an open letter to my attacker

Trigger Warning: This is an open letter to my attacker. This post discusses the traumas I’ve dealt with since I was attacked. These traumas include a desire to kill myself and PTSD surrounding the attack.

Dear Benjamin,

You may not remember me but I can’t forget you.

You stole the joy I felt surrounding my graduation from college. You stole my sense of peace and security.

Every summer I look at the dress I had on, wishing that I could wear it now. I loved that dress but now all it does is remind me of what you stole from me. So summer after summer it sits in my closet, passed over like a broken toy.

I didn’t plan to write this letter but I felt God asking me to do so. As far as I was concerned, there wasn’t anything else to say. I told the police everything and nothing came from it. You’re still a free man.

I told God that my answer would always be ‘yes’ even if His request didn’t make sense to me. This makes no sense and I’m crying as I write this but my answer is yes.

I thought I didn’t have anything else to say but I guess I do.

For the longest, I hated you with everything that was in me. I hated how your selfish actions changed the trajectory of my life. I hated how you were never charged and convicted. I hated how you affected my life. I hoped you’d have bad experiences and that horrible things would happen to you. I spent 3 months with stomach issues because of the preventative HIV medication I had to take. I spent the next 6 or 7 months flinching at every man who got too close.

The anger and bitterness I felt toward you almost killed me.

In August of 2019, I spent 17 hours in the hospital because I was ready to end it all. I was ready to rid myself of the pain and depression that surrounded me every single day.

I almost hated God because of you. I refused to believe that He loved me because He allowed this to happen to me. I couldn’t see what good could come from you violating my body for your sick gain.

It took a year and a half for me to learn how to trust anyone outside of my therapist, family and closest friends. I spent a year acting out sexually to try to regain some of the power I felt over my body. I spent nights locked in my room because it was safer here than the rest of my house. I cried as I dreamed of what you did to me.

Then I found God again.

Back in January I decided that I was tired of the hate and pain I carried in my heart. I told God that I would give Him another chance but I needed something from Him. I didn’t even know what I needed, I just knew that what I had wasn’t cutting it anymore.

So I started to spend time with Him. I started reading the Bible. I started to address the pain I felt.

I didn’t touch what you did to me though; you see the newfound relationship I had with God was too beautiful to be tainted by the likes of you.

I spent about two weeks in marital bliss with my Heavenly Father. As I learned more about Him, I began to find peace in areas that had been turbulent for most of my life. One night I felt Him pushing me to forgive you.

Wait God? Forgive him? Look at what he did to me! Look at how he destroyed my life! Surely God wasn’t asking me, the victim of this perversion, to give forgiveness.

But He was.

So I leaned into Him. I trusted God.

I opened my mouth to pray a prayer of forgiveness but the words just wouldn’t come. I took a shaky breath and launched into the prayer that you would never hear but would free me from the bitterness and hate I carried because of you.

As I told God of the emotions , that He already knew about, it felt like scales were falling off of me. With each confession of hate, another weight was lifted. I felt lighter than I had in years but something in me was still holding me down. The pit in my stomach was steadily growing smaller but whatever it held was heavier than everything it had already purged.

A wipe of a stray tear. Another shaky breath. A sudden divine source of confidence.

God, I forgive him.

With those words I felt the pit implode on itself and push out the remaining weight. The final scale slide off of me and I felt like a newborn; confident that my Father would take care of me but also as fragile as I’ll ever be.

At that moment, I believed that it was not my fault. I had blamed myself for almost 2 years and shifted through ‘what if’ after ‘what if’ trying to figure out how I could’ve avoided this.

What if I had just gone home? What if I had asked another friend about him? What if I didn’t smoke a little weed? What if I had asked him to just take me back to campus instead of hanging out with him?

I realized that your lack of morality was not my fault. I realized that your lack of self control was not my fault. I realized that your perverted relationship with sex was not my fault.

I don’t hate you anymore. My God is a God is justice and He will handle you as He determines is an appropriate punishment. That brings me comfort because the justice system on earth failed me but God never fails. The justice system on earth saw me bawl while I recounted the details of how you harmed me but didn’t see it fit to persecute you.

I have found peace in God. I have found that my life is better; even in the confusion I feel regarding His plan. I didn’t understand why He allowed this to happen to me but I think I got it now.

You see Genesis 50:20 says ‘you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’

If the devil had his way, I’d be dead. God saw it fit to keep me and has made it clear to me that regardless of what happens in my life, good or bad, that it all ties into the plan He has for me. He has made it clear to me that my pain and suffering can be turned into beauty. My story can help other girls and women. My story can lead people to Him.

That is the good in this. My pain, suffering and depression were not easy to process but now that I have a grip on them, I can use them to help others.

It is so crazy because all I’ve ever wanted to do is help people.

Now I can.

I hope that God has met you where you are and had a chat with you but if He hasn’t you will one day, on this side of heaven or after you die. I no longer worry about what you did to me. I am still progressing toward healing but I am not held back by you anymore.

You don’t have power over me any longer.

Signed,

a woman who knows her strength — Psalm 46:5

3 thoughts on “an open letter to my attacker”

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