To the man who sexually assaulted me,
How many other women can write this letter, referring to you as “the man who assaulted” her? How many other women have felt the pain you’ve put me through… the pain you’ve put my family through?
You are my rapist.
You took from me something I wanted to share with only the person I love. You owned me that night, and it doesn’t stop there because you haunted my mind long after that night came to an end. Do you remember? How you couldn’t deal with me not wanting you close, not wanting you inside of me. So you took it. That shattered me-- an already broken girl. You made me feel ashamed, embarrassed and disgusted. So ashamed, embarrassed and disgusted that I couldn’t even open up to the person I love. I couldn’t call him because I hated myself for having been manipulated by a being as weak as you are.
So it began, you loosening me up with wine and jokes, making me feel safe and comfortable enough to let my guard down. Afterall, you weren’t a hooded criminal in a dark alley. I knew you and I trusted you to never want to hurt me. But you took advantage of my trust, and I hated myself for being so naive. I blamed myself each and every day because I couldn’t find it in me to blame you. I guess that is what makes you such a skilled conman. Each move you made was strategically planned as if you were playing a game. One in which the only outcome was a win for you. The same game that you had clearly won before. One way or another, you would get what you went into that night wanting.
But your actions didn’t only hurt me, they hurt the people I love. I can deal with the pain you put me through, and I have, every day since. I blamed myself because I didn’t yell “no” and I didn’t yell “stop” but the next time a woman sits next to you and says “I do not feel comfortable with this” you will think twice before continuing to take what you wanted. If it is the very last thing I do, I will make sure that you do think twice because this won’t be the last time, I’m sure. But now you go out of your way to hurt the people I love because you have no other defense. You have no other defense because you were wrong. You were wrong to slide closer to me, not taking the hint when I shifted away. You were wrong to run your hands down my back when I closed up and moved away. You were wrong to deceive me into coming upstairs, only to push my back on the bed and turn me over. In that moment, I was yours, and that was no choice of mine. You violated me in a way that I could never have imagined. My chest sank with each movement you made, and to this day your actions weigh me down. You took more from me than you will ever know.
But I was wrong, too. I was wrong to think that the easy way out was to lay down and give in to your force because I couldn’t have known what you would have done if I did fight. I told my story to another woman, only to have her explain that she “knows the feeling," to roll over and allow a man to treat her like his property-- to treat her like she has no other choice because she is his. When in fact, I wasn’t yours for the taking. Every time you pushed further and further, I prayed to God to get me away from you. I held back tears when you whispered how great of a time you were having, leaning me over with my face held in the sheets.
If the first time you feel a bit of remorse for your actions is when you read this letter, you will know it’s directed at you. But know that my story is not just for him, but for every man who didn’t listen when she told you “no”. This is for the man who guided me to the bathroom in his bedroom rather than one of the many unoccupied-- that night, I cried out “no” again and again. This is for the man who took advantage of a fourteen-year-old me who had yet to learn her limits when it came to alcohol, who hid her under a blanket so he could do what he pleased. How many women did you take advantage of that night because you felt untouchable? Because you felt better than us?
You are a coward, a man incapable of satisfaction the right way, a man needing to assert his authority to submerge his insecurities. None of the other women you did this to were yours, and none of them wanted you. This is me taking back what you stole from each and every one of us. This is me, speaking up for my voice that was quieted, and every other woman’s voice that was quieted. You don’t own us anymore. I won’t let it fester, I won’t let you haunt me.
From me and every other woman you’ve kept up crying at night,
Go f*%!k yourself, you animal.