My rapist- is what I called him.
But I refuse to take ownership of him. I refuse to take the blame for actions. I refuse to hold on to the guilt. Today, I let it all go.
My story begins in a high school biology class. A seemingly harmless flirtation, which eventually led me into his arms. He was perfect to me. He wrote poetry and letters, he was over the top with his actions and words. He put on a show, for the world, and for me. No one could look away.
Years passed. Everyone loved us (him). He spoke, people listened. He became president of the senior class, I stood by his side silently. We went to prom. I felt so beautiful. As soon as we were in front of the cameras, the feeling dissapated. He posed, he smiled, he laughed, and I was gone.
I didn’t even know I was silent. I didn’t even know I was invisible.
I didn’t know what it was when I asked him to cut his nails when he would finger me, and he would refuse. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to bleed. I didn’t know it wasn’t supposed to hurt.
I didn’t know what it was when told him how badly it hurts me, and he ignored my pleas.
I didn’t know what it was when he ripped my underwear and bit me, without my permission.
I didn’t know what it was when he would leave bruises on my thighs and hips.
I didn’t know what it was when he forced his penis into my vagina without protection after I told him no.
I didn’t know what it was when I cried after my anus was penetrated.
I didn’t know what it was when, no matter what I said, how badly it hurt, he wouldn’t stop until he finished.
I didn’t know what it was when he had his hands around my neck.
I know now.
This is rape.
On the outside, we looked absolutely perfect.
He is the president now of the student body at a major university. He speaks opening against sexual assault as an activist. He speaks about “no” meaning “no” and the women around him, praise him.
Years after the abuse and assaults, I finally found my voice again.
I reported him to the authorities.
During the case, the investigators had already made up theirs minds- he was not responsible.
My journals entries following the abuse, I handed to them with such vulnerability. They took my words.
All they saw from the
“I cried after making love”
All they saw were the letters and poetry. All they saw was what everyone else saw.
They closed their eyes to the confused child on the other end of the pages. “I can not see her. I do not hear her” The child who did not know what rape was. The child whose only experience with sex, was rape. Of course, it had been normalized to me. I only knew the tears.
He spoke so loudly, it burned my ears. He made himself the victim. And they listened, as they always have.
He was found not responsible.
He will walk free.
I was devastated.
But I am a woman, now.
Today, let it all go.
I used my voice to find the power I had inside all along. His actions are recorded. My time was no wasted, and neither is my life.
The time I spent daydreaming about how to end my life, how to bring more pain upon myself, is over. The anger and shame and sadness.
I will not do to myself as he has done to me.
Today, I disown my rapist, but the story, the story is mine.
Today, I let it all go.
— Survivor, age 21