By an Anonymous Contributor
Maybe this will be therapeutic. I never had my turn in court. Names have been changed.
To my rapist…
I’ve been having this recurring dream. I’m in a house where everything is made of glass, my Mum is there when a girl appears. She’s trying to get to me, to hurt me. She keeps picking up things to use against me but my Mum just calmly takes them off her and there’s no place to hide. Then you turn up. Handsome and smiling. Telling me you love me and you’re going to marry me, and you lead me right to the girl. My Mum can’t stop it and the girl stabs me in the side while you tell me it’s all okay. And then I realise she’s an angel and I wake up.
Dream you is the first version of you I remember. The version I saw on Tinder. Swiped right on. The version that messaged me and told me how beautiful I was and called me to talk to me for hours. The version I picked up for coffee that night. We made one mocha last 5 hours. You made me feel excited about what was to come. I was cautious and guarded and you told me I had no reason to be. Let my guard down. So I kissed you and you told me how you believed in love at first sight and that we were going to be good. You told me everything I wanted to hear. How I lifted you up and made you better. Before me it was dark.
My nickname became Mrs Smith. You sent me messages that were almost poetic and made me feel like I was floating. You were my good karma finally coming back to me. We couldn’t wait to be together. And when we finally got into that hotel room it was like two waves colliding into each other. Intertwined. All over each other. Laughing, loving… You held me close and told me you loved me and that you knew I felt the same way towards you. I don’t know what I felt, but I liked it in your arms. And then we went out and danced and laughed and you called me yours.
Then later back in the room I was feeling on cloud nine. We were wrapped up in each other when I giggled “no babe”.
Then the giggling stopped. I begged you to stop. Over and over. I kept saying your name to get you to see me. You looked right through me. You kept telling me you loved me and were going to marry me. It hurt. I cried. Your hand at my throat. It wasn’t until I threatened to scream that you stopped.
Then it was your turn to cry. And I felt bad for you. You’d got carried away. You made me say what you had done. “Tell me what I did to you!” You told me you were twisted and had never intended to rape me and you were sorry. Then you left. And I panicked. I needed you to come back. If you did you could be the guy who I thought you were and who had just gotten carried away and we could make this better. If not…you were something else. You came back. And I made it better.
The next morning there was a shift. You were distant. Hungover. Until it came time for us to say goodbye. Maybe you could sense my anxiety rising because in the car park you grabbed me and hugged me and told me how you loved me and kissed me. The kiss that would save you.
You were in my head all day. Underneath the numbness, I ached. I text you to tell you you needed to have some thinking time. You weren’t happy. Then I asked you why you did that to me. I couldn’t bring myself to type the word “rape”. Then it crystallised for me when my phone pinged. “I saw your fear and I liked it”. Would you do this to me again? “I can’t predict the future.”
Sat in a supermarket car park, I crumbled. Reading over the texts. I rang my best friend crying. I never call. She picked up straight away and in a voice that cracked asked me what would I do if it were her or one of my sisters?
So I walked inside and fell down crying in front of my Step mum and dad. And I cried. In front of the police officer in my front room, in the arms of my teenage sisters – they didn’t know that I did it for them. You text. “I’m sorry”.
I was stripped naked in front of a doctor, a police officer and a camera on record when you sent your last message – “you called the police?” I didn’t reply. It was too late. My dad pacing silently outside the door. He still hasn’t said anything about it. My Mum on the motorway, crying, 5 hours away from walking through my door.
Armed with a letter from the police, the nurse at A&E read it. She got tears in her eyes and stroked my hair and told me I was beautiful. I didn’t feel it. I felt stupid and naive. She had me wait in a side room away from everyone else to protect me. I fell asleep with my step mum watching over me in between pills and injections. The lovely little nurse coming in with a sandwich and orange juice at 3am. “This one is going to be sore. I’m sorry”. And I cried again.
Waking up at home my Mum and sister had made the drive to see me. She didn’t know what to do. So she tidied up around me and took me for coffee and to buy me a dressing gown. It’s really soft. It makes me feel safer. She held my hand at the GUM when they talked to me about PrEP. You were low risk they said, but how much did I trust you? It could make me very sick. For the next month every time I threw up it was a reminder of you.
You on the other hand seemed to move on fast. You met a girl within a month and less than two weeks later she was calling herself Mrs Smith too. She has a bible verse posted on her Instagram. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” That makes me sad.
The vision I have of you twists into something else. The poetic texts turned out to be quotes from Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. The way you huddled me in the corner of the bar and had your hand on my throat as you kissed me wasn’t you being charming, it was you being possessive. You insulted the two women who were nice to us and used it to compliment me. “They’re nothing in comparison to you. You’re gorgeous, they’re ugly”. You took my bank card out of my back pocket without me realising it and laughed when I panicked about it. You didn’t give it me back until after I cancelled the card. “Look after your stuff better. People can take advantage.”
Only 5% get charged. It’s what you say vs what I say but not everyone has messages like I have on my phone. I read them when I doubt myself. When I have to sit in an office and have a recorded interview. When I have to give my phone to the police to copy. I’m not allowed to delete them. I’m not allowed to go to therapy yet. It’ll be okay. I have the messages.
But you have that kiss on CCTV. In the car park of the hotel from the morning after. And I don’t have internal injuries. The sergeant tells me that he knows what happened. That you complimented me at every turn and manipulated me and the messages are “alarming” and “compelling evidence”. It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. But a jury might not believe me. And that’s it. No further action.
Now I have a different vision of you. When I think of you now I think of the child you were. You told me how you hated your mum for keeping your dad from contacting you after he left. You told me stories about how you used to sit in the tattoo shop while she had some more ink and you always wanted to have that bulldog tattoo, holding up his fists ready to fight. You must have felt quite angry. Causing trouble and bouncing between schools. You hate your baby’s Mum. You called her “it”. I found out her name later. She looks like me. I hope you didn’t hurt her too.
If I could go to the little boy version of you sat in the tattoo shop wondering where Dad was I’d give him a hug and tell him he’s worth loving. That he can be so much more than he thinks he can be. But it’s too late now and I can’t fix what has happened. You’re a tornado tearing up lives as you pass through. You’re a loaded gun and your bullet grazed me. But it’s just a wound. And it will heal. I think time will reveal that in the end you’re not the only one who got off lightly