It’s been five years since I started writing this book and so many people helped make it happen.

Mom: thank you for teaching me to never take the easy way out. And thank you for never holding me back or making me feel like I have to censor myself. ‘But would your mom be okay with you writing this?’ is not a question I ever had to ask myself.

Janah: your unconditional love and support has carried me throughout my whole life. I am so happy that you’re my sister. To my dad, I appreciate dearly what you have done for me, I wouldn’t have ever wanted anyone else to be my father. To my stepdad and stepmom, thank you for taking care of my parents after what happened to me.

My Lloyd: you taught me to trust and love again. There isn’t really much to say except that you are a blessing and one of the most beautiful souls I have ever met. Thank you for always making me feel like it’s okay to be me.

Ilze, Magdaleen, Candice, Monique, Natalie and Lauren: thank you for so freely allowing me to share your part in my story. You’re all my sisters. And badasses.

Malini, you’re my nihilist soulmate and my life would be less without you.

Carla: life coach, mentor and killer of darlings. You are the reason my babies are lying in a ditch and my book is so much better because of it.

Thank you to Susan Hawthorne for giving us permission to include her powerful poem, ‘How do you protect yourself from rape?’ at the beginning of the book. Your poem resonates so strongly with me and, I’m sure, with many others.

To my work family Devaksha, Sarah and Ziyaad: thank you for your unconditional support and for keeping me woke.

Thank you to my editor Emily who went on the journey of making this book worth reading with me. And Colleen, thank you for taking a chance on my story.