An Open Letter to my Allies in Life

by Abigail Davis

You—yes you—you know who you are. I’m writing for you today. You’ve been fighting my battles for all these years, and I haven’t even told you my story. 

 

When I was 15, I was raped in the woods. 

 

I always include that part—in the woods—like it needs to be told, like the sticks and the stones that dug into my back make the whole situation seem real. See, I didn’t make it up, it happened in the woods! I say (to mostly myself). 

 

Let me start over—

 

When I was 15, I was raped. 

 

I always include that part—when I was 15—like it needs to be told, like my age was a factor of fate. I was just a sophomore in high school, but I’m over it now! 

 

Let me start over—

 

I was raped. 

 

I always include that part—I was raped—like it needs to be told, like the rape in itself is excuse. Yes, I had sex and later got pregnant, but first, sex was stolen from me.

 

Let me start over—

 

You did. 

 

You, all of you—You, the one I don’t know—You let me start over. 

 

You let me start over when I asked for it, and more, you didn’t ask why. 

 

You let me start over when I asked for it. You didn’t make me explain. Instead, you spoke for me—in the way that you do—you took my pain, carried it—in the way that you do, so like you. I’m lucky to have someone like you who will march down Pier Street to Main, carrying me and my pain all the way down Pier Street, down Main. 

 

You might think you haven’t done much, but I’m here to tell you you’re wrong. Every time you open your mouth, every time you chant your song—you fight for me. You don’t ask permission. I just seek me like I’m on a mission, but you? You gave me time. 

 

Would my pregnancy have turned into a kid? I do not know, but if it did, the kid would be the same age that I was when I first thought, my time is over. I was fifteen, lining up at the State track meet, thinking the real race had already been run. Then you came along and told me it had only begun. I was pregnant with the idea of the end, but you reminded me my life still mattered. 

 

Fifteen. It’s been fifteen years since I had an abortion. Let me tell you what I’ve done with my time. You gave me the time to get my degree—the time to get to know me. I’ve gained financial security. I’ve built a career. I’ve fallen in love. No, you’re not asking, but it’s important you know. 

 

Because I know it’s not easy—the speaking up; I know it’s not easy—the marches downtown; I know it’s not easy—the confrontation you have with another—all because I chose, at fifteen, not to be a mother. I know it’s not easy for you. 

 

Pause for a second and think about this: I’m talking to you. If you think this open letter was meant for someone better—someone with better ideas—someone with a better way to profess them—someone who donates more time and more money and just does overall more—You’re wrong. This letter was written for you


The words that we say are not perfect. The ways that we say them aren’t either. We’re not always right. We’re not always polished. And, maybe what’s worse, we’re not always heard. But as for this battle for life—the battle for my life, for me—I’d like to declare that we’ve won. My name’s on the byline—and let me tell you—my story has only begun.

About the Author

Abigail has a M.A. in English from Loyola Marymount University. She's currently working on a lyrical nonfiction book that explores topics of motherhood and cyclical trauma. You can find more of her writing at www.abigaildavis.work