Body-Shamed Cape Town woman writes open letter to bully, “I forgive you..” – read and share

Hila Jonker was body-shamed by a complete stranger as she ran to catch her Uber on Wednesday. Her heartfelt open letter (below) addressed to her bully is going viral.

“An open letter to the man who body-shamed me as I was running down Strand Street on the eve of 21 December 16.

Last night I was angry, I was hurt and I was angry. I tried to imagine all the horrible things I want to happen to you but I was too hurt and angry. Today the anger is gone. The hurt is gone. What is left in their place are pity and forgiveness.

Pity for you that you feel the need to express hateful things to strangers. I pity you because your mind is not yours, you have handed it to society to shape and mould.

I pity your partner, walking by your side, because while she smiled and laughed at my hurt reaction to your flippant judgement of me, somewhere in her mind an idea dropped in place that if she “let herself go” you would stop loving her. That her only worth to you is her body and her looks.

I forgive you because you don’t know my journey. You don’t know how far I have come, you only see how far I have to go. You don’t know the hard work I put in and my reasons for it so you cannot know how hurtful you were being.

I forgive you because I realise that no one taught you that judgement is automatic but what you choose to do with it is your choice.

I forgive you because I don’t need to carry hurt and anger. I don’t need to blacken my heart to match yours.

My hope for you is that someone finds the time to teach you empathy and that you are open enough to learn.

With love and blessings.
The overweight woman running for her Uber.”


Craig Barrowman: Thank you for sharing your thoughts and how they have evolved since your first (emotional, natural, obvious) reaction. What a great example you are. May you inspire others who find themselves in similar situations to find strength – be they victims or perpetrators – but may the perpetrators realise that they are victims themselves!

Kerry Hewitt-Snyders: I don’t know you Hila, but your post has made it all the way to London. Well done for letting some idiot momentary comment not undo all of what you’ve done so far. I see you and you look like a beautiful person to know, inside and out. Well done you!

Nina Gelderblom: I don’t know you personally, but I’d just like to say. Good for you! Your body is not an apology. If more people would start realizing the power of what #mybodydoes lies not in appearance… As a runner, I have seen this in action. I have been outrun (and inspired!!) by all shapes, sizes, and ages. Own your power – take shit from no-one.