Thursday, 25 September 2014

An open letter to her abusive ex-husband from a secondary survivor.

Dear Abuser,

You know who you are; there is no need to identify you.  You justify your actions in various ways, but the end result was all the same.  You abused your wife over many years.  I’m here to share my side of the story in the hope this helps others that have experienced abuse from a loved one, from a trusted partner, from a husband, and helps those secondary survivors that are doing all they can to support their loved one. 

I’m writing this open letter as a way to express my feelings and emotions.  I’ve been with my beautiful girlfriend for a year and over that time she has entrusted me with details and emotions from her past, a past with you, where you caused pain through manipulation, mental and sexual abuse.  Throughout all of this I don’t see her as a victim; in fact I have an overwhelming sense of pride for her.  I see the courage she has and through all that you put her thought.  She has retained her kind heart and gentile soul; through you she found strength and fought for a better life.  She is a true inspiration to me.

Although some of these events happened years ago, for me they feel real as if they had happened recently, as if they are happening today, right now.  You really hurt more people than you will ever know.  Before I get into this letter much more, I want you to know you can’t take anything from those you force yourself on.  You will never have any control over me, or her ever again.  Most importantly, you can’t take my love for her away, no matter what you try and do.  You will never be able to give her the love I give her.  What you took from her over the years amounted to nothing but a reflective stab into your own gut, psyche, and self-worth.  She is beautiful inside and outside, and inside you’re ugly and evil.  You probably hurt yourself more than anyone in this equation.  Her family, her friend and I all know you as the abusive excuse of a man that you are; you have no power over us.

Here’s my side:

I am a regular guy, I work hard in my career and I care deeply about my friends and family.  I’m not perfect and I don’t pretend that I am.  I know that life is about learning and developing to have a positive contribution to society.  I’m old enough to have seen and experienced a lot in my life, I still see the beauty in life and every situation.  I have an overwhelming desire to protect loved ones, I will do whatever it takes to make sure they are ok and protect them from the evil in this world, it's who I am, it’s who I was born to be.  You see, I also have emotional issues that stem from experiences in my past and failed relationships.  I take things too personally and I hurt when I see others hurt.  I guess I’m empathic, sometimes to my own detriment taking on others emotions, who knows, that is not important right here.  What’s important is you use your past as an excuse to justify your actions and this is wrong; you need to see this for yourself.

I have to admit I don’t know all of the details, but I know enough to form a picture of what you are like and what you put her through.  So the exact details may be inaccurate, but the emotions you caused are very real, the emotions she experienced are genuine.

From the very start of your relationship you tried to take her power away, you manipulated a shy, self-conscious, young girl and forced her to choose between you and her family.  From the start you tried to control her with your narcissistic tendencies.  You intentionally pressured her and created a wedge between the people that she loved, creating a distance and hurting so many people.  Throughout your entire relationship you manipulated her and used her love for you against her.  You got angry at her after she went to see friends and family; she dreaded returning home to you due to the way you played yourself as the victim to make her feel guilty. You got angry if she took phone calls from friends and family.  You twisted every word making her angry and thinking she was going crazy, you wanted her to lose control of herself so you could control her. You blamed her for all of your faults and issues; you never took ownership for the wrongs you committed. You made her life a living hell.

See what you don’t realise is that she loved you without question and would have done (and did) everything she could to make you happy, but you never really loved her; you used and abused her, and her love for you.  You thought you loved her, but you just needed someone to control so you felt powerful, someone to abuse so you felt better about being a pathetic waste of space, a worthless individual with no self-esteem. Throughout all of this you acted as if the world owed you something, always wanting to get your own way, feeling that the world was standing against you.  The truth is you already had the most precious gift, a loving wife that loved you unconditionally, and you through all that away.

Not only did you cheat on her numerous times and made her feel worthless, you forced yourself on her by making her feeling sexually inadequate by telling her lies about your past sexual experiences so she felt pressured to sleep with you when you first got together.  But this was just the start of your manipulation and it was just the first time you committed sexual assault through cohesion, the first time you committed marital rape.

