Poetry & Blog

1 in 7: Hello, I am statistic.

Disclaimer:

1 in 5 women in colleges all across America has been sexually assaulted or raped. The 1-in-5 statistic includes victims of both rape and other forms of sexual assault. To limit the statistic to include rape only, meaning unwanted sexual penetration, the prevalence for senior undergraduate women drops to 14.3%, or 1 in 7. I’m a statistic.

Names have all been changed except mine.

To My Rapist,

I wonder how many women would write a letter like this. I wonder how many women could begin this letter with those 3 words–“To My Rapist”. Here I am saying my rapist as if I own you. However, it was you who owned me. Saying the word rape is hard. Most of the time I find myself referring to it as “the incident”. It has taken me 6 months to allow that word to slip from my lips… Rape. Rapist. Here we go… I was raped by University Student, X, and his roommate XY. This letter is for the the both of them. As I write this I cannot help but see them and that terrified 21-year-old girl whom I was on that day. I can see them as clearly in my mind as if it were yesterday.

Do they remember that night? I’ll admit, there are days when I can’t recall every little detail. It’s amazing what the human brain is capable of, what it will do to try and retrain sanity. I have spent months attempting to numb myself. God, I want to forget so badly. I haven’t forgotten though. I can’t forget. Sure my brain originally spared me the harsh details, but it’s not possible to keep secrets from yourself. I wonder what they would say if I told them about the nights I’d cry myself to sleep. What would they say if they knew that I had driven myself mad with self-blame, with racing thoughts and vivid nightmares? What would they say if I told them that there were days that I couldn’t get out of bed? Would they care? Would they feel remorse? Would they feel anything at all?

Why did you do it?

I said “no”.

I said, “I don’t want to have sex”.

I said it four times.

I don’t want to have sex.

I don’t want to have sex.

I don’t want to have sex.

I don’t want to have sex.

You have taken a part of my life. A moment in time that I can’t have back. I take baby steps forward. I get up. I laugh with friends, and then the memory of you, the memory of every touch, every breath, every dirty, awful part of you returns and forces me a thousand steps backwards for every step forward

What memory do you carry? Did you block it out? Do you see my face? Are my wrists locked in your grip when you’re in the dark? Do you remember crushing me? Do you feel the shame? You alone changed my life. You took parts of me that can never be returned, pouring poison that cannot be diluted. How dare you?

———————————————————————————————————————————-

UPDATE: X was expelled from school, after appealing THREE times. XY wasn’t in college so nothing has happened to him. X accused me of “ruining his life,” during a hearing, to which I read him this.

As stated in the Stanford Victim’s letter—

“You are the cause; I am the effect. You have dragged me through this hell with you, dipped me back into that night again and again. You knocked down both our towers, I collapsed at the same time you did. If you think I was spared, came out unscathed, that today I ride off into sunset, while you suffer the greatest blow, you are mistaken. Nobody wins. We have all been devastated; we have all been trying to find some meaning in all of this suffering. Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, and enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”

——————————————————————————————-

Why did I write this today? Well, for one thing, my job is forcing me to face it every day. I work with girls (AND BOYS) that have been through the most atrocious events in their life. They look at me as their main support system. If I can’t confront my biggest demons, how will I ever be capable of helping them confront theirs?

How do I deal with it? Well, I started seeing a therapist in July, and she’s amazing! I had never been in therapy before so it was an adjustment, but now I enjoy my sessions, and I have made a lot of progress! All one can do is put one foot in front of the other, and keep it moving.

“The Rape will tear you apart, but it will not end you.”
-Rupi Kaur

XXX,

Tari

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *