My name is Rachel. I have known Neil Johnson since March of 2011 and we began a committed romantic relationship one and a half years ago, in early 2013. This post is not here to summarize or explain events, only to give my thoughts, feelings and perspectives. I will link here to the masterpost where you will find important information about this particular case, as well as many others that it is important to be informed and educated on. I would also like to include a trigger warning at this point if you are uncomfortable with discussions of sexual abuse. Please be kind to yourselves.
I sincerely want everyone and anyone who has been hurt in this situation to be able to heal and move forward, better and stronger than before. And I believe in every individual’s ability to do so. We all process things in different ways, contexts, and timelines: and with different outcomes. Eden, Jenny, and Sofie, you are brave for speaking out. I hope you will each, in time, heal from this. I wish you all the best.
Throughout the past few days, I feel as though my voice went not only unheard but also never even considered. I feel incredibly hurt. Recently, several people have instead of allowing me time to process, been demanding that I respond. I’m a fucking victim too, and I owe you nothing.
At this point, I feel like I have been used as a pawn in a game; a game I didn’t want to play. There’s a lot to take from all of this; however, if the “he had a girlfriend” reasoning is what made people uncomfortable, they could have spoken to me, the girlfriend.
Every relationship has its own set of boundaries and limitations. Flirting and cuddling with other people was not outside of ours. Other actions of his most certainly were.
It’s important to note I do not condone Neil’s actions of flirtatious and sexual interactions with a minor. This is unquestioningly inappropriate. I absolutely do not forgive this.
I do however forgive him.
Forgiving a person does not necessarily mean forgiving their actions. Neil is someone I love, trust, and believe in. I feel there must always be room to grow, and to change, and to improve. This world is made up of so many awful, scummy people, but there are so many who have the ability to be better. I always want them to be better.
However, if we don’t tell them they’re allowed and able to change, they never will. They won’t even try. I have so much faith in people’s ability to grow and learn.
It is absolutely important to call people out on inappropriate behaviour. It is absolutely important to stand up for yourself. It is absolutely important to say when you have been made uncomfortable.
There are ways to do this with tact and grace. Tweets to someone using words like “pedophile” are massive claims, and in the case of the “sex blog” accusation entirely false. I feel that they are unproductive and completely shut down learning and discussion.
People are entitled to their own response to experience; Sophie’s post was deemed “reckless” and discounted immediately. That’s discounting her stance, her emotions, and her experiences: that’s not okay.
As my voice has been muted throughout this process, it’s hard to see how much Neil and I have been talking. I’ve gone through every emotion. Every single emotion. We’ve discussed things we’ve never been able to talk to each other about before, and it doesn’t make those things okay, but we’re talking. That matters to me. It’s clear that he is someone I care for. He is someone I truly love, and that love is mutual. And I’m not willing to throw that aside. I refuse. Don’t discount that stance either. I’m entitled to feel this way, and it doesn’t make me any lesser, and it does not take away from anyone else’s stance.
The Internet moves through things quickly. Sometimes, there doesn’t seem to be enough time or consideration given to each case, but rather just another name to add to an ever-growing list of people who are no longer welcome in the online community.
While I don’t want things to be dragged out, especially in cases where this may prove to be hurtful and or triggering for victims, I wonder if there is a better way to handle things. I wish I had an answer.
It is not up to me to tell anyone how or when, or even if, they should forgive. Something my Mum has said to me many times (and has helped me through many situations) is: “forgive others, not necessarily because they deserve it, but because you deserve peace.”
You don’t ever have to forgive him. That’s your choice to make, and only yours. But I do sincerely hope that you find peace.
This is all definitely ongoing, but this is my final public response. I am taking a break from the internet to process on my own terms. I need that time, and I need that space.
This is my decision, it is not to be discredited. I am a victim. I owe you nothing.