Megan Thee Stallion has written an essay addressing the gun violence she suffered at the hands of rapper Tory Lanez, the toll the trial took on her and how she’s putting her mental health first moving forward.
In an essay published Tuesday in Elle, , the singer — born Megan Pete — broke her silence following the trial in which Lanez, a Canadian rapper whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, was found guilty of shooting her in the foot. The incident happened in July 2020 after the two left a party at the at the Hollywood Hills home of Kylie Jenner.
“I don’t want to call myself a victim. As I reflect on the past three years, I view myself as a survivor, because I have truly survived the unimaginable,” Pete wrote. “Not only did I survive being shot by someone I trusted and considered a close friend, but I overcame the public humiliation of having my name and reputation dragged through the mud by that individual for the entire world to see.”
Last December, Lanez was found guilty of assault with a semiautomatic firearm; having a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle; and discharging a firearm with gross negligence. The “Savage” singer’s injuries were extensive, and she had to undergo surgery to have bullet fragments removed from her left heel.
Although jurors who heard the case in a Los Angeles courtroom took only seven hours to find Lanez guilty, the court of public opinion treated Pete as though she was the one on trial in the period leading up to the case.
“I wish I could have handled this situation privately. That was my intention, but once my attacker made it public, everything changed,” Pete wrote. “It never crossed my mind that people wouldn’t believe me. Still, I knew the truth and the indisputable facts would prevail. I had worked way too hard to reach this point in my career to let taunts deter me.
“When the guilty verdict came on Dec. 23, 2022, it was more than just vindication for me, it was a victory for every woman who has ever been shamed, dismissed, and blamed for a violent crime committed against them.”
The Grammy winner opened up about the slew of hate and conspiracy theories that came her way after the incident went public, writing that she could have let the adversity get the best of her but she persevered.
“Even some of my peers in the music industry piled on with memes, jokes, and sneak disses, and completely ignored the fact that I could have lost my life,” she continued.
The “Her” singer and rapper wrote that her heart hurt for all the women around the world who suffer in silence, “especially if you’re a Black woman who doesn’t appear as if she needs help.”
“Time after time, women are bullied with backlash for speaking out against their attackers, especially when they’re accusing someone who is famous and wealthy,” she wrote.
She spoke out against the ways women are often treated as liars, out to make a profit on the trauma they’ve endured rather than simply seeking justice. Pete called the doubt and criticism from others “overwhelming” compared to any support or empathy she got.
While the rapper wrote candidly about the trauma of coming forward and enduring a public trial, she also made it clear how grateful she was to her supporters and her fans — “the Hotties” — writing that it touched her soul when they “rallied around me, used their voices, and penned an open letter of support on my behalf.”
She also made a point of addressing other violence survivors, writing, “Please know your feelings are valid. You matter. You are not at fault. You are important. You are loved. You are not defined by your trauma. You can continue to write beautiful, new chapters to your life story.
“Just because you are in a bad situation doesn’t mean you are a bad person. Our value doesn’t come from the opinions of other people. As long as you stand your ground and live in your truth, nobody can take your power.”
This story originally appeared on LA Times