(Trigger Warning: This article contains sexual assault, depression, and suicidal experiences and profanity.)
I have known you since I was 10-years-old. For the past 11 years, we have done everything together. We grew up together, experience life together. We couldn't join a group or enroll in a class without one another. We were so close that some of our club and teammates thought we were twin sisters. You're my soulmate, my life partner, my whole world, my best friend. And, I loved that about us; however, I am glad that today we are starting to distinguish ourselves from each other. We always thought we were basically the same person and in a lot of ways we are, but now we know that's a lot of things that separate us. One of them being my rape story.
Of course, you were the first to know about HIM. You knew when I started crushing and when we started talking and you were the first person I called after he assaulted me. Right after he left, I mentally collapsed into rage and fear. I destroyed my room hoping to destroy the memory and then I called you. I explained the situation and you told me I had to stop. To cut my ties and never see him again or I'd get hurt. What you didn't realize was I had already been hurt. I had been raped.
We were just children. We didn't know it was illegal, we didn't know how to handle the situation. Hell, we even considered it romantic. The young girl falls for the hot, successful senior who's in a relationship with a mean, college girl. I'm 90% sure there's at least one young adult novel with that plot-line. We thought this was completely normal, for society had conditioned us to believe it was.
So, when HE left, after using my body, for his hot, mean, college girlfriend, your first words to me were "I freaking told you so." And, you were right. I could have avoided so much pain if I would've listened to you. Then over a year later, you discovered his number in your phone and let me have it. I know to this day, you regret ever doing that. You blame yourself for letting me have contact with him again. You hate yourself for letting me date him for four fucking years.
And, that's why when I told you the multiple times he had pressured me into sexual activities, you felt guilty. You broke down as you apologized for not being a better friend. For not catching the signs early on and stopping the whole thing from happening.
I want to let you know I am grateful for guilt. It is not your fault. It's not my fault. The only one to blame is HIM. But, knowing how much you care and how much of a burden you took on, reminds me that I have people who love me and will stand by me. Thank you for taking some of my pain on yourself and allowing me to heal. You mean the world to me and I couldn't imagine living one day without having contact with you. I wouldn't be alive if it hadn't been for you.
So, thank you, Sierra. I love you.