Some of the things she felt due to your narcissistic abuse included:
·         Feeling guilty for “making” the narcissist feel the way you did
·         Chronically confused about your sudden changes in behaviour
·         Frequently exhausted from never knowing what might happen next
·         Feeling like she had to “walk on eggshells” to avoid “rocking the boat”
·         Always apologizing for “never doing things right” although it was never her fault
·         Trying to keep a low profile to avoid being noticed
·         Blaming herself for never doing things well enough
·         Never completely trusting their partner
·         Never feeling respected or equal in the relationship
·         Always worrying about their performance in any role, including in the bedroom
·         Often wondering if it’s ok if they phone or meet with friends or family
·         Having to ask permission to do anything
·         Not being able to give their opinion for fear of being chastised
·         Never being able to win any argument as you believe you are never wrong
·         Always attempting to “try harder” to make things better
·         Chronically feeling empty and living life in a daze
·         Periodically have suicidal thoughts and one attempts that I am aware of
·         Wishing for “someday” when things will change, but someday never comes
·         Often wondering how they got into this situation to begin with
·         Always being told everything is their fault
·         Taking their partner’s advice, although their gut tells them not to
·         Feeling like they’re living a lie – that the outside world sees them one way, while the inner reality is definitely something entirely different
·         Rarely feeling like their needs are being met or even acknowledged
·         Never doing anything unless their partner says it’s ok
·         Her friends and family told them she was being abused, but she just could not see it, always hoping things would get better
·         Often wishing they would have never gotten into this mess to begin with and now don’t know how to get out
·         Frequently feeling numb or depressed
·         They no longer know who they really are
·         May end up looking like the “crazy one” in the relationship

All of this is the direct result of your abuse and manipulation. This is who you are as a person, this is what you caused; a life of pain and anxiety. Throughout your whole relationship she was pressured into sexual acts with you, with you always taking what you wanted and never considering what she needed, everything had to be your way.  Through manipulation and cohesion by making her feel guilty you made her go through with sexual acts.  She submitted to you to stop the arguments, the sighs and emotional abuse.  This is not the same as consent, what you did was commit marital rape throughout your relationship.  In simple terms “Coercion is a tactic used by perpetrators to intimidate, trick or force someone to have sex with them without physical force. Coercion is used as a means of forcing someone to do something that they do not want to do, a way to control them. This is an issue of power and control. When coercion is used to convince a person to have sex or engage in sexual activities when they not want to do so, this is sexual assault, as defined by the law. You raped your wife and forced her to be raped by strangers, you should be in prison for your crimes,

You used her love for you against her; you used her values of what a loving wife should be, to use her and expected her to do everything you wanted.  If you had any decency in you, you would have seen the pain and suffering you were causing and stopped.  A woman does not have to say no, fight back or struggle for it to be rape.  Emotional abuse and manipulation used to force someone against their wishes and what they feel is right is simply not acceptable, this is not normal and no one should have to go through that.  You need to see yourself for the despicable acts you committed, the evil manipulative and narcissistic person that you still are today.

Your sick perversions, fantasies and manipulation resulted in you forcing her to carry out sexual acts with strangers while you watched, videoed and then joined in.  She tried to tell you she did not want to do it; she threw herself down the stairs to get out of it.  But she loved you without questions and went through with your sordid fantasy because she loved you and you forced her to do so through coercion, because she felt it was the only way to show how much she loved you and to make you happy after you manipulated her to get your own way. You forced your wife to be raped.

After the first time she felt obligated to do it the second time, too scared of you to tell you the truth after years of emotional abuse.  This says more about the bad husband you where, than who she is.  She hated herself for it, but went through with it as she felt it was only her body and it would not affect anyone else.  You made her feel that it was the only way to make you happy; you betrayed her love and her trust.

When she finally plucked up the courage to confront you, you used veiled excuses about your past for why this all happened, you blamed her for not saying no.  But the simple fact is she submitted herself, giving her body to strangers to make you happy against what she knew to be right, going against what she believed in.  She had to get herself drunk as a way to escape what you wanted to put her through.  She tried to distance herself from it and the emotions of guilt and low self-worth that this caused, the desire to kill herself to get away from the pain you caused.  Thinking life was not worth living, but at the same time not wanting to hurt her family that had already been hurt so much. You caused all of this when you coerced her to perform sexual acts with strangers.

