I had written a post recently about the idea of letting go. Releasing demons, forgiving ourselves and those who have wronged us. I decided that I needed to practice what I was preaching. I wrote a Facebook message to the man who raped me telling him that I forgave him.
I told him that I had decided to forgive him solely for the benefit of my psyche. I stated that I didn’t know or care if this made a different in his life one way or another. I can not hold on to the hate, the pain any longer. After about two days, I received a response. It was absolutely shocking to me.
He informed me that my decision to forgive him cam as an utter shock to him. He said that he did not feel that he had done anything that needed to be forgiven. This after he called me from jail. Few years ago saying how sorry he was that he had hurt me. This after about three months ago he wrote me a message saying how much he loved me then and still does to this day. How much he admired and respected me. How his biggest regret in life is the pain that he had caused me. But now, no, he did no wrong by me.
He went on to recap that night as he said he remembered it. He said that remembered that he had spent the night at my house. I had been studying for a test and then we drank peach schnapps. This is for the most part true. However, he didn’t drink all that much looking back on it. He was steadily trying to feed me alcohol, but he drank maybe one glass. It is here that his story veers far from reality. He said that I was talking about how I wished my boyfriend at the time was more aggressive in bed, how I was irritated that I had to initiate sex all the time. I don’t recall “going on” about this, but it does have a slight ring of truth to it. I have always been sexually aggressive when within the confines of a committed relationship. The issue is that he is using my desire for my boyfriend to take the lead in bed as an excuse for sexual assault. He was “taking the lead” because I wanted it.
This is the excuse given by many a rapist to many a rape victim, isn’t it? We are all asking for it. The chorus to one of my favorite Hole songs goes, “Was she asking for it?/ Was she asking nice?/ Yeah, she was asking for it/ Did she ask you twice?” Wear a short skirt or a low cut top? Asking for it. Dance with a guy at a club? Asking for it. Kiss a guy, but have no desire to take things further? Oh, you are most certainly asking for it. Me? I apparently was literally asking for it.
The fact that I was crying and trying to get out from under him? He states that he remembered that I was upset that my boyfriend would be mad. Yeah, possibly because he said, “You’re such a slut. J*** is going to dump your ass!” Hum, wonder why I would think that my boyfriend might be mad?
What I didn’t know then, and what I wish wasn’t a truth that I have to know now, is how sadly common rape is. So prevalent in fact that the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (or RAINN) reports that every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted. This comes out to 237,868 victims a year in the United States.
I fell in with the 44% of victims that are under the age of 18. With the 2/3 of assaults that are committed by someone known to the victim. Actually, 38% of rapists are “friends” with their victims. For me, this was the aspect of the rape that fucked me up the most. This man was my best friend. Someone who I trusted. He was not some unknown monster that came out of the darkness when I was on some dark alley. No, this was a man that I trusted enough to admit for the first time that I had been repeatedly molested as a young child. I suppose this gave him a window into a weakness that he could exploit. I made an ideal victim. And this was not just the case with me. No, sadly a female child who is victimized is 7 times more likely to be re-victimized later in life. Ironically, I had heard stories from mutual about two girls who said that this guy raped them, but I believed him whole-heartedly when he told me that they were lying. I later learned what a paths logical liar he is/was. After the night in question, he actually called everyone that we knew and were friends with to tell them that it was I who had raped him! He informed them that I was going around spreading lies about him, and that people should not listen to a word that I had to say. Fortunately, everyone knew that this was bullshit, a complete fabrication, a demonic twisting of reality.
Actually, I suppose it could have been a lot worse. When he called me from jail with his apology, yeah, guess what he was in there for? Not just for rape, but kidnapping, sexual sadism and holding someone against their will. He was again charged a few years later with sexual assault, so I was far from his only victim.
A rape changes a woman’s life forever, in all aspects. I knew him, he was my best friend actually. Obviously, I have severe trust issues now. I have very few actual, true friends. I can not near to be hurt again, I would rather just be shut off from people. This is no way to live, but I can not get over the fear of being vulnerable and then crushed again. I have severe PTSD, while much better now, will never be gone.
PTSD is an absolutely horrible, alienating disease. Some nights, I would wake up in the middle of the night screaming and shaking. Other nights, my husband would wake me up because he would say that I was crying and saying, “No!”, over and over. I relived that night thousands of times, each as vivid and painful as the night it happened. PTSD makes the victim impossibly needy. The lack of sleep contributes to an extreme paranoia. I still to this day think that everyone is just waiting to fuck me over. I am more than cautiously guarded, I am I obsessed with the idea of people wanting to hurt me for their own sick amusement. The flashbacks are similar to virtual reality, while you are in the middle of one, it seems totally real. Similar to acid flashbacks. (That is why acid is one of the only drugs that I have never done. I am terrified of the flashback that I may experience.) To the person experiencing them, they are sickeningly real.
The problem is that my story is no longer shocking. With one in three women being raped or sexually assaulted at some point in their life, as a society we are all to used to rape. There is a whole show, Law and Order: SVU, that deals exclusively with rapes. Other shows, the CSI’s, and what not deal with crimes against women so much that it becomes common place. Every episode the writers try to out do the previous episode and show something more graphic and shocking then the last one. All this does is numb us to female brutalization. They are tied up with a neat little bow, in tidy one hour time slots. It makes it easy to forget that in real life cases are rarely solved this easily. I went to the police following my rape. I was treated like shit. I was told that it would come down to his word versus mine. At the time, he had no prior rape or assault charges filed against him. Plus, I did let him sleep at my house. I made him a bed on the floor of my room. We had had sex previously. It was pretty much my fault. Of course the cop didn’t say this last part, but they said the rest. They made it very clear that they didn’t think that I had a case. They filed away my statement and sent me on my way. Nice way to stand up for victims rights. This started my still present hatred for police.
We as rape victims are not nameless, faceless people. The pain doesn’t go away after the assailant goes to jail (if we are that lucky). It never really goes away. Somehow, someway, we need to teach the men who think that it is ok to do this sort of thing how much pain it inflicts. While they might be able to forget about it, convince themselves that we were asking for it anyway, we don’t get off so easy. It us, the victims, who serve a life sentence. Yeah, the pain eases slightly, but the scars remain for eternity. They cut too deep to ever really disappear.
I was hoping that forgiving this man would give me some closure. All it did was open a whole new bag of worms.