This is quite the abusive tirade, Tony ن‎, and I respectfully urge you to take this into consideration and proceed with necessary edits.

While I am not in the business of pleasing people because that isn’t journalism’s remit and I abide by a strict code of conduct (aka ethics), I must insist on mutually respectful exchanges if we’re to have a debate at all.

While tongue-in-cheek comments and sarcasm will always be welcome and I wholeheartedly embrace them myself, slander and libel aren’t part of my vocabulary. In short, no, you don’t get to insult me and shame me publicly and get away with it.

That said, I felt it was important to respond to you in the name of radical honesty and transparency as those are the principles that guide my work and other readers who are privy to this exchange may have questions.

1/ your words are a gross misrepresentation of my work. Unlike many people typing out words on this here platform and recycling popular opinion for clicks and bucks, I don’t write clickbait. I do however know how to write a headline because this is literally my job. I’ve been a journalist for 14 years and am proficient in pretty much every aspect of the editorial process, from writing, to subbing via copy-editing and research etc… And if you doubt me, look at my claps and my following, Tony. Both remain modest. With every piece, I seek to reach just the one person so they might feel less alone. And when I do, my job is done. When a piece gathers momentum, it’s both gratifying and heartbreaking as it means many of us are suffering in silence.

2/ I believe one of my longtime readers, Joao Nascimento, tried to tell you I was still quite fragile and finding my way back into this world of ours. This was a friendly and caring hint to proceed with care and handle the matter of your anger at my work with a modicum of sensitivity. While I would never have sought to defend my work this way, I’m grateful this commenter did as it showed empathy. Which your ad hominem attacks on me lack, Tony. I can’t help but be surprised as I thought Catholicism — which you defend — was a tolerant religion intent on relieving human suffering. (FWIW my mother-in-law is a very devout Catholic woman who is the human embodiment of those values. An ex military head nurse, she is in her 80s and caring for a very elderly retired USAF colonel who was an army chaplain, the kind of person who willingly shipped out to Vietnam to help.)

3/ You made one unforgivable mistake in your piece: you failed to put it into context. Then again, I seem to recall someone suggested you read more of my work to get an idea of what I was on about. Had you done so, you might have reacted differently. The archive is there for you to peruse at leisure and I won’t paraphrase it, just point you this way and that way. Should you have any question, please feel free and I’ll do my best to address them. You may, if you wish, communicate with me privately as my contact details are public and in my bio. In short, you kicked someone who was already down therefore if I may be so bold, I would urge you once again to proceed with necessary and compassionate edits.

4/I stand by everything I write and write under my own name rather than a pseudonym because mental health advocacy and equality demand accountability as well as steadfast commitment. Take this response as proof that I mean what I write about, and that the words above are not just empty characters on a screen. ***What’s more, although my work lives behind the Medium paywall to allow me to earn a few dollars for it and keep hardship at bay, I make it available for free via friend links on social media, so as not to leave any reader behind. Similarly, I share direct links with anyone who requests them, and people do.

5/ Come to think of it, I am not just pixels and data packets on a screen either but a real person. Today I wrote something else that may give you an idea of who I am, what I do, and why I do it.

6/ Your piece made me understand something important about my personal history that had puzzled me for years. I married for the first time at 19 and my then husband used to rape me awake routinely, something I briefly touched upon here. I knew then something was off but couldn’t put my finger on it because I was very young. The realization of what he had been doing hit me about a year after I had exited that marriage. But until I read your words, I still didn’t have a why. Now I know: He felt entitled to my body.

7/ Similarly, I was raped by a married man during a study trip to Germany. I was already a married woman at the time (see #6) and I had no choice but to submit. The everlasting memory is one of frantically thumbing my English-German dictionary the next day to explain what we did in England when a woman got pregnant as a result of rape. Abtreibung is the word. Thankfully it didn’t come to that, I was very lucky. But because I was staying under his roof, that man too felt entitled to my body.

8/ In light of all the above, I hope you’ll understand I’ve had no choice but to report you to Medium. How this matter will be handled isn’t something I have any say in or can influence, but you can when there’s still time, Tony. I’m more than happy to guide you through the editing process if that’s something you’re interested in learning more about. I’m a huge fan of big personalities and strong opinions but putting those across in an articulate and fair manner is a skill not everyone has.

9/ Merry Christmas. Hope this day provides you with much-needed reflection on what it means to be a human in the world. For my part, reflecting on how I keep producing work that resonates with others while attempting to save my own life is what I’ll be doing as I take a rare day off.



[Edited at 2:54am on Dec. 25 to include points 6 and 7 + edited on 9:05PM on Dec. 26 to include *** in point 4 and highlight.]

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