By an Anonymous Contributor
An open letter to my rapist:
I have tried to write this letter so many times I have lost count. Every time I start to write this I am so overcome with my emotions that I cannot continue. But, today, January 4th, 2019, is the day you will no longer have that power over me. This day has no significance aside from being the day where I belong to myself again. I am in control again. I am strong again…
On August 27th, I met you while my head was out a car window, vomiting profusely. My hair was covered in vomit and my makeup was smeared across the entirety of my face after I had gotten kicked out of a bar for not being able to stand up. To most, I looked like a typical college freshman who didn’t know how much alcohol she could handle. But to you, I was simply easy prey. You thanked my friend for handing me over to you, as if I was a prize you had won, and walked me up six flights of stairs to your room. You then proceeded to have sex with me as I threw up in your bed. There is a blurry area when it comes to consent and alcohol consumption, but there was no blurry area that night. How could I possibly have consented when I could not even recall what happened the following day. I may not have known what your face looked like, but I knew your heart. You had enough nerve to have sex with a drunk, sick girl while she threw up in your bed. From that, I knew everything I needed to know about your morals.
What kills me the most is how long I have spent blaming myself for your actions. If I hadn’t drank so much or if I had dressed more conservatively maybe I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this. But, it did happen. I was raped. But the truth is, if you hadn’t raped me I know in my heart it would have been someone else. This wasn’t a mistake or a coincidence, you knew what you were doing was wrong and you put your pleasure above my entire life and future anyway. I promise you, you will not break me. You will only make me stronger. I refuse to continue to live with guilt and shame while you life free of worry. I wish your life was affected like mine was. I couldn’t protect myself from you and that absolutely kills me but I am done reliving that night. Although I will live with the impacts of your actions for the rest of my life, I will use them to help others. I will use them to help other girls whose lives are forever scarred by monsters like you. You have made my mission very clear.
I wish you understood the pain you have caused me but there is no possible way for you to know. There is no way for you to know what it is like to listen to your father crying when you call him and tell him you were raped. There is no way for you to know what it is like learning about rape in a class and having 20 of your peers watch you cry. There is no way for you to know what it is like to skip lunch simply because you are afraid to see your rapist in the dining hall. There is no way for you to know what it is like staring at the ceiling each night for hours on end because you know if you close your eyes you will see your rapist’s face.
There are a few things I hope everyone and anyone who reads this takes away from this: 1. It can happen to anyone. In high school, I always had pepper spray on me and was willing to voice my opinion about anything I felt strongly about. I liked to think this is why I appeared strong willed and why very few people ever messed with me. But, if I’m being honest, that would be because my dad is a police officer. It seems like since I could walk my dad has been teaching me how to protect myself but even that was not enough. In high school I rarely drank and when I did it seemed I was always the one caring for my sick friends. I never thought this would happen to me because of how aware I am of myself and my surroundings, but it did. I let my guard down. When you see a girl who is too drunk, make sure she gets home safely. When you see a girl is uncomfortable from a boy’s actions, intervene. When you know something isn’t right, report it. Although it is overwhelming and terrifying, remember it could happen to someone else next. And that “someone else” is someone’s daughter or sister or best friend, just like you.
2. It is not your fault. I have spent countless hours feeling sorry for myself and then immediately feeling anger and guilt for pitying myself. Give yourself time to grieve but do not let it consume you. You are allowed to get drunk. You are allowed to wear what you want. If you blame yourself for simply living your life, your rapist is winning. None of this is your fault. Remember that. Try not to feel guilty for your friends and family. I know it’s hard but they are only hurting so much because they care about you so much.
3. It will get easier. I have turned to a lot of quotes that resonated with me to help me but my favorite is a Maya Angelou quote. She writes, “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” In a few years I hope I am stronger from what I have experienced, but for now, I’m working on it and that is okay too. You can’t heal overnight, I’m reminded of that quite often. But what gets me through is knowing that down the road, maybe, just maybe, I will be able to help girls that have also been raped because of what I have gone through.
In a few years, I hope you see my name in a newspaper or on tv and are reminded of the selfish actions you took on August 27th. And in a few years, I hope I no longer see your face or remember your name. I will succeed because of you. I will succeed not because I need to prove you wrong but because I know, I can beat this. I will succeed for me. I am strong. This will not break me, I will not let it. I am no longer your victim. You no longer own me.