A Letter to my Rapist
An explanation of what you have done.
For: My Rapist,
My rapist. As I type that out, a few things coming flooding: ownership. It seems as though I own you, when it was the exact opposite — and sometimes still is; You owned me. My body during the attack, the subsequent thoughts. But, we’ll get into that in a second. The other thing that enters my mind is the question of how many other people can start a letter off with “my rapist”. It took me several months for those words to escape my lips without breaking down from a debilitating anxiety attack, plagued with uncontrollable shakes, shallowed breaths, racing heart, sweaty palms, and the irrepressible nausea.
I have often thought about that night. Flashbacks. Nightmares. Whilst crying myself to sleep. Walking through the hallways at school. Whilst driving — that’s probably the worst.
I almost took 3 incompletes during that semester. My counselor told me i could finish the coursework during the summer, after things settled down. After I could sleep more than 3 hours a week. After I stopped self-harming, erratically driving, abusing alcohol. After I no longer believed suicide to be only option.
Well, I finished out the semester. Certainly not for me, but in spite of you. That was the one thing i was not going to allow you to take from me as you already took so much: my trust, my sleep, my appetite, my ability to go through a day without a breakdown, my job… You WERE NOT getting my academics, too.
I just wanted to thank you for abolishing my already shoddy trust. You were a friend. Someone I trusted. Someone I have known for over a decade. I already possessed trust issues from other trauma that occurred earlier in my life. Then… you violated me. While I am sleeping off the alcohol that you so generously made sure I possessed a full cup… at all times. You undressed my semi-unconscious, completely sleeping body. Why did this seem okay to you? You knew full well I am a lesbian. Just because back in tenth grade we did everything but engage in coitus didn’t give you the right. Unconscious = no consent.
Thank you for stealing my sleep. For months I was averaging 5 hours maximum a week. I honestly don’t know how I did not die of sheer exhaustion.
Thank you for stealing my appetite. I didnt like to eat anyway. Losing 16 pounds in 3 weeks was certainly the healthiest thing I could have done. -_-
Thank you for creating such panic within me that even someone simply your height would send me into a 15 minute panic attack, which would inevitably leave me feeling even more exhausted and broken; yet, I was unable to close my eyes, because there you were. I was unable to keep them open, because there.you.were. I couldn’t go to walmart without someone else. I still talk on the phone with someone whilst there, in the odd chance we run into each other.
I had to quit my job because aformentioned break downs and anxiety attacks happened too frequently as I was out in the community with my clients. I couldn’t ensure my own safety, how was I to ensure theirs?
I evaded you skillfully for a legit, solid two months.
Until… you showed up at my house. On a Tuesday. Two months and 7 days after the rape. I contemplated suicide that day. After you walked into my backyard, striking up a pittiful “woe is me” conversation with my father. I doubt you noticed, as you are too far into your own self loathing to notice, the sheer panic, fear, and anxiety seeing you gave me. You had to wonder why I did not say hi to you. You had to wonder why I left 5 minutes after you arrived. During the exodus, I almost crashed my car into a tree. Stupid idea to drive while hyperventilating and tears obstructing my vision. But, it felt safer to almost run into a tree than it did being 30 feet away from you.
I hate you. I think I always will. But, in a 100% honest way, thank you for making me this way. Fucking me up as much as you did because you made me see my true calling in life: I changed my major from nursing to psychology with intentions of becoming a board certified mental health counselor with a specialty in trauma, specifically rape victims suffering from PTSD, depression, and suicidal ideation.
A fucked up, yet better version of someone you used to know.
Rape. We wince, we think of it as a “bad” word. Taboo, even. Well, it is something that is too common. Something that needs to be spoken about; something that needs to be addressed at a federal level. Now, I am not looking to take this post to the White House, but it does need to be circulated.
What is rape culture, you ask? According to Marshall University,
“Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.
Rape Culture affects every woman. The rape of one woman is a degradation, terror, and limitation to all women. Most women and girls limit their behavior because of the existence of rape. Most women and girls live in fear of rape. Men, in general, do not. That’s how rape functions as a powerful means by which the whole female population is held in a subordinate position to the whole male population, even though many men don’t rape, and many women are never victims of rape. This cycle of fear is the legacy of Rape Culture.”
Time to stand up and make a difference. If these harrowing statistics from RAINN (rainn.com) don’t ignite a fire, I don’t know that anything will.
- 94% of women who are raped experience post-truamatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms during the two weeks following the rape.
- 30% of women report PTSD symptoms 9 months after the rape.
- 33% of women who are raped contemplate suicide.
- 13% of women who are raped attempt suicide.
- Approximately 70% of rape or sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime.
- 79% of survivors who were victimized by a family member, close friend or acquaintance experience professional or emotional issues, including moderate to severe distress, or increased problems at work or school.
- Every 109 seconds, another person is sexually assaulted.
- Sexual violence affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. While we’re making progress — the number of assaults has fallen by more than half since 1993 — even today, only 6 out of every 1,000 rapists will end up in prison.