So just to be clear:
·         Silence: Silence is never consent. If a person does not verbally say no, it does not mean that they mean yes.
·         Consent is not assumed: It is never acceptable to assume that consent is given. Each one of us is responsible for making sure we have consent in every sexual situation. If you are unsure, it is important to clarify what your partner is feeling about the sexual situation. Consent can never simply be assumed.
·         Being drunk: Alcohol consumption can render a person incapable of giving consent. Alcohol is often used as a weapon to target individuals and is used by perpetrators to excuse their own actions, but Criminal Sexual Conduct laws apply to a perpetrator regardless of whether or not they were drinking. It is important to remember that sexual assault is never the survivor's fault, regardless of whether they may have been intoxicated.
·         Marriage: Even in marriage, consent can never be assumed. Marital rape does exist, and it is just as severe as any other sexual assault. There are marital rape laws that make a sexual assault in a marriage a crime. Marriage is not consent.
·         A person has the right to change their mind at any time. Prior consent does not give the right to sexual acts in the future.
You are a rapist.

It’s a sick world when she did what you wanted against her own wishes, and she felt guilty about cheating on you; even though you forced them and the experience on her while you got off on videoing it.  The emotions she experienced after the event are those of a rape victim.  She has had professional help and got herself through very difficult times.  I’m so proud of how she has dealt with everything; she truly is a special person. The journey is not over; she now understands that she was raped, although she cannot use that word outside of therapy. She has the strength to face what happened to her and deal with the resulting emotions that you caused. She is unpicking all of the damage you caused.

I’ve read many stories about people that have gone through similar experiences and I’m overwhelmed by her strength to put this in the past, leave you and move on to a better future, a future she has always deserved, a future full of real, unconditional love.

The hardest part for me is knowing that she was living a life of in a daze due to how you treated her. She showed all the signs of being in a relationship with a narcissist. She withdrew from her family living two lives and never feeling that life was real. You kept her in your spell although she felts she was walking on eggshells every moment she spent with you.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is defined as “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism. Without a doubt this describes you and your actions, but this is not an excuse for what you put her through.

Two the two men involved:

There is no excuse for your actions, she may not have said no, she may not have struggled or put up a fight, but as she was unable to give consent due to the alcohol she consumed to get through the experience and she did not want sex with you, and you are both rapists.  You can never justify to me or her, that you did not see in her eyes that she did not want to have sex, you cannot tell me that you did not realise what you were doing was wrong.  But you did not care, you just wanted you own sexual gratification and did not give a fuck about how she felt about it. You both raped her, going along with her partners requests.

Although these acts were years ago, you know what happened was wrong, it was rape under every legal definition as she was unable to give consent due to the consumption of alcohol.  This is evident in the way you tried to communicate with her afterwards when you emailed her, trying to forge a relationship and seek forgiveness through thinking she was ok about it. While she responded to you and tried to humanise you to forget the beasts that you are and the devastating experiences she was put through.  You both wanted to rescue her from her abusive husband, but you are also abusers.  You tried to add her on Facebook as a friend to take away your own guilt at what happened, both of you knew she was in an abusive relationship and tried to get her out of it, you both know what you did was wrong, but you did it anyway. I don’t understand how you could do the things you did and then try to make amends to south your own soul’s, you should not forget the pain and horror you caused her.

The truth is you will have to live with the guilt of this for the rest of your lives.  Let me tell you now, if you attempt to contact her in anyway every again or make her feel any more pain, I will ensure your friends, loved ones and family see you for the disgusting act of sexual assault you committed.  I know who you are, I know where you live, I know your family and friends and how to contact all of them, but I also understand it is not my place to get involved and seek retribution and justice, no matter how much I need it, no matter how much I want it.

I will leave you to rot in your own guilt as long as you leave her alone forever, and never make her relive the pain she experienced due to you, your actions and your abuse when you raped her.  Just don’t push me.  You have no idea of what I will do to protect my beautiful princess.  I will not break the law, but I have the power and ability to destroy your life, your relationships and your family by showing them who you really are and the despicable acts you committed years ago. Just like you destroyed her life for many years, hurt her family and friends, and hurt me, I will destroy you and your life.

