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September 17, 2020

A Letter to My Rapist & the Little Ones who Call Him “Dad.”

Lucas Pezeta/Pexels

I was a wild child, a party girl, and you were a bad boy.

Kismit.

You showed an overwhelming interest in me, a sweet adoration bordering on obsession, that I’d never experienced before. You put me on a pedestal that I didn’t feel I deserved.

Do you remember?

I blacked out at a party one night and we had “consensual” sex—from what I remembered anyway. I figured I probably initiated it, so I believed you when you told me it was a magical night. I didn’t know.

Something felt off about you, but you were so eager to date me—all I experienced from the boys prior to you was heartbreak anyway. I had lost my virginity earlier that year to someone who had told me that he loved me, only to walk away two weeks later and never speak to me again.

I wanted desperately to be loved back.

Do you remember?

So, I agreed to hang out with you.

I didn’t want to sleep with you.

I was trying to get to know you, but a few hangouts later, you had reached your limit—I just didn’t know it yet.

Do you remember?

We were at a house party. I didn’t feel like drinking, so I went to bed in one of the kid’s rooms. I laid down on the bottom bunk, covered myself with the innocent decor of firetruck sheets and stuffed animals to snuggle, and started to doze off.

You came in—reeking of cheap whiskey and cigarettes. You laid next to me and woke me up, trying to initiate sex that I didn’t want.

I said, “No.”

Then, I said, “No” again, and again, and again.

Do you remember?

I started yelling and crying, but you covered my mouth and ripped off my clothes. I tried kicking you off, only to be stopped short by the top bunk. I tried so, so hard to get away—writhing forcefully to get out of your grip.

Maybe the whiskey made you stronger. I finally gave up and laid still, crying uncontrollably, while you forced yourself inside.

Do you remember?

You told me to stop crying. You told me I deserved it.

You told me I was a tease and I needed to grow up.

In between thrusts, you belittled me to nothing. I was still a child.

And then you left.

And I sat on the bottom of that little bunk bed, trying not to throw up. My mind was spinning, trying to process what the hell just happened. My deepest insecurities were brought to the surface and reiterated in my ear—I don’t matter. And now, I’m damaged goods.

Do you remember?

I remember.

For a long time, I convinced myself you didn’t rape me. I convinced myself that it was a “misunderstanding.”

I shoved it so far down—to the bottom of so many bottles—that I lost the memory for a while. I didn’t even acknowledge this situation until this past year, when I started digging inward toward my core wounds.

And you were one of them.

Do you remember?

Recently, I saw your face pop up on social media, and the memories of that night came rushing back to me—a full-fledged tsunami of nausea and anxiety.

I told myself not to go to your page, but curiosity got the best of me. That’s when I discovered you have a family now.

I hope your daughters never experience a man like the younger version of you.

I hope that you have changed.

Can men like you change?

I hope that I’m somehow the only one that you did that to.

I hope you set a good example for the little ones who call you “Dad.”

I never want your daughters to incur the trauma that I did.

I remember.

I pray that your daughters see a man who respects boundaries.

I hope that your little girls see a man far different from the one that I met years ago. I hope they see a man with caring eyes full of joy, instead of an icy stare of ill intent.

I hope when you tuck them in at night that they have clean sheets and stuffed animals to snuggle—no worries in their hearts—not the stench of alcohol wafting in their faces, and a voice reminding them with whispers that they’re nothing but a slut.

I remember.

I hope you are their protector, not their predator.

I hope you can spot a man like you once were a mile away, and keep them safe. I am praying that you turned into a man that your daughters will never know is capable of anything but love.

I hope you have deep regret and remorse for this night that happened so long ago.

I hope your nightmares are as vivid as mine.

You took away a piece of me I’ll never get back.

Do you remember?

~

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author: Maria Hayes

Image: Lucas Pezeta/Pexels

Editor: Elizabeth Brumfield