I Hope Your Soul is Changin’: An Open Letter to My Rapist

Trigger warning: this post includes discussion and depiction of rape.

Remember me? Surely you do, though I don’t know if I prefer it that way. I sure as hell remember you, even though some days I’d give anything to forget.

It was June 2013 when we began chatting on an online dating site – don’t worry, I don’t blame the site for bringing you into my life – but I don’t recall much about those early conversations, if I’m being honest. I do know that you were charming, funny, and engaging from the beginning. I don’t know how much of that was the real you, or if it was all just a manipulative façade to get me hooked on you. I suppose I’ll never know. But it worked. At some point, as I’m sure you do remember, the conversation moved from the site’s messages to texts. God, I wish I’d never given you my number.

You brought the flames and you put me through hell

July 2013. We agreed to meet up for the first time. You flaked on our original plans, citing family in town for the 4th, but you maintained that you wanted to make it up to me. So a few days later, I drove to your house, bottle of wine in the seat next to me, while practically buzzing from first date anxiety.

I was not disappointed. We had a lovely night, drinking wine out on your deck and taking in the starlight mixed with a few stray fireworks. Conversation flowed just as easily in person as it did via text, and your eyes were captivating. When you took the wine glass from my hands and kissed me, I melted. We fooled around a bit out there on the deck, reveling in the newness and the thrill of possibly being glimpsed by a neighbor or passerby. We didn’t have sex that night, though; I knew you wanted to, and a large part of me did too, but I hadn’t come to the date mentally or physically prepared for full-on sexy time. So after more kisses, I left, driving home around midnight with a giant grin on my face. I was sure this was the beginning of something wonderful.

*Ron Howard narrator voice* It was not.

As you may remember, you didn’t talk to me for a few weeks after that night, aside from a few short texts the following day. I was upset at your disappearance, more upset than I’d like to admit, but after a couple of weeks of silence, I began to get over it. Perhaps you didn’t feel as much of a connection as I did, or maybe you met someone else you liked better. I was bummed, sure – you were cute and funny and smart and a good kisser, who wants to give that up after only one date? – but I just chalked it up to another dating misadventure. Another one bites the dust, on to the next, etc.

And then you came back.

I’ll be honest: I don’t have any memories of what you said to get back into my good graces. I have no idea what excuses you made, what probable lies you told. All I know is that I fell for all of them. We began texting back and forth as before, and our conversations often turned sexual. You knew about my submissiveness from the jump, as I made no real secret about it in my dating profile, but this was when you began testing it. Feeling it out. And again, I fell for it. I’d never been anyone’s submissive before, though I was experimenting in BDSM with my FWB. More than anything, I wanted to be both your girlfriend and your submissive.

It makes me sick to my stomach to think back on it now, how wrapped around your finger I was after such a short time. I don’t know how I could’ve been so easily fooled; there were so many red flags. But I was going through a lot of inner turmoil back then, still trying to figure out where I was going in life and who I was as a person after I graduated college and was dumped by my longtime boyfriend two years previously. And loath though I am to admit it, this was in the middle of my longest-ever stretch of being single, and I was craving love and affection.

And we both know all the truth I could tell

August 2013. I don’t remember how much time passed between your return to my phone and my return to your house. A few weeks, I think. Enough time to build the sexual tension to a dizzying peak via texts, in any case. I even bought and began playing with a butt plug at your request, slowly acclimating myself to anal play, because I was completely new to it. I found that I enjoyed the sensation, but I was not yet ready for anal sex. You said you understood. You wanted me to go at my own pace. This will be important in a moment.

I drove to your place that night, this time filled with a different sort of anxious energy. Again, we relaxed on the deck for a bit; you were much more handsy this time, but I was into it. After a time, we went inside and you led me to your bedroom, where clothes were quickly removed. So much of what happened is a blur now, but I know I was rather enjoying myself. Until, suddenly, I wasn’t.

You were fucking me from behind, my favorite position, when you pulled out. I wasn’t bothered; I assumed you were just readjusting or something. And then, I felt you pressing your penis against my asshole. For a moment, I thought you’d simply misjudged the placement of my body in the dark, that you had bad aim and would correct the error. But you kept on pressing, and the pain began.

I wish I could say that I firmly told you no and then got dressed and left. I wish that could have been the end of it.

I don’t remember exactly what happened next. I think I mumbled some sort of protest, that I wasn’t ready for that. But it’s all too blurry now. Trauma is funny like that, I guess. I always thought I’d be someone who fights, but it seems I’m someone who freezes. You just kept going, oblivious to my pain, my confusion about what was happening. I don’t know how long it lasted – it was probably only 30 seconds, though it felt like an eternity – but I was eventually so overcome with pain that I wrenched myself away from you. I felt betrayed, but also like a disappointment. I wasn’t processing the consent violation at the time, only that I’d let you down. I hadn’t been a good girl.

Do you remember what you did next? Because I do.

You asked – no, demanded, because you were still in a dominant space, despite my obvious distress – that I suck you off. I did, tears still in my eyes but otherwise numb to the entire experience, and when you climaxed, I felt nothing. (I, of course, didn’t have an orgasm at all that night.)