But as I said before she is a survivor not a victim, she has come through this stronger and with a heart full of compassion and love. I want to leave the past in the past and move on, so don’t bring this up with her in anyway.
I am what they call a secondary survivor:

That’s what they told me anyways.  I am sure there are other labels and they say I'm suffering from PTSD.  The last thing I want to do is to speak for my girlfriend and tell you how you made her feel.  I am not sure anyone who hasn’t been in that situation will ever fully know.  I can only make assumptions based on what we have discussed and the emotions I see in her as a result of your actions.

It’s often harder in some respects for a secondary survivor as an onlooker to the emotions and pain, the intense emotions of anger and helplessness that we feel.  We create pictures in our minds of what happened, and have so many questions we know we cannot and should not ask.  But this is what I’ve experienced and what I have seen, images I never wanted in my mind.  I’ve seen this beautiful girl cry and blame herself.  I’ve heard about the emotions she felt that are those of a person that has been in an abusive relationship and been subjected to rape. Through therapy she can now see the acts as rape, and she no longer blames herself.

Over the years with you she gained the strength to forge a life for herself, even when you made her feel guilty and got angry when she went to see friends and family.  She had the courage and strength of conviction to know that life had more to offer than an abusive husband and relationship.  I don’t know all of the details of your past together and I’m not sure it’s right for me to know.  All of that is now in the past, what I do know is that I will spend every day loving her with all of my heart and making sure she knows how beautiful and special she is.  I will give her the life and future she has always deserved, the future you tried to take away from her.

From the moment I met her over a year ago I feel in love with her, I saw her beauty, not only in her looks, the way she moves, the way she holds herself, the way she talks and smiles.  I could instantly see the pure heart and compassionate soul she has, I knew I found my soul mate, and that one day this girl, will be the girl that I marry and vow to protect and honour her with everything I say and with every action (something you should have lived up to "your marriage vows").  I love her with every beat of my heart, with every breath I take and with every day my love for her grows stronger.  I know what I have found in her is extraordinary and I will never disrespect or mistreat the loves she has for me.  What is important to me is this beautiful woman, the beautiful woman that you manipulated, raped and forced to commit sexual acts against her will.  

We’ve vowed to share everything together and grow as a couple. But what you did, that stuff really hurts people, and it killed me, it ripped my heart in two knowing want you put her through.  How could you abuse someone’s love like that?  How could you be so fucking selfish and self-centered that you felt all of this was ok?  There is no excuse for your actions, you need to grow the fuck up and take responsibility for the pain you cause and your actions, and you are to blame for your actions, no one else.  The world owes you nothing, you are worthless, you have no rights to control others and make them feel pain, and I will not let you do that.

I know you think she cheated on you with me, but the truth is you destroyed your relationship through your actions years ago.  To harm someone’s identity for so many years to get your own kicks, to take her control away as a way of dealing with your own low self-esteem issues. We started to date each other and she explained her situation, and I did what it took to get her away from you, I would never break up a happy marriage, but your relationship was over years ago, from the day you first abused her. I want you to know that she is stronger than you will ever be.  The amazing person she has always been.  That she knows how to love, and that she deserves to be loved.  

You missed a great girl.  If you had used your marriage and truly loved her, you would have experienced a world beyond your wildest dreams.  I know your loss as I now know what it is like to be loved unconditionally by this beautiful woman, something you had, but you destroyed through your action, abuse, manipulation and hurtful words.  The thought of losing her kills me and knowing that you have lost her, and I hope it kills you.  Part of me feels sorry for you, but this is only a very small part.  Her love for me makes me stronger; she gives me courage and motivation to take on this world.  

You now have to face this world alone and more importantly face up to the abuse person you are, take a long hard look in the mirror and I guarantee you will not like what you see.  Look deep into your own eyes and you will see the evil self-centered narcissistic person that you are.

We never cheated on you, the truth is she had checked out of your relationship years before and was building a life for herself and building up the courage to leave you for good.  She encouraged you to get a job so she would feel less guilty about breaking away from you.  It’s a sign of the pure, caring heart that she has.  That even after your abuse, she feels responsible for you.  I had nothing to do with this, but at the end I gave her a place to realise she was worth so much more than the way you treated her.  I showed her true love and she made the final steps to kick you out of the house and start the divorce proceeding.  

