Reema Zaman
Jan 19, 2017 · 1 min read

Dearest Shanese,

I am so deeply moved by your letter. Thank you for sharing with me your story. It is a privilege to be trusted with your truth. Thank you as well for your incredibly moving praise. I’m so happy that my work has given you a chance to feel heard, known, and loved. I’m so happy it motivated you to voice your story.

That is why I write.

I am so sorry for your experience of assault, of feeling doubtful, of others making you feel your pain and the experience were any less painful than what they truly were. So often, the way that people react to pain is more painful than the experience itself. And society is more likely to blame, shame, or interrogate a girl than help a girl.

I am so incredibly happy and grateful that you’ve been able to be resilient despite and beyond it all. We women are privy to a unique volume and frequency of scrutiny, attack, judgment, questioning, and silencing. As unjust as that is, we can use every dehumanizing experience as ferocious motivation. To rise with strength, with vehemence, with enhanced conviction in our voices. To speak up and out for ourselves and our connective, collective story.

Which you have done and are doing so beautifully. I am so excited for your life. I feel you will make your roar heard. It matters. It is necessary. It is gorgeous and utterly your own.

Much love to you,


    Reema Zaman

    Written by

    Memoirist and Letter Writer. Represented by Lisa DiMona (Writers House). Sign up to receive the letters, or to request your own, at