And then, amazingly, you wanted to cuddle. You expected me to stay the night. And because I didn’t know what else to do, I did. You fell asleep quickly, but I stayed awake. I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t comfortable with you anymore. My brain still wasn’t processing what exactly had happened, that you had raped me, but I knew that something was off. I eventually nodded off, but it was not a restful sleep. When morning came, I left quickly, still incredibly confused and feeling a million different emotions simultaneously.

You disappeared again. We may have exchanged a few texts in the days immediately following that night, but if so, they were brief. I expected the ghosting act this time; I knew you’d got what you wanted from me.

Someday, maybe you’ll see the light

November 2013. I was in a different city a few hours away, seeing some family and taking in a hockey game. My phone rang, and it was you. I still had your number in my phone, so I ignored it. You called again. I ignored it. You tried a few more times throughout the evening and following day, and every time, I hit ignore while my anxiety ratcheted higher. I’d spent the past three months ignoring you, hoping I didn’t see you out at a bar, never listening to the radio station you sometimes worked for, never seeing a game of the local  sports team about which you wrote. Finally, you sent me a text saying that you wanted to know if I was okay. I replied that I was okay and would appreciate you never talking to me again. I was casually seeing someone new, you see – someone sweet and funny and kind but too vanilla – and I didn’t want you in my head, fucking things up. You had a knack for that.

When I got back home, I had to log in to our family’s Verizon account so I could block your number.

I don’t need you, I found a strength I’ve never known

June 2014. The last time I ever spoke to you. I think there were a few attempted texts or calls from you since that November; number blocking wasn’t permanent unless you paid for it. But I ignored them all…until this one.

You texted out of the blue, as you were prone to doing. I don’t know why I responded. I had finally contextualized what you had done to me as rape, or as sexual assault at the very least. I’d even blogged about it. (That blog doesn’t exist anymore so no, you won’t be able to find it. Don’t bother.) I think I wanted to know if you even knew what you’d done, if you had any idea that what you did was wrong. But also – and I hate myself for admitting this – I did sort of miss you, if only just a little. You were incredibly charming when you wanted to be, after all, and when I responded to your messages this time, you wound up being the one to whom I vented.

You probably don’t remember what I was going through at the time, but I thought I had been ghosted again, this time by a guy I met on Twitter. I had started to develop feelings for this guy, and I was reeling from this latest disappointment. I kept getting ghosted by men, and I couldn’t figure out why. (I hadn’t been ghosted this time after all, though – it was a mix of a misunderstanding and overreaction on his part – and we’re still together and happy.)

So we talked, and eventually, I brought up what happened that night. I told you how you violated my consent, how upset I was, how gross it made me feel, and you…you seemed so surprised. You said you didn’t remember it happening the way I described it. To this day I don’t know if you were telling the truth; I suppose I’ll never know. But we agreed to meet up for drinks again. You’d moved since we last spoke, so I drove to a different neighborhood. I don’t really know why I was agreeing to see you; I think I was just emotionally confused from everything going on in my love life and trying to prove a point to myself. And I suppose I did, though not the one I intended.

I’ll give this to you: everything we did that final night was completely consensual. So, you know, good job on that one. We chatted while having drinks on your porch, watching people walk by on their way to the nearby bar district, but you weren’t nearly as engaging to talk to as I had remembered. It was pleasant conversation, sure, but honestly? I was a little bored by you. I wasn’t under your spell anymore. We had fun fooling around, mouths and hands everywhere, but I wasn’t enthralled by you.

And then I did something truly empowering, something that proved to myself that I’d conquered you and your manipulations: I swallowed your cum.

…I know, I know. That sounds utterly ridiculous. But you see, I’d almost never been able to successfully do that before, due to longstanding hang-ups dating back to a bad first experience in high school. I’d given and enjoyed plenty of blowjobs in the intervening years, but the ejaculation bit was always a sticky (ha) situation for me. I wanted to be able to, and I’d tried, but I just…couldn’t do it. But that night, I did it easily. I don’t know how or why it suddenly clicked in that moment, but I felt like a fucking semen-swallowing wizard. You had no idea what that meant for me – how could you possibly know? – but at that moment, I was invincible. You took something from me, but less than a year later, I took something of mine back. You’d had the orgasm, but I was the victor.

I walked out of your apartment the next morning, feeling lighter and more carefree than I ever would have expected, knowing I would never see you again. My now-boyfriend and I got back on track a few days later. You tried texting me once or twice since, but I never responded. I’ll never respond.

When I’m finished, they won’t even know your name

I don’t hate you, most days. Not anymore, though it might be easier if I did. There is, however, a part of me that will always hate what you did to me. I doubt I’ll ever enjoy anal sex – I don’t know if I would have regardless, but I hate that I’ll never know. I hate that I never got the chance to try it on my own terms. But despite this, I refuse to let you dictate my sexuality, to own parts of me that were never yours. I don’t owe you a goddamn thing.

But I do hope that you’ve learned something. I hope that you’re not manipulating other women the way you manipulated me. I hope, if you’re still engaging in kink, that you’ve learned to not be a shitty Dominant. I hope, if you’re dating someone, that you’re treating them with kindness and respect. I hope I’m the only person whose consent you’ve violated. And more than anything, I hope your soul is changin’.

Thanks to Kesha for her song “Praying,” the inspiration for and soundtrack to writing this post.

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