The money she gave you to make you go away was just that.  A payment to get you out of her life for good so she could move on, look hard at yourself and know that the truth is you owe her thousands of pounds for the debts you ran up and left her with as you felt the world owed you things that you had not earned.  Let alone what you owe her for years of not working while she was working two jobs to try to put food on your table, so you did not starve.  The cheek that you wanted her to give you extra money so you could afford to go on holiday with your new girlfriend next year, in reality you owe her so much more than money.  When I heard about you wanting money for a holiday, I wanted to kill you, you really are a pathetic self-centered excuse of a man. She now sees the past for what it was, at the time she was still victim of your abuse and that is why she paid you the money. She knows you never deserved it, you never earned and legally you were not entitled to a penny.

The debt you owe here can never be repaid. You will understand this when your time has come and you spend eternity in hell for your actions and abuse.  You owe her a happy life; you need to leave her alone now.  If you see us or her out, you need to turn and walk the other way and hang your head in shame for what you did. I have no hesitations in getting a restraining order against you, I have already been in touch with the authorities in preparation. 

I just hope for your new girlfriend’s sake you have learned and not to abuse her in the same way you treated your wife for years, I know she has already moved in with you.  If I hear about any abuse I will get the authorities involved as I could not forgive myself if I let this happen to anyone else. As it stands I have made an official complaint that will ensure if anything is reported in the future they will contact me for additional evidence of your abusive tendencies. It makes me sick that there are people in this world like you.  Depraved, damaging, egotistical people that the world is better off without.  I’m not going to threaten you, but if you don’t leave us alone I will hold up a mirror to you so you can see the sick pervert that you are.  You have no idea in the strength of my conviction for justice and to protect my beautiful princess from you.

While she is strong and has really moved in a positive direction from all of this, I unfortunately have had a tougher time. You didn’t take anything from her, always remember that.  But she confided in me, told me her darkest secrets and fears.  You isolated me.  You made me feel alone.  I can’t talk to friends about how I feel.  I can’t do anything but secretly seek help from professionals who really don’t know me.  It is nice to talk with them, they give good guidance, and I’m learning to deal with the rage that I feel for you, but they don’t know me.  I feel terrible for seeking help for how I feel.  My instinct says I am being a baby for victimizing myself, that this has nothing to do with me and that I should be a rock and instead I am clouded and strung up by pain and fear.  I feel trapped by your actions.  I will never forgive you for that, or how you made her feel for years.  

But at the end of the day, this girl is unbelievably strong. Most importantly she is unbelievably beautiful, in ways you will never know.  She makes me stronger, she is my world. Its great watching her rebuild her relationships with her family that are amazing and supportive. She has a closer connection with her friends and life in general. You took so much away from her for so many years.

So here’s my conclusion for you.  I said I wasn’t perfect a little earlier in this note.  I was lost in my own regard for some years before I met this beautiful woman.  She loves and is loved.  I am so lucky I met her.  She is the best thing that ever happened to me.  

When you get older, you will certainly remember everything you did and finally take responsibly for your actions.  I know you have already felt some pain, but even when you threw yourself out of the window threatening to kill yourself, this wasn’t a cry for help, it was to make her feel guilty so she would stay with you.  

When you shared about how your parents had sex in front of you when you were young and you and your sister watched porn together.  That was just to make her feel sorry for you, so she felt guilty for being upset; you used it as an excuse to be an abusive husband and rape your wife.  

You pretended to seek professional help, not to improve who you are, but as a way to try to keep her in your life, pretending you wanted to change.  You never wanted to change, you think you are perfect and everyone else is wrong.  

Even now you don't realise the sick person that you are. I believe you attempted suicide is admittance of guilt, a small part of you knows how evil you are, either that or you tried to punish her even more, if that’s the case you really are a sick man.  You knew then, and you know now that want you did was commit marital rape and forced her to be raped by two strangers while you watched.  

I just hope that empty spot in your soul, the empty spot you created yourself and you alone are responsible for, never heals.  And I pray you never put anyone else through this again.

Finally, thank you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for fucking that up.  We are using this experience to bond and grow together.  We are stronger as individuals and as a couple because of you.  And she is my hero.  Your abuse over the years empowered her to seek the life she deserves, to stand up for what she believes in and stand up to you and take back control of her life.  Kind of weird the way the world works.  Life is beautiful, people need to be hopeful.  I hope you come around and see who you really are.  I really do.  In the meantime I will be exploring this beautiful thing called life with the most beautiful woman in the world.  Again, thank you for making that possible.

