The last time I saw you was over a year and a half ago; you were chained at the wrists and ankles, and glowed a dim orange. The last time I spoke to you, over two years ago, I was sitting with a detective trying to coerce you into admitting your crimes over a wired phone call. I have a lot to say to you, big things and small things that have collected in a jar hidden away on a dusty shelf. I want you to know of these collectibles, and of the triumphs and tribulations that I have had to deal with on my own.
For a short while, I hurt; I hurt badly. One can never fully understand the pain a sexual assault victim feels, or how any victim of any crime feels for that matter, until they experience it for themselves. It does not feel like breaking a bone, or having a pet die. It definitely does not feel life being betrayed by a best friend. It feels like a severe wrenching in your gut, like all dignity you have ever had suddenly drained from the bottoms of your feet. It does not feel like losing a family member. It feels like losing yourself. I felt like screaming, but no one could hear me because I was at the bottom of a fish tank; only tiny bubbles could float to the surface. I was so hurt that I was lost, but of course, because I am myself, I roamed aimlessly with a smile on my face.
After the period of hurt ended, an extreme bout of curiosity settled in. Whenever I think of you, or the unfortunate event that happened, I do not feel pain anymore; I just wonder. Why would someone I trusted so much dare to hurt me the way you did? Did you really mean it when you said that I was “destined for great things”?
Well, if you meant it, you were right.
I have continued on with my life. I have worked hard every day to become the person that I ever wished to be. I became a Nationally Registered EMT in high school while graduating with honors, I am striving at the university of my dreams, and I get to celebrate every day surrounded by the best family and friends a girl could ever ask for.
The best thing that has come out of this, however, is the strength that I have gained to be a voice for the voiceless. Being able to advocate for others is one of the best gifts that I could ever have.
Despite the setback you created for me, I have and will continue to push on like the great person I was always destined to be.
I will end with this: I forgive you, and I hope that, out of all of this, you have learned a few lessons that will help you through the rest of your life's journey.
If you, or someone you know, has experienced sexual assault and are seeking help, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit https://www.rainn.org/get-help.