Shared Stories

Sexual Assault: ‘Forgiveness’

By an Anonymous Contributor

02.08.19. Forgiveness

Right away I wanted to forgive you. To accept that bad things happen, embrace my inner strength and generosity, decide that it was fine. I would come out more kind, more warm, put it behind me as a test of character I was able to learn from. But that isn’t what happened. I am cold, I am anxious, I am self-conscious, I am stuck. And sometimes more than anything else, I am mad. Nowadays every time something small happens, I am brought back to an ever-growing list of bad experiences and I am propelled into a fury I didn’t even know I had the capacity to feel. I’ve wanted to hurt you, emotionally and physically. I’ve daydreamed about seeing you scared. Feeling the fear that I felt. I wanted to become strong, a good fighter, I wanted a redo where I win. I want your friends to know what you are. Your family to know what you are. And thinking about this anger makes me insane, and I don’t know what to do with it, because until now I have rarely been angry. I want it to go away. More than anything else, I want you to say sorry, and I want to forgive you.

But you won’t do that, and it’s hard. How can I forgive someone without remorse? You seem almost inhuman to me. I looked you in the eyes, begged you, told you how scared I was, asked for your compassion from one human to another. And you didn’t give it to me. Do you think of that night often, like me? Do you remember it in your saddest moments? The anguish you caused, the hurt you made another person feel? Do you wonder if I’m okay now? If it was reversed, that night would haunt me all the time. Or did you stay remorseless, unmoved, entitled? The scariest thought – have you done it again?

Now seven months have passed, and I want desperately to finally move on. To be able to talk with people about my experience entirely in the past tense, when it isn’t something I still struggle with. I don’t know how exactly, and I don’t know if it will ever be completely behind me, but I want to feel at peace. I think I am ready to forgive you. This doesn’t mean what you did is okay, or that you deserve to be free from guilt. But it means that genuinely, with all my heart, I hope you can learn. I hope that this doesn’t haunt you, but that it changed you, has made you grow. I hope you can become better. I am rooting for you.

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