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Forgiving My Rapist

Posted: 08/19/11 02:45 PM ET

I received a tweet from a reader in regards to my article "Confronting My Rapist."

The tweet states,

"I read your article about facing your rapist. You are a better woman than me, I couldn't have acted so politely and diligently."

I found the tweet to be extremely thought-provoking. Though I responded to my rapist with expletives and warnings to never bother me again, it was through email and not in person. By the sound of my reader's tweet, when faced with the same scenario, she might've kicked the guy's butt (or at least cussed him out). This thought made me smile, I can't say I don't blame her.

When it comes to my situation, I never really thought about vengeance. I was too caught up in hurting myself and messing up my own life because of the unbearable pain. Thinking about it now, it might feel good to go to his home, smash the windows of his car, and break everything he owns, but would that solve anything? If I destroyed all his belongings he would still be more reparable than how he left me.

So I sit here at my desk and write. I write about what happened. I write about how I dealt and am dealing with it. The truth is I never got angry. Not at them. Disgusted, yes. Upset, of course. Sickened, depressed, you name it, but not mad. From the standpoint of rape victim, I have had something violently taken from me, something that I can and will never get back. You would think I would be angry, right?

It doesn't make me angry. It makes me sad. It is sad that a person is that sick and that lost; that somewhere in their head they were able to rationalize and go through with what they did to me. Rapists on average commit assaults ten times before ever getting caught.

Though just thinking about these men gives me chills, a few years ago I actually forgave them (again, not in person and this time in my head). It wasn't an easy thing for me to do, even after almost ten years of dealing with this trauma. I needed to let it go. My life turned around when I finally acknowledged what happened; as you know I hid this secret for a decade. With forgiving them, I was forced to forgive myself. Like many victims of rape, I thought it was my fault and for years blamed myself for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It was very hard to forgive myself, especially after ten years of negative self-talk and self-blame. At this moment, I decided that I wasn't going to be mean to myself anymore. I had been through enough and needed, at the very least, myself as an ally.

I had a friend who used to say "When you point your finger at someone else, three fingers are pointing back at you." It is true that everything we do has a positive or negative effect on ourselves and others. Everything balances out equally. Say I went to his house, broke something of his, but I never got caught. Now, picture me laughing maniacally. Okay good. After the initial titillation of getting away with something so devious in the name of vengeance, it is likely that I -or anyone for that matter- would be spending the next few weeks peeking out the window to see if the cops had shown up yet.

You can do something nasty and yes you can get away with it to a degree, but you can never really get away from your misdeeds. They stick to you like cigarette smoke. Maybe no one caught you smoking that cigarette, but don't think for a moment that if they get close enough to you they won't be able to smell it on your clothes.

So I have forgiven my rapists. I have long ago chosen a path of kindness and non-violence. I will not let what happened to me bring me down. I will not let what happened to me harden me and rot my soul. I went that route for ten years and I will not go back. Through forgiving them, I was finally able to forgive myself.

 
 
 

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