Dear Man Who Assaulted Me,
I am older now. Nine years older, to be exact. I'm not as chubby as a used to be, and I don't stutter as much either. I don't watch the Disney channel religiously, and I'm not that obsessed with teacup poodles anymore. I share a small house with my girlfriend, and I pay my own rent. A glass of red wine and a tightly rolled joint is my go to after a long day of work. A lot has changed about me. Life happened, and I grew up. Did you?
Did you ever find a better job? Did your hair start to gray? Would you recognize me on a busy street? I know I would recognize you. How would I not recognize a face I've continuously seen in my nightmares. A face that has been haunting me for years.
I heard you found God. Has that helped you? You used to never be a religious man, but your sin has turned you into a believer. You want to know what I think about that? I think it's bullshit. I think it's convenient for you to turn to something like a church. You were able to sit with another man, a man who won't tell anyone your secrets, and vent to him about your wrong doings. You sat in that quiet room and waited for forgiveness. In less than ten minutes, your guilt and your sins were washed away. Smart move.
I on the other hand didn't have it so easy. I still find myself feeling guilty about the whole thing. I think I process the entire situation a little more clearly now, but the guilty feeling can always creep back in. I can't explain why, but it does. At this point in my life, I know it was all your fault. I never did anything to cause that to happen. You were a grown adult who took advantage of a thirteen year old girl. It's all on you, yet I still find myself feeling guilty on off days.
Some days I find myself questioning my existence. Other days I find myself questioning my purpose. I'd hate to give you that satisfaction, but it's true. Everything about my life fell into a black hole of confusion. Am I gay because I was sexually assaulted? Am I weak because I let this happen? Will I ever be able to get over this? These questions don't even begin to illustrate the amount of haunting noise I have swimming in my head.
You caused me to explore parts of myself I never wanted to explore. Places in my head I found impossible to get out of. You managed to silence me for a really long time. Along with silencing me, you convinced me that I was alone in this world. All the monsters that lived in my head supported that idea. For years I selfishly thought I was the only person in pain.
I will never give you or anyone else that power ever again.
At twenty-two, I understand that we're living in a world where your actions are normalized. I understand that it wasn't about what I was wearing, or the way I was acting, it was about your thirst for power, your lack of brain cells, and our patriarchal society.
With this letter I hope to bring awareness to my fight. The fight that I've fought for years, along with many other strong women (and men). The fight against silence. The fight against you and your kind. I struggle to understand why it's been so difficult to get people on our side. Why did it take a #metoo movement to get everyone's attention? I couldn't understand that for the longest time. Now I realize that humanity just isn't as advanced as I'd like to think it is.
So from this point forward... I will use my voice. I will dance naked under the night sky. I will sing songs of hope to the moon. I will never give up. I will fight for freedom. I will encourage my sisters. I will love myself. And I promise you, I will never let you get in the way of any of that.