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When I found out Kim Kardashian was robbed, I was devastated.
I read the details for about two whole minutes – that her wrists were zipped tied and she was gagged, the attackers held a gun to her head, screamed at her in another language, intimidated her; that she was in tears, that she was certain she was going to be raped. That was about all I could take. I assumed, at that point, that Kim would suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, like me.
I knew her life would change forever.
Prior to Kim being attacked, I followed her life on every platform I could. I was obsessed. I loved her glossy photos on Instagram; I loved her snarky comments on Twitter; but most of all, I loved her Snapchat. I used to get home from long days at work, having run myself ragged pretending not to be anxious and stressed out, and crawl into my bed with all my clothes on and let her take me intimately into her amazing world.
Her voice was soothing, sexy and calm, and her face was contoured. “I just made this denim choker you guys, it's lit.” "I'm in Miami, and I just got this spray tan. Tanorexic!" and my personal favourite in recent times was this magical moment, where her daughter North was all wrapped up in a white blanket on the couch. “Look Saint! It's a ghost... Should we be afraid of the ghost?!” The way she spoke felt really personal and perfunctory. "Look at this, you guys!" It's the way you talk to your friends when you're hanging out at home.
Her posts were equal parts fabulous and somehow, seemingly endless. She seemed unstoppable.
In contrast, I was morbidly unhappy, really lonely and it seemed like Kim's life was perfect. She was beautiful, rich, married and always so calm. She's a goddess, just look at her!
I was living a life that had been rattled by sexual assault, and I was caged in my house. Maybe Kim and I had nothing in common, but we're both women and that means we had a lot in common. Even though she would never know it, I needed her as my friend.
I saw Kim as a woman who had endlessly fought for a career in the toughest industry out there — the media. And she got it and rose to the top. There's this ridiculous rhetoric that she is famous for doing nothing, but home girl has a social media reach that's bigger than the population of the United Kingdom. Say what you want about her doing nothing. She doesn't hear the haters. She vibrates on a higher frequency than noise.
Kim was the ultimate aspiration to me.
Of course, one of the reasons I looked up to Kim so much was because she had created an empire. It's undeniable at this stage in her career that the reach her and her family have is unstoppable, and even with her going underground, her power prevails.
I identified with Kim before her attack, but after her attack I felt really affected.
I'm a white girl with a good family. I was so fortunate to receive a great education and grow up without turmoil. I subscribed to feminism all my life and believed I had finely honed skills to protect myself. I felt like it was my duty as a woman to protect other women who were less fortunate than me. It never really occurred to me that my own safety wasn’t my decision.
After I was raped, my sense of safety became warped. I couldn’t trust men anymore, and I felt stupid for ever having trusted them. I started thinking: It’s their choice. They can choose to keep me safe or not. Like, it’s as simple as that. And if I, with all my privilege, am not safe, then what woman — even Kim Kardashian — is?
I became really anxious, like agoraphobic. I found it really hard to leave the house unless I was certain of where I was going and who I was going to be with. I am single and had nobody to talk me through the panic, so I would just walk back and forth in my bedroom watching the hours tick by. I was late to everything. I cancelled a lot of plans. I sent a lot of texts that said, "I’m so sorry! I’ve been held up!" while I was just staring at myself in the mirror, refreshing my Instagram feed.
When Kim was held up she was in a very fancy hotel room, no doubt. She is rich and powerful, maybe the most powerful woman in the world! The untouchable ideal of Western decadence!
There have been reports of hotel security being lax, of Kim being tailed in the days leading up to the robbery, but none of that really matters. The thing is, as a woman, you can swiftly be made to feel like your safety isn’t your choice. Even if you’re mega rich and dripping in designer clothing and have a private security detail! Some dirt bag can take your sense of safety away from you, and that sucks.
I recently read that Kim has "zero desire" to return to her old life. That’s devastating, but fuck. I understand. After being drugged and raped, my entire personality fell away, and I have accepted that it will never come back. I have rebuilt, and I am not the same. I was trawling through my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts when I was writing this article to look at posts from the "old me".
Those posts were quite shocking. I was bold, fiery, confident and promiscuous. I was curious and hungry for life, I felt energised by talking to strangers; I felt really fearless and it was really hard for me to be rattled. PTSD completely took that away from me.
One thing being attacked did was make me selfish. I used to pride myself on being a good and giving friend. I tried so hard to give myself over fully to my friendships and to be a good listener. To being present, fun and warm. But when you’re always scared and anxious, you can’t do this. It’s not important anymore. Nobody ever told me I was acting strangely, but I knew I was. I couldn’t talk properly, I resented anybody who wanted anything from me. Real or not, you put yourself in survival mode and there’s not a lot of space for being a "great friend" when you’re living like that.
Obviously I can’t speak for where Kim K is at, but I know what she was giving me: hours of intimate content, daily. She loved her fans. She gave and gave and gave — and cleverly — she created an empire out of it.
Victims of trauma find it hard to do — to keep giving — and there is no mystery what happened to Kim. I still check Snapchat every day and selfishly feel disappointed when I see no updates from her. I also feel concerned, but we all know what was behind Kim’s disappearance. We all know exactly where she’s gone, and we all know why.
There have been reports that Kim has recommenced shooting Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which is great. From my experience of working in reality TV, I would assume this to be a controlled and safe environment. KUWTK is primarily shot inside of the Kardashian-Jenner clans' private homes. Twelve seasons in, it's safe to assume that the production team are a well-honed machine. The camera, sound and lighting crew are likely all well-known and friendly with the family.
It’ll really be quite different to re-engage in public life for her though. We can assume these hours of footage will somewhat address what Kim is going through, and will be released when she is damn well ready.
But for somebody who built their business on an openness that they’re no longer really able to offer, where does this leave the figurehead Kardashian? With the family staying protective and pretty tight-lipped, I guess I’ll just keep weirdly refreshing my newsfeed way too often.