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An Open Letter

To The Man Who Raped Me

My first week of college, I was raped. For the longest time, I could not bring myself to say that I was raped. I started off by denying that it had ever happened to me. Yet when I finally did begin to accept that it had happened, I could only call it sexual assault. I denied myself the reality of what had happened in order to protect myself, but it only hurt me more.

To the person who took a piece of me without my permission, living with this burden has been the most painful weight placed on my shoulders. You not only hurt me, you hurt the people closest to me.

The piece of me you took is a piece of me that my family will never get back. It took me eight months to tell my parents that someone had hurt their first born daughter. It broke them, and it temporarily broke my relationship with them. I thought they were blaming me for what you did to me. To be quite frank, I still blame myself for what you did to me.

Nonetheless, you could not break that relationship. Telling them about your selfishness brought me closer to them. I now know that I can share anything with them. I now know that I have their unending support and love, no matter what I experience in life, and no matter how it shapes me.

The piece of me you took is a piece that I cannot give to the man I love. Almost a year and a half later, your actions have complicated aspects of my relationship that is hard for me to change.

Regardless, the man I am with loves me unconditionally. He loves me, missing piece and all. He has made a commitment to me that includes his patience towards any anxiety attack when I am reminded of what you did.

The most important relationship you ruined when you took a piece of me was my relationship with myself. There are days I hate myself so much that I cannot look in the mirror. You took my sense of safety. I could have reported your actions, you left behind enough evidence for me to do so; but I was alone and I was scared, and you walked away unscathed for the actions you took. I cannot see you on campus without completely panicking and feeling like I need to run back to my room and hide.

You ruined me. You ruined who I was. I am no longer the happy, carefree young woman I used to be. I am no longer the outgoing and independent social butterfly I had been before. I cannot go out without being terrified something will happen to me.

There is one thing, however, that you could never take from me, and that is my strength and ability to push forward. You took me away and replaced me with a shell of who I used to be. Yet I have endured, and I have not given up. I am still attending the same school where you hurt me, the same school where you currently walk carefree, unrestrained from any harm.

You took advantage of me, and left me to suffer the consequences of your actions. You took so much of me in so little time and left me to to rebuild myself which I am still in the process of doing.

However, I am resilient. I am strong. I am determined. I will fight against men like you for the rest of my life. I will never give up and you will no longer control me, or my life. I am independent and I am my own person, regardless of the hurt you caused me. I will become a better person than the one you stole.

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