To my second rapist,
What can I say? After Jared, I was already broken when you got your hands on me, but I can’t pretend that you didn’t break me even further. You were just another in the chain of guys who showed me that I wasn’t anything more than a tool for male gratification. I must have had a target on my head, because I was a magnet for guys like you. They could see that I was broken and vulnerable and they used that to their advantage. Is that what made you come up to me that night? Is that why you started talking to me in the first place? Back then, I’d thought you came up to me because you just had to talk to me, because you thought I was pretty, because maybe you were just as lonely as I was. But now I know what it was – you saw a vulnerable, drunk girl alone at a party, and thought you could get what you really wanted easily. And you did.
Do you know why I was at the party that night? I didn’t like the host of the party, my ex best friend, he’d betrayed me years earlier, and just seeing him was enough to upset me, so why would I be there? Well, I was using him, in a way, just like you used me. You see, when I was sixteen I was confused, broken, depressed, suicidal. I was living with an alcoholic father and a mother that I could never be good enough for, and just that very night I’d had another fight with my dad. I needed an escape from my life, I needed to get away from my parents, I needed to forget everything that was wrong in my life, and I needed to forget who I was, just for one night. It never occurred to me that I might not be safe at that party, I was too consumed with the thought of getting drunk, of pausing my pain for a night, and forgetting the mess that was my life. I was hurting so badly and I thought it would help; I never dreamed that it would just make everything worse. You made everything worse.
Could I have known the type of guy that you were when you started talking to me? You were so charming, you knew all of the right things to say. When you started flirting with me, it felt so great that a guy could be interested in me, that a guy thought I was pretty enough to talk to. Out of all the girls in the room, you chose me to flirt with. You made me feel so wanted, in a life where I felt wanted by nobody. I flirted back with you, I didn’t think a bit of harmless flirting could be too bad. And when you put your hand on my thigh, I let it slide. By now, I was used to guys touching me without my consent. Heck, my boyfriend at the time was great at taking me out of my comfort zone – just recently he’d pulled my dress over my head, leaving me in nothing but my underwear, despite my repeated protests. I was sixteen and so self-conscious of my body, I hadn’t wanted anybody to see it, but he’d just taken what he wanted. Your hand on my thigh felt like nothing compared to that. You encouraged me to keep drinking, you told me I was a funny drunk, and you were always so quick to get me another drink. Maybe I should have paid attention to that, maybe warning bells would have gone off sooner? But the bells didn’t go off until you suggested we go to a bedroom together. I told you I wanted to stay with the party, but you kept pushing, telling me you wanted me to yourself, that you just wanted to talk where it was quieter. I feel so stupid for believing you, because you didn’t really want to do any talking in the bedroom. You just said what you thought I wanted to hear.
The first thing you said to me in the bedroom was to lay down on the bed so that you could make me feel good. But you could never make me feel good, because I didn’t want to be there. I was uncomfortable. I was shaking. I tried to tell you that, I tried to you that I had a boyfriend, but you didn’t care. You just laughed it off, told me to relax, and that my boyfriend didn’t need to find out. I didn’t want to be a cheater, but as you nudged me to the bed and lowered your face between my legs, I knew I wasn’t getting out of it. But there was still something I could control – I agreed to you going down on me, but I told you that I didn’t want to have sex.
I wonder now if you not answering me was a warning sign, because you really didn’t care what I wanted, did you? I stopped thinking when you began to do what you wanted to me, I zoned out and I don’t remember a lot of it. I just waited for you to be finished. But I came back to it when it started to feel different, and it was then that I’d realised you’d inserted yourself into me and began thrusting. I was taken aback, I didn’t know what to do, the only thing in my mind was that I’d said no sex, I know I’d said no sex. When I asked what you were doing, you just gave me a sheepish look that seemed to say, “oops, how did that happen?” and you just kept going. You didn’t care. You didn’t care that I didn’t want this, because it was all about what you wanted. It was always about what the guy wanted, the other guys I’d been with were just the same, quick to take advantage of me. It was all I was good for, it was all I was worth. To be used and abused. To be treated as a tool for male pleasure.
“Whatever,” I told you.
Do you know how long that one little word has haunted me? Or how easy it was to convince myself that you didn’t rape me because I’d consented? How long I’ve blamed myself? How scared I am to share this story, in case others say that I consented? But I didn’t consent. You never waited for my consent, you didn’t care whether I gave it or not. You didn’t care that I was too incapacitated that I could hardly move once I was on the bed. In that moment, I felt so hopeless, I didn’t think there was any point in fighting, because this was all I was good for. Guys like you and Jared were good at convincing me of that fact. But now I know what you did to me.
Do you know how much my world came crashing down when I realised that you did rape me?
Before you’d even finished with me, you asked me if it would be cool for you to go back to the party afterwards, and it just showed how little you really cared. It’s like you wanted to prove my point, to prove that I wasn’t good for anything else, that I was just an object. You’d just have your way with me and go about your life like nothing had ever happened, leaving me to pick up all the little pieces. I just wanted you to get off of me, I just wanted it to be over, so I nodded. I wanted you to go away.
But you didn’t. You let it get worse.
Just like I’ve done with Jared, I’ve spent so long blaming myself for what happened, blaming myself for being so broken. I have blamed myself for so long for being drunk that night, and a part of me still does. It’s that part of me that’s so fearful of what other people would say if they knew my story. If I hadn’t been drunk, if I hadn’t been at that party, this never would have happened. But that doesn’t make this my fault, because you raped me, and the blame lies entirely on you. Yet, even typing that, I can’t bring myself to fully believe it. But, after years, I’ve at least finally, finally accepted that you did rape me. You added to the shame and worthlessness that I already felt. You shattered my already broken pieces. You added to my fear. I wish you could know what it feels like to be haunted by someone whose face or name you can’t even remember. Ever since I realised what you did to me, I avoid my hometown, because going back there feels like a death sentence. What if I were to walk passed you? I’d have no idea who you were. I wonder if you’d recognise me? If you’d feel shame for what you did to me? If you’d even remember? I used to think it was a blessing not to remember you, because it meant that you couldn’t haunt my memories, but you still do. You’re still in my memory. You’re still in my dreams. The faceless man.
I want to be able to forgive you, but I still have so much anger in me that I’m not sure I ever could. I still hate you for what you did to me, and I hate you for filling me with so much anger and hatred. You were just another part of my life that broke me. One day I hope to let go of it all, but for now, I can’t.