An Open Letter to the Boyfriend who Raped Me
It’s been well over ten years, and I had thought that so much of this was behind, me until I went through something very similar about two years ago and everything came flooding back. I write this letter with an open heart, but a heart that hasn’t been whole in a long time. There are several hundred miles between us and I know you will probably never read this, and that’s okay, because I write this letter more for myself, and for the other women out there who have faced the same thing, to know that they are not alone. If you do happen to read this, I hope that you will read it with an open heart and understand the full extent of the damage you caused, but also know that I forgive you.
I remember the first time I saw you, the first time we locked eyes, I was young and innocent, and had never had a guy look at me that way. I loved that you were sweet to me and wanted to spend you time with me, but eventually, what you took from me broke me in ways that you will never even begin to understand. I really do want to believe that you have a good heart. You came from a good family, and I know you had things that you struggled with, and I think they had a direct impact on why you saw me the way you did.
I look back and smile on the good times, the extravagant dates, the sweet moments, the storybook romance, of the first few months. Those times were good, and to everyone else things seemed just fine, what they didn’t see was what went on behind closed doors, the tears, the guilt, the pressure, the hurt. It took me almost year and a half to even let the word rape show up on my lips, but when the story was told, when the people were taken out and all that remained were the details, that’s what it was.
Asking why will do no good, because I don’t think you even realize what you did was rape. I hope it wasn’t malicious but a power struggle, and was someway for you to feel better about yourself. What I want to know is why did my tears not affect you? How could you push me, especially when you knew my complete physical innocence and the guilt I felt about the things you were pushing me to do. How could you look into my eyes and see the tears running down my cheeks afterwards and not see the pressure you were putting on me and the guilt that I was feeling? How could you have sex with me, taking my virginity, while I was crying the entire time, telling you it was not what I wanted, that I wanted you to stop, let me sleep in the bathtub because I couldn’t face you, and roll over and go to sleep like nothing was wrong? How could you face people knowing that they knew you were cheating on me with multiple woman and that I had physically caught you with them, and yet you manipulated me to stay? How could you watch me be broken as a person and not care, and mutter the words I love you daily?
I wish that you had just let me go. I wish that you had seen me for the innocent girl that I was. I wish you hadn’t seen me as a conquest, as a girl who had never been kissed, as a girl you could mold and shape to what you wanted her to be. And I know I wasn’t the first that you manipulated, but thank goodness I do actually believe that I was the last. I wish you had realized that I wasn’t ready and let me walk away. I wish you had not held that knife to my throat and made me feel like I should have thought it was normal because it was “play.” I wish you hadn’t made me feel bad, for not drinking, and then used that pressure to get me drunk, so you could take what you wanted. I wish you hadn’t have taken my first kiss, my virginity, and my reputation. But beyond those things I wish you hadn’t taken my security in the woman that I was, the idea of the kind of man that I deserved to be with, my emotions, my tears, and my sanity. Most of all I wish you knew the things that have been caused as a ripple effect from those months with you, the panic attacks, the night terrors, the relationships with other abusers, and the marriage I lost. (partially over the fact that, my husband was scared to touch me because of what you did.)
I felt black on the inside. I felt numb, I had no emotions I didn’t cry more than a couple of tears at a time for years upon years. I tried to forget. I tried to forget your hands around my arm jerking me out of the car, and the night you pulled me out of a chair and drug me by my feet across the floor because I didn’t want to go to bed with you. I try to forget that I have been told by close friends of yours that you saw me as a conquest, and just wanted to add another cherry to your belt. They also told me that you thought that because I was a virgin, a “church” girl, and had made it clear that I wanted to wait until my wedding night that I was a challenge. I know you were young, and that you drank a lot at the time, I know you were deep down a good person but struggled with things, but none of that is an excuse for what you did. I have seen and heard over the years about the life and family that you have built, and for that reason I am glad that I was “brainwashed” enough to not consider pressing charges. You would have none of that now if I had pressed charges. It doesn’t mean that sometimes its hard to see you with your marriage and your kids and the happy life you have built when I have struggled for years.
People ask me why I stayed and I sometimes wonder if you even knew. But with the way I had been raised I knew sex before marriage was wrong and so i thought i had to marry you to make it right, and I already felt like the weird girl because I had never had a boyfriend, and to be honest the one or two days a week when things were good, seemed to make up for the really bad days. Because of this fact, I let myself stay hoping that things would change. We were talking about wedding plans, we were picking out names for kids, looking back I don’t know how much of that was real on your end, but I stayed because of those “promises”
I made choices I never would have made otherwise, including walking away from the life that I loved, the people that I loved, and the hope and faith that I believed so strongly in.
The things you said to me, the fact that I would be nothing without you, the fact that you would ruin my reputation if I left you, that I was a tease and a whore, that I was fat and ugly, those things broke me far greater than you will ever know. They have made me doubt myself. They made me think that the only kinds of relationships that I am deserving of, are ones where I am controlled and hurt and abused like the relationship we had. They have made me sit through counseling and journal to try to get past the anger and the distrust that has jaded my life.
I say all this to you, not to rehash, but to once and for all put it in front of your eyes what you did. There is an epidemic in this world where people don’t take responsibility for their actions. There is a reason that one in four women on a college campus is sexually assaulted and that most of them are assaulted by someone they know in a setting outside of “attack”. There is a reason that only a very small percentage of these assaults even get reported. These girls are shamed like I was not to tell. They are made to believe that it is their fault. They are made to believe that they are less of a woman if they admit it happens, and that no one else will ever want to love them. There needs to be accountability for actions like these.
I do hope and pray that real changes were made in your life. I hope for your wife’s sake that you look back on what happened and you regret it. I hope for your daughters sake her first boyfriend treats her with more respect than you did me. I hope you have grown up and learned from these mistakes. I hope you teach your son to value women, to cherish them, to protect them, and to listen when their lips, their emotions, their tears, and their actions say no.
I do forgive you for what you did. Its taken me a long time to be able to put these words down on paper, to say to you without anger what the facts were about how you made me feel and made me see myself. Forgiveness is something that has to be given for healing, even when there is no remorse, my only hope is that in knowing these things and in the light of how you feel about having your own daughter, I hope and pray that you would feel remorse and would have changed things if you could go back.
It’s taken me a lot of time to realize that what you did to me was no worse than things I have done in the eyes of the Lord and all of it is covered by grace if we ask. I know deep down in my heart that if you have truly ever asked for forgiveness that it has been granted , and so for me to harbor ill will and resentment is wrong. So I have to move forward, I have to forgive, I have to choose love over pain. I need to say the words that I forgive you. I have to hope that the Lord will continue the healing process. I have to hope that one day I will be fully healed.
I have chosen not to let this hold me back anymore. I have chosen to use my experiences to fuel my passion to help other women. I have chosen to love you and your family instead of hate. I have chosen to as much as is possible to be whole again. I want you to know for what it is worth that my heart could never fully hate you, I knew you were broken, I knew those were reasons for your actions. I would have been sad if someone had told me something happened to you. I actually hurt for your family when you had grandparents passed away. You never were a monster to me, but I just want you to know that even though they say that time will make you stronger and it will heal any wound, it doesn’t mean that you will be healed without any scars. I just realized that as time moved on there was no point in covering up my scars, they made me who I am. I realized there was no reason to hide, because I didn’t trust people. I realized there was no reason to continue to run to men just like you, because I feel like it was all I deserved, just because I had been hurt so severely.
And one more thing … I hope and trust that if this had to happen, that God will use it for his glory and something good will come of it.