Finding A Path To Forgiveness: A Letter To My Rapist
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Health and Wellness

Finding A Path To Forgiveness: A Letter To My Rapist

This is absolutely not a sad story. I will not let it be.

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Finding A Path To Forgiveness: A Letter To My Rapist
Blake Batey

Dear Rapist,

It was about a year ago when, while doing some homework with my TV on in the background, I heard the words statutory rape. Of course, I knew what statutory rape was, but I had not let myself think that I had been a victim of it. I started to spend more time thinking about the situation I had been put in at age fifteen and the more I did, the more emotional I became. I reached the lowest point of my life in regards to my mental health around this time and I decided that I needed to tell someone. I told my mother and a few close friends and thought I had found some healing in my life. Although I had told my mother, I still didn’t feel I was in a comfortable place in regards to accepting what had happened to me. So what did I do? I internalized my feelings, and as we all know, when people internalize their feelings, they will experience repercussions through their actions.

About a month ago, I drove by the neighborhood you shared with one of my relatives years ago. I was with a cool guy, on a first date, and instead of enjoying my time with him, I focused on the memories of the trauma that I had endured in your presence. I thought I had put those memories away, or that I had come to peace with the reality that I had been taken advantage of. Boy, was I so wrong. Instead of trying to get to know this new guy better, I was filled with a rage I had not felt in a long time. Instead of focusing on the person in front of me, I was focused on someone who stole a piece of me just so that they could feel alive one more time in their sad life.

The guy I was with had alcohol on hand and I was eager to drink away my thoughts. All I felt I needed was an outlet to clear the commotion that was going on in my head, but does alcohol really help you hide from anguish and pain? Obviously not, because for 5 days out of the next week, in a drunken haze, I tried to get attention from someone I barely knew in a desperate attempt to feel alive and less like a victim. I didn’t care about trying to get to know this new person anymore. I just wanted to laugh. I wanted to be held. I wanted to feel less like my whole world had been tilted at a 90-degree angle. Every day, as I headed to my new friend’s apartment, I thought of you as I passed by the neighborhood where some of my best and worst memories occurred. This was definitely a catalyst for my poor behavior. I allowed my grades to slip just so I could be somewhere where I didn’t feel so alone, and a month later, I’m still struggling to pull them back up.

After a week of neglecting my responsibilities, I woke up on my friend’s couch that Friday and picked up my backpack, which was residing next to my deflated pride and self-esteem and headed to class while vowing to respect myself more. I vowed to love myself more. I vowed to inform myself of what I deserve out of my friendships and relationships with others. I came home to my parents’ house and climbed into my mom’s bed and for the first time in many years, asked her to hold me while I slept. After regaining the physical and emotional energy I needed to heal from the past week of my life, I decided that staying in bed was nothing if not damaging to my recovery. So I got out of bed and I began to heal. I had told my mom about the rape, but still had many people I needed to tell. I had those hard conversations, and once I did I felt I could breathe a little easier. The weight on my chest had been lifted, but the impressions it made remained.

That Saturday, having spent all week trying to figure out where this new romantic endeavor was going, I cut it off, not because I didn’t want to get to know this person better (he was a pretty smart and cool guy), but because I had acted like a fool and neither one of us had made much of an effort to get to know each other on a deeper level. I felt strongly that I needed to process the events of the past week in solitude and without distraction. Maybe something will happen there in the future, but I’m fine with having a new friend to explore my city with nonetheless. After sitting with myself for a long time, I think I have a better idea of what I want in regards to relationships (compassion, dedication and most likely something open-ended, among other things) and friendships (honesty, loyalty, inspiration, etc). So with the utmost sincerity, I say thank you for bringing this whirlwind of emotions back into my life. Thank you for making me realize and devote attention to the sexual confusion I have felt since the rape. I’m grateful that I drove by your neighborhood. Because of you, I have been slapped in the face with a strong dose of reality, which has caused me to not only observe my sexual past with a microscope but all other areas of my life as well. I have found peace in spending time in nature and in getting more involved in photography, a hobby I let become unimportant a very long time ago. I’ve become a more creative individual because of the introspection you caused to occur within me.

I thought I had closure. Obviously, that was not true. I think I have it now. Closure, to me, looks like making sure all of our mutual friends know about the horrible position you allowed yourself to put me in. You are a sad, sad man and I pity you. This is something that’s changed within myself the past couple weeks. I’m no longer angry at you. I don’t understand your actions and after trying hard for years to process them, I am done attempting to process the situation. I may not have found closure in the way I wanted to, but I think I found it nonetheless. I won’t be attempting to prosecute you. The statute of limitations is up, and your mind is withering due to the traumatic brain injuries and dementia that you’ve brought upon yourself with your reckless decisions and habits. I won’t call it karma. I think your path was set in stone long before you came into my life.

This is absolutely not a sad story. I will not let it be. I am an intelligent, charismatic, resilient, compassionate, honest and incredibly funny (that’s what I think and that’s all that matters) individual. I let you make me forget that. I know myself and my boundaries more than I ever have before. I have overcome mountains in my personal and professional life and I need to let myself appreciate myself and my accomplishments more because they have built me into such a strong person. I am so powerful. I am a great friend to those I care about and I will do my best to keep them on the right paths in their lives. I have so much love to give to the ones I care about and I will continue to give it as long as I’m breathing.

When I first shared this on Facebook, I was overwhelmed by the support of the ones around me. I can see with absolute confidence that at the moment, I am in the happiest place I have ever been in my life. I have found peace within myself. I’m loved and I’m supported and there is no greater feeling. I have reached a fork in the road, and I am heading in the right direction: to peace and clarity.

Sincerely,

A Warrior

To the readers:

I’m writing this because I wanted to share this story in the hopes that someone else will find comfort in it. I think so many people who have been a victim of statutory rape feel as though their feelings are not valid because they were not brutally attacked or because they gave consent. Minors cannot give consent. These feelings are valid. Adults know better, and people like me should not feel ashamed for being too young to understand the reality of what sex with a much older person means. Teenagers should be viewed as teenagers and not as sexual objects for an adult to pursue. I want to leave readers that have experienced this with 5 DO’S and DON’TS:

DO:

  • Love yourself. Respect yourself. You’re worth it dude.
  • Learn from your experience. While rape is an absolutely horrible thing for someone to endure, you have survived and you are stronger than you have ever been in your life. You are alive, so do your best to love yourself while living.
  • Tell your story when you’re ready. You will ABSOLUTELY find support everywhere you look and you just might find relief as well.
  • Spend time with nature, dude. It can be so helpful in shaping your perspective in a positive way.
  • Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. You will never find peace if you let the past influence you in the present.

DON’T:

  • Feel ashamed. You were a victim, but now you are a survivor. None of the blame is on you.
  • Try to drink away your feelings, especially with new people you hardly know.
  • Lost sight of your goals and the things you love about yourself.
  • Be afraid to cry. Sometimes you need to let it all out before you can move on.
  • Justify the abuser’s actions. We as a society have allowed ourselves to become so obsessed with putting a victim of sexual assault in the hot seat. You are not on trial and even though it might seem as such sometimes, you are strong, resilient, brave and you are helping transform our society into one in which victims of abuse have a thunderous voice, regardless of whether prosecution is a priority in their lives.
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