I just finished a four-course meal looking out over the ocean in Port Rexton, after a long afternoon hiking. On a day like today, I would like to thank my rapist for making this all possible.
Over the last year I’ve made several posts online about my assault, revealing the deadweight of shame, and a secret that kept me locked to anxiety and fear.
I have publically explained that I was raped, and I’ve contemplated suicide. I am both a survivor and a victim. I vocalize my support for victims, and I joined the hash tag choir: #ibelievesurvivors, while speaking out against our flawed justice system.
I’ve cried reading victim impact statements, especially the words written by Rehtaeh Parsons’s father. Words he had to write after his daughter was raped, and took her own life.
I’ve sat on Signal Hill on my lunch break crying as I read the statement from the young Stanford girl who was assaulted while unconscious.
Three months later, I am still burning reading Stanford’s “star swimmer” has been released for “good behaviour.”
Tonight, on the eve of the fourth anniversary of being raped, I would like to address my rapist.
You gave me the opportunity to feel so hopelessly empty and devoid of all things joyful and happy.
From my closest friends and family, to strangers on the end of a crisis hotline, I have an army of supports. Your actions made me discover how much love there is.
Without experiencing your unfathomable disregard for my fundamental human rights, I never would have been hugged by my doctor, who helped me rebuild myself after I came to her shattered and confused.
Lying sleepless in my tainted bed, nights after, I found comfort sleeping on couches, and in the spare room of my friend’s homes.
Without you, I never would have known the love I hold, friends who fed me every day for weeks because I couldn’t think, cook, or grocery shop. Without you, my roommate, and our beautiful friends, never would have thrown me a birthday party at home when I was too afraid to go out at night.
Each and every time I lock eyes with you, unsure if you know who I am, or what you took that night, I’m reminded of the way you forced me to discover all of this. You can never take what you wanted from me.
My rapist gave me a visceral understanding of language, and how words can impact a person. The word rape is now synonymous with tense muscles, a racing heart, short breath, and a wave of unease that makes me shift in my seat, and look away.
I’m still alive. I can do more, be more, and move beyond my fears, anxiety and flashbacks. To defy the notion he took something from me, I let myself feel encouraged to live a bigger life. To literally climb mountains, travel alone, relish moments with friends and family, ask for, and accept help from others.
I never would have found myself alone in the woods, listening to a river rushing in the dark. I would never have heard moths tapping against the tent, as wind rustles in the trees.
Here I am, gazing on a sky full of stars, holding an eagle feather.
Article by A.M. Please Note, Comments deemed even remotely insensitive on this article will be deleted