With true concern,

A Secondary Survivor

If you know someone that is a victim or survivor of abuse you need to prepare yourself how to react to the situation. I made a few mistakes as I let my emotions take control, you need to seek support for yourself so you can support them effectively.

Support you can offer:
·         It can be useful to ask "how can I help?" or "Is there anything you need from me right now?"
·         Listen to her.
·         Believe her. It is important to believe her even if what she's telling you seem hard to comprehend.
·         Tell her you are glad she could tell you about it.
·         Respect that she may need to focus solely on herself and her needs for a while.
·         Let her know you are there for her.
·         Reassure her that you are there to talk to if she wants to.
·         Allow her to make her own decisions.
·         Support the choices she makes.
·         Recognize the harm that was done to her.
·         Realise that her feelings are ok.
·         Respect her need to express these feelings.
·         Let her choose which family members or friends she wishes to disclose to.
·         Ask how best to support her.
·         Acknowledge your limits.
·         Respect her privacy.
·         Be patient.
·         Respect that her healing may take time, space and energy.
·         Let her talk. Survivors often need to go over things many times, allow space for this.
·         If she starts to say "If only I hadn't..." or "I should have..." remind her that the responsibility for the assault lies with the perpetrator and it was not her fault.
Try to avoid:
·         Ignoring what has happened to her.
·         Taking charge or being over-protective.
·         Pressing for details of the assault.
·         Insisting she report to the police if she doesn't want to.
·         Making threats against the abuser.
·         Sympathising with the abuser.
·         Blaming, accusing or judging her.
·         Telling anyone else about what happened without her permission.
·         Offering support beyond your limitations.
·         Expecting her to deal with your feelings.
·         Telling her "it's over now, get on with life".
·         Pressuring her to access counselling when she doesn't want to.
·         Asking too many questions.
·         Jumping into rescue mode. Providing options too early can often be overwhelming.
I found myself asking why she stayed with him for many years. I found this great explanation online that helped me understand.

“There were probably many factors that kept the relationship going and kept your love alive. There were all his promises. "I promise this will never happen again." You believed him the first time. And the second. As the abuse continued, he became increasingly remorseful, his promises more insistent. You continued to believe him; you wanted to believe him. After all, you loved him.

Then there were all the apologies. He seemed truly sorry. You forgave him. Now, however, when you think back, you realize the apologies were conditional. They blamed you! "I'm sorry, but if only you hadn't..." They always made his abuse somehow your fault. You may have begun to believe this, and you may even remember apologizing to him. You began to believe that if you were careful about what you said or did, you could prevent the abuse from happening again. As the abuse escalated over time, the blaming became more obvious. "I didn't mean to hurt you, but if you just weren't so [stupid, ugly, careless, dumb, etc.], this would never have happened." Time after time you were made to believe that every act of violence or abuse was your fault. Day after day you were made to feel that you were unworthy of him.”

“The abusive man’s high entitlement leads him to have unfair and unreasonable expectations, so that the relationship revolves around his demands. His attitude is: “You owe me.” For each ounce he gives, he wants a pound in return. He wants his partner to devote herself fully to catering to him, even if it means that her own needs—or her children’s—get neglected. You can pour all your energy into keeping your partner content, but if he has this mind-set, he’ll never be satisfied for long. And he will keep feeling that you are controlling him, because he doesn’t believe that you should set any limits on his conduct or insist that he meet his responsibilities.”

“An abuser can seem emotionally needy. You can get caught in a trap of catering to him, trying to fill a bottomless pit. But he’s not so much needy as entitled, so no matter how much you give him, it will never be enough. He will just keep coming up with more demands because he believes his needs are your responsibility, until you feel drained down to nothing.”

“I am living in hell from one day to the next. But there is nothing I can do to escape. I don't know where I would go if I did. I feel utterly powerless, and that feeling is my prison. I entered of my own free will, I locked the door, and I threw away the key.”

There is a lot of advice available online, before you make any judgements please research what they went through before you react. It is essential you are in the right place to be able to support her recovery.

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