To My Rapist,
It torments me to think about how many other women may be able to start a letter like that because of you. There are about a hundred people in my life who want to hurt you and make you suffer for what you did to me.
I don’t want an apology. I never want to see you again. Honestly, I don’t know why I am even writing to you. I guess it’s because of what Maya Angelou once said: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” I’m writing this to make peace with what you did. So here it goes...
I will never forget the date I thought my life might end. September 30, 2016.
I hate every moment of the time I waste thinking about you and what you did. Every second of every flashback and recurring dream makes my skin crawl. That’s the ugly beast that is PTSD. Sure, in the months following the night that you got on top of me despite me fighting back the best I could, my mind protected me from the details of what you did. The human brain is pretty amazing that way I guess. I blocked out parts of the night to protect my sanity, what little of it I had left.
At first, I slept; for hours and hours. I spent my time numbing the pain so I couldn’t feel anything too deeply. I avoided anything that could possibly remind me of that night. I withdrew from my friends. I thought my life was over. But eventually, those details that I suppressed came back more and more to haunt my dreams. Eventually, I stopped sleeping altogether. That was when I couldn’t handle it anymore. I broke my silence for fear that I would start listening to the thoughts of my worthlessness and guilt.
I’ll never excuse what you did. Who ever could? I don’t acquit you for your heinous actions. You don’t deserve to be acquitted of responsibility for your choices.
What you did to me does not translate into who I am. I own what happened. Owning my identity of being a survivor takes back the ownership you had over my body that night. It takes back the ownership you had over my mind when every thought for many months after was of you.
I choose to see good in the world despite people like you. I choose not to let you ruin my life. You didn’t win in this situation. I guess nobody really wins. But I stayed in school when I was told I could go home instead. I kept my job even though I had anxiety just leaving my house in the morning. I kept going despite the voice in my head telling me how ashamed I should be for what you did.
I won’t call you a monster, but I won’t call you a man either. A man doesn’t treat a woman like that. But calling you a monster dehumanizes you.
Although many people in my life want to hurt you, I forgive you. I don’t forgive you because you deserve to be forgiven. Forgiveness isn’t for you. It’s for me. I’m making peace with what happened. And besides, it isn’t my place to judge you. You are a sinner. I am a sinner. After all, we are both only human and Jesus died on the cross to save us both. It was never His will that I was raped, or that you hurt me. I’m sure He’s hurting even more than I am because of what you did to me. But in the end, He will be the one to judge all of us sinners and determine who is worthy of entering His Heaven.
I choose life, despite wanting it all to be over. I choose peace, despite the torment in my head.
You’ll never get the satisfaction of my life ending.
Sincerely,The Survivor Who’s No Longer Your Victim.