer recognizable, not even to us.

Your animals remind you of who you are. I know it’s hard to recognize what’s still you, but take what made you fight and treasure it, don’t ever let it go. That’s the Kate inside of you, still screaming. And when you feel like you’re losing, when it’s happening again (because it will), when the darkness of his power and control becomes too tight that you can no longer breathe, think of your animals. Look back at the clips and videos people uploaded and watch yourself struggle, watch yourself cry. Listen to Kate. Listen to what she wants. She fought once. She will fight again.

Until then, we are with you. We are listening. We are victims Amouranth, and survivors. Our existence and loyalty to ourselves are already a victory. You just have to keep fighting.


Domestic Abuse Survivors

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