I Don’t Hate My Rapist; He Doesn’t Deserve It

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault


From the moment a girl is old enough to walk, talk and understand that she is seen as sexual prey, she 

is taught a set of tactics to prevent herself from becoming a victim of sexual violence.  


Cover your drink. Let someone know where you are and when you’ll be back. Try not to walk outside at 

night. If you must, then walk with a group. If you can’t, then walk with a weapon. 


A girl is forced to relinquish her childhood so early, and trade it for paranoia and an understanding that 

there is no finish line to emotional freedom; she is forever at risk of sexual violence.  


An accompanying image is the Man in the Dark: a Predator and an Enemy, shown to us as an evil 

stranger who will jump out at us from the shadows and force himself upon us. Some girls may even 

become accepting of another image, just as cartoonish and comforting in its absoluteness: the Knight. 

This is the man a girl can trust. He’ll walk her home, or to her car. He’ll stay on the phone with her and 

make sure she’s safe. He exists in every woman’s mind to protect her from the Man in the Dark.  


However, the truth is rarely so simple, and far less comforting. Neither the Man In The Dark, nor the 

Knight, exist. The men in every woman’s life is a concerning combination of the two and, no matter 

how long she has known him or how harmless he may seem, there is always a risk that he will turn on 

her as predator turns on their prey.  


I thought I was safe. I thought my rapist would have never in a million years do the things he did to me. 

In my mind, he was the Knight; he was soft and safe, my best friend. I did not even consider that he had 

sexual desires.  


In The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, Emilie Autumn describes her take on safety and risks as a  

woman in the United States in the 1990s and 2000s. Autumn proposes: 


You’ve been told to look both ways before crossing the street, and the sidewalk is your friend, 

right? Wrong. I’ve spent years walking sidewalks at night. I’ve looked around me when it was 

dark, when there were men following me, creeping out of alleyways, attempting to goad me 

into speaking to them and shouting obscenities at me when I wouldn’t, and I suddenly realised 

that the only place left to go was the middle of the street. But why would I risk it? Because the 

odds are in my favour. In the States, someone is killed in a car accident on average every 12.5 

minutes, while someone is raped on average every 2.5 minutes. Even when factoring in that, 

one, I am generously including ALL car-related accidents and not just those involving 

accidents, and two, that the vast majority of rapes still go unreported […] And, thus, this is 

now the way I live my life: out in the open, in the middle of everything, because the middle of 

the street is actually the safest place to walk. 


I did not report my rapist or try to punish him in any way. Truly, I felt no desire to. After being so 

violated and betrayed, all I wanted in the entire world was to have some taste of power and security. I 

knew personally I could not find that in a police report. And I find that my behavior is changed since 

that night. I no longer bother with walking on the sidewalk, as Emilie Autumn described. I treaded 

carefully on the sidewalk my entire life, and I trusted that as long as I lived carefully by the set of rules 

taught to girls from the moment they can walk, talk, and understand that they are seen as sexual prey, 

that I would be safe. In the end, nothing kept me safe, and I found out the Knight and the Man in the 

Dark were the same all along.  


Now, I do what I want, I go where I want, and my fear is minimal. I decided no Man in the Dark could 

ever violate me the way my Knight did. Each day I live my life openly and fully. I allow myself to feel 

every emotion so much more, because it is how I have learned to heal my mind and body. I have 

learned to be vulnerable. I have grieved my Knight, and I will continue to grieve the betrayal he 

committed against me for the rest of my life. However, I have come out on the other side of this event 

as a stronger woman, who lives her life more freely, and more forgiving of myself. 


I don’t hate my rapist; he doesn’t deserve it. He doesn’t deserve my hate, my love, my time, or my 

thoughts. I processed him, and processed the event, and moved on with my life. I allow myself to feel 

everything thoroughly as it exists in the present, but as part of my healing, I do not allow myself to step 

back into the past. I am a new creation, walking in the middle of the street.