To my rapist,
You mistake my kindness for an opportunity. You took my friendly personality as a dark invitation for you to explore my body. You took my "please, stop" as a "please, keep going". You took my tears as a smile. You took my vulnerability as your own gratitude. You took my self-independence, my ability to be care free and my ability to trust. You took everything I was the day before I met you.
The day before I met you, I was this type of girl who explored the world as my own jungle. I was the type of girl who believed there was good in all people and that everybody had the right to have someone be kind to them. I was the person who made friends no matter where I went. I wanted to be the girl that people knew as the kind, welcoming person. I, unfortunately, was mistaken. At first, I thought you were a nice guy just wanting to have fun and party like the rest of us, and later that night I discovered my own personal hell.
I know I did not make you carry me to your car as my feet scratched against the pavement. I know that I did not make you sling me over your shoulders and put me in the backseat. The only thing that I am too blame for, is not speaking up sooner. For not saying something to protect your future victims. I just want to know what made you believe that was what I wanted no matter how many times I said no? What did I do that led you to believe that my body was just something you can take advantage of, something for you to think you had a right to invade?
For months, I lied awake at night in fear that every time I closed my eyes that I would see your face pop into my head or hear your voice tell me that everything was going to be okay. Every place I go and all new people I meet; I have a guard up. I do not feel safe with anyone, not even when I am alone. The thought of you makes me want to vomit. Especially knowing that you had all of me in the wrong way. You took that from me; you took my vulnerability away from me and turned it into hate. I hate the way I feel so ashamed when I know that I did nothing wrong. I hate the way I believe everyone is only going to hurt me and then run away like you did. Most importantly, I hate the way I let you get away with such a heinous act.
I hid everything that happened to me and pretended to be okay because I felt ashamed and guilty. I felt that I was the one to blame and by announcing it to anyone, even those I trust dearly and love more than anything, would look at me in disgust. I thought that I would be slut shamed and be told "well you were drunk". You made me think that being open and brave would ultimately bring me down. I felt disgusted every time I looked in the mirror, I felt ashamed and afraid of who I would be after that. So I buried it. I decided for my sake and my families' sake, I needed to forget about it and pretend nothing happened. However, that was my fault.
Even though I still struggle with this daily, I know that I will use this to become stronger. I have used this experience to connect with others and to realize that I am not invincible but I am not weak nor broken. I work hard daily to become my old self again. I remind myself every time an ugly thought comes into my brain about myself, that I am beautiful and strong. That I came out of that situation damaged, but alive. All the pieces to who I am can be restored if I chose to do so. And I have, that is why I am writing this letter. I am writing this letter to let go of what you have taken from me. I am choosing to forgive, but to never forget. I am choosing to give you the best revenge and that is to not let you take my soul and life like you did my body.
To all the girls who have been sexually harassed, sexually abused, manipulated, etc. you are not alone. Your body is your right, your property and some may think it is theirs to use and abuse but it is not. To all the girls who have experienced what I have experienced, you have a voice. Using that voice will make you stronger, not weaker. It will help you, not tear you down. Do not let people tell you that you are to blame. That maybe if you did not decide to have that third or fourth drink that it would not have happened, that maybe if your skirt was just a little longer, they would not be tempted. To all the girls who have been eye to eye with the devil, you are not alone.