Showing Remorse and Taking Responsibility

Tonight I read the letter the victim of a rape read to her rapist in court. He was convicted of 3 felonies and sentenced to six months in jail. To date, he only admits to drinking too much that night.

To him, rape is a natural consequence to getting drunk. Don’t do too many shots, people! You might find yourself in a zombie-like state where all you can do is hump others!

He raped her behind a dumpster. Isn’t a dumpster where you discard things you don’t care about anymore?

I know I’m almost post-doc and I should be minding my Ps and Qs better, but maybe my pluck and integrity displayed here will hold up for something to future employers.

To sexual assaulters, I’m fed up with this crap. Take some responsibility for your actions! You didn’t slip, or trip, nor was there a gun held to your head. You are responsible for your actions. They were no accident.

My rapist never apologized specifically for raping me. He wrote me an email at work some years after the rape. To find my email address, he had to google me. In the email, he said something to the effect of, “Sorry for all that crap I put you though. I hope you can forgive me.” I deleted the email. It disturbed me him knowing where I worked and contacting me like that.

Last year, I approached him. Said I forgave him. I did this because I needed to let go of my anger and my hurt and try to move forward. He brought up the situation of vandalizing Chris’ truck (Chris woke up on his 21st birthday to his truck’s lights and grille missing). He went on saying he never did that and wouldn’t do that to someone’s car. [But he’d vandalize someone else’s body?]

Maybe he doesn’t know, but I think he knows. He just doesn’t want to outwardly admit it. It would make it too real. It would make it criminal. All he wanted was a little fun, right? What’s so wrong with that?!

Since there were no witnesses, and I’m guessing he used a condom since it burned like hell (I’m allergic to latex), so no evidence. There was just my story and his. A “he said, she said.” We weren’t arguing about what color to paint the walls or who broke grandma’s favorite vase, but the violation of another human being. He didn’t hit me. He didn’t yell mean words at me. He got pleasure out of forcibly penetrating me. He got pleasure from my lifelong pain.

I never thought of it before, but shortly after the rape, my grades dropped. I stopped showing up for my observation hours in the observatory. My scholarship was in jeopardy. I couldn’t focus on homework. I dropped my major, which I still regret to this day. I loved astrophysics. I still do. I took a semester off from UMSL and went back to community college, even though I had nearly enough hours to graduate. I didn’t have the concentration needed for applied mathematics, calculus III, and planetary origins. I didn’t correlate the two events until now.

I tried so hard for so long to pretend this never happened. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. If you’re treading water you’re still not drowning, right?

I’m doing ok. Really, I am. I’m finishing up my doctorate. I have great friends and colleagues. I started a non-profit which is doing amazing thanks to the awesome volunteers! I have a great partner of 16 years and two wonderful kids. I have a lot of light in my life.

But sometimes the days get dark. Sometimes I relive the rape in my sleep. It’s bound to happen from time to time. My brain is trying to make sense of it all. Trying to work it out. It just doesn’t make sense.

It just doesn’t make sense.

I’m puzzled, still as an adult, by why people would want to hurt other people. It just doesn’t compute with me. No, I’m not naïve. I just don’t think anyone should explain away someone’s will to hurt another person. It just doesn’t make sense. No, “Oh, they’re jealous!” or “They had a bad day.” To me, those are excuses for something inexcusable.

You hurt someone. Take responsibility.

For those who wish: the original story of my sexual assault.


For those who wish: the original story of my sexual assault.

Today I found out the man who raped me moved across the country. I never thought I’d feel such incredible relief. I never thought about the possibility of never seeing him again. I thought he would be a constant in my city. In my life.

Whenever I would see him, I always would get a chill. Whenever I saw him, I always felt like I was being watched. Always.

I hate that being raped affected me. Before I was invincible. Now I am vulnerable.

I was raped by a friend, not a stranger. Not some peeping-tom creeper. But I still check all the doors, windows, and cars to be sure they’re locked at night. Somedays I feel insecure being in public. It’s a control thing. Knowing what to expect and when to expect it feels comforting. It’s my new normal.

It’s like wanting to have all the lights on, and simultaneously have them off. You want to see what’s in the shadows, but you want to hide in them too.

You want to sleep, but only in the dreamless sleep exhaustion brings. When Chris is out of town it’s the worst. I stay up way too late busying myself with chores until I’m beyond exhausted. Sometimes I sleep in bed with one of the kids, or just have them all in my bed. My kids will save me from the boogyman. That’s how I roll now.

I’m sure this will always torture me, but that might begin to heal now that I won’t see him. Ever.