A Thought for My Rapists

I’ve never put much thought into what happened until recently. When I think of you and what happened, I’m not sure I feel anything. Over the years, I’ve constantly convinced myself that I was not allowed to feel any pain about what happened because I had no right to -- I wasn’t worthy enough. It wasn’t until another man violated me in a public space that it opened up the wound and caused all of my scars from what you both did to come pouring out.


I never understood the fear many women had of what men can do until you came along. You were the first man to ever violate my space and force me to wrap my head around an encounter that I should have never faced to begin with. I honestly couldn’t wrap my head around what happened so I acted like it never did. The one thing I was always good at was doing just that, but trying to box up being raped was a different monster.


The one thing I’ll never forget is your friend coming to me with what I felt were disguised intentions. He confronted me about what you did and tried to console me, but I didn’t need consoling because I had already dealt with it myself. And by dealing with it I mean convincing myself it didn’t happen.


For the most part, I tried to forget what you did but men constantly reminded me with the way they would violate my space by touching me inappropriately or exposing themselves when I didn’t ask for it or even hint at it. At this point, you really feel hopeless because “boys will be boys” and you do what you can about it, which to me was nothing. I was powerless in being able to stop men from doing whatever they wanted.


Another reminder of what you did came when I lost my supposed virginity, the one you took. He asked me why he didn’t feel himself “pop my cherry”, an awkward thing to ask but something I brushed off and made sure didn’t come up again. I debated on actually telling him but I knew it wasn’t worth it and I didn’t even trust him. Maybe it was the need to spit it out, I don’t actually know what caused me to consider it, but I was always glad I kept it to myself.


I don’t know who was worse, you or the one who came before you. Another man in my life who ended up violating me. It’s very hard to even think about what happened, it’s harder to put it into words even if it’s being typed. After you did what you did, I cried for hours. The worst part about you was having to see your face more often than not. That was exhausting, but again, my denial kicked in and I convinced myself again that it didn’t happen. Lying to myself about it became easier and easier.


The good thing about it was that I didn’t have to see your face for long because months later I would be leaving, but you did something I’ll never forget when I left. You said, “I hope you find what you’re looking for.”  For some reason, it lifted some sort of weight off my shoulders only to leave me wondering what I was really looking for. The only thing I knew was that I was trying to escape, but not just from you. I’m not even sure if I found what I was looking for or if I was looking for anything to begin with.


Being far away from everything that had caused me pain was beautiful. Being raped twice and violated multiple times caused me to hold my own heart hostage. Developing feelings for someone was hard after the first time I was raped, but after the second time it became much harder. I guarded my heart and used sex as a way to erase the past and give myself control. I needed things done to me sexually to give me back that control and to satisfy me. For about 2 or 3 years I was that way, using casual sex as a way to be in control of my life. I loved casual sex, and at times, I was very blunt with men about what I wanted. Over that time I really only developed feelings for one man which led me nowhere but down a road of stupidity, but that still didn’t stop me from enjoying casual sex the way I wanted to.


I was easily able to separate my feelings from sex and having feelings were like an on and off switch for me -- I could choose whether or not I wanted to feel. It’s hard to explain. I also knew I had a hard time relating to people. It was even hard for me to even care about their pain at times because that was the product. The product of boxing up feelings and telling myself that I have no right to feel them cost me many more things than it was probably worth.


It wasn’t until my space was violated for the last time that I snapped. I became forced to deal with everything that had happened. For a while, I was paranoid and felt dirty. It sparked a change in me that is most likely here to stay. My healing process began from there. This was what caused me to eventually open up about what happened to me to my current boyfriend, although it was very brief. But in that moment I began my healing process because I had finally talked about it with someone and he made me feel okay.


Sometimes I still feel as if what happened to me didn’t even happen and that I am not even allowed to have any feelings towards it. I know there is a lot of pain from it hidden deep down inside but I’ve chosen not to let it consume me and to move on with my life. I know I’ll never forget but I also know that I don’t have to live how I was living before. I can love unconditionally no matter what happened to me and how it made me feel. I know that I’m okay and it doesn’t change who I am or my self-worth.


I don’t hate all men or distrust all men because of what happened to me and I think it’s important to know that there is a difference between that and guarding your heart. I don’t hate the two men who raped me or any of the others who willingly chose to intrude on my space and body, I hold no malice towards them.


I know that any hate in my heart towards them would only harm me. I’ve chosen peace over pain.