Trigger warning: this post contains graphic descriptions of rape.
You killed me on the 10th of May, 2014, and yet there will never be a trial. You will never be tried for murder, for the murder of a life that I once had. It’s been a few years since we last spoke, and yet I have the sneaking suspicion that I will never forget our last meeting. How could I, when I’ve replayed it in my mind every day for the last three years? I wonder if you’ve erased it from your memory, or if you really, truly believe that you were always innocent.
Do you remember my name? Do you know that I can’t be around anyone with your name, anyone who even looks like you? I spent months of my life terrified to death of every 6ft tall man with dark brown hair. I spent months with a beast of anxiety clawing at my stomach and my chest, too afraid to live again. I can’t hear your name without flinching. Do you remember the name of the girl whose life you raped?
Do you remember my touch? I can’t forget yours. I remember it every time a man’s hands touch my lower back. The rising bile, the prickly tingling on my skin, my heart thumping, pounding, dancing under my skin. I think I saw you in the dark once, watching me from across the room. He didn’t understand why I was crying, why I was shaking. Do you understand?
Does your girlfriend know what you did? Did you lie to her like you lied to yourself? Could she sleep at night if she knew she loved a monster? Can you? An older version of me would have tried to warn her, to save her. I’m bitter now. I know she’d think I was a liar. I know you do. What do you hear when you lie awake at night? Do you hear my voice saying ‘no’, ringing in your ears like a broken record, slowly fading into a low hum that you can easily ignore? It was so easy for you. It’s so easy to do when I’m not a person. Just a woman.
Do you know that I can’t even remember your face? Sometimes I wonder if you were even real. I worry that you’re a figment of my imagination, a horror dreamed up by a brain just trying to punish me further. But even I, in all my madness, could not have created that hell for myself, only the hallucinations that followed. The small black creature that followed me everywhere for a week. The swirling air in front of my eyes, hypnotising me, drawing me out of my body. They weren’t real. But you are.
Have you ever been made to feel that small? Have you ever had another person tear the humanity out of you, chew on it and spit it back up again? Unpalatable. You couldn’t imagine. I couldn’t. No one can imagine the feeling of phantom eyes watching, phantom hands touching, nowhere is safe, no one cares.
Would you even recognise me now? Would you recognise a woman who has built herself from the ground up? I fashioned myself a new form: colder, harder, and stronger. She doesn’t fear the same things anymore. How bad could anything possibly be? She’s already lived it. She’s stronger than you could ever imagine, and she is a bigger person than you will ever be. She’s done things and been places that she could never imagine she was capable of. She’s found love and trust. She took the pain that you caused her and hid it away in the deep corners of her heart, where no one dares to go.
Do you know what you did? Do you know that you’re a rapist?
If this post raises any issues for you, please speak to your mental health professional. If you would like to read more that I’ve written about rape and sexual assault, you can find it here.