I wish I could be one of those girls who just moves on with her life. I wish I could say that I don’t hate you for what you did to me, for what you took from me. But I’m not that good. I HATE you. My life has never been the same.
It has been almost two years. I still see you around campus. For some reason, you refuse to graduate. You’re just going to stay here for as long as I am, and as soon as I begin to feel good, you are going to show up in my favorite places and incite a bout of rage or uncontrollable sobbing. Two years and you probably have forgotten all about that night. Insisted that I “wanted it,” or honestly thought there was nothing wrong with what you did. Well here’s a newsflash: it doesn’t have to be traditional sex to be rape. Oral sex is just as much sexual assault as intercourse. And in a way, oral sex is worse. People’s mouths, especially yours apparently, are filthy.
I will probably never drink tequila again. I didn’t drink for months after that night. Then when I did, I depended upon it. Two years later and I’m starting to learn what a healthy amount of alcohol consumption is. Not a fifth in a night. Not chugging to get hit fast. I started slow about six months ago with a glass of wine. I haven’t progressed much further than three drinks since. And liquor? Rarely is that on my list of beverages. For better or worse, you turned me into a beer and wine girl.
I haven’t been able to let anyone get emotionally intimate with me since then. Physical intimacy came with time and patience. But I learned quickly that with out emotions the physical stuff can snowball into a series of blurry nights and not calling back in the morning. Yes. After getting raped, I became the girl everyone expected to get raped. I figured the worst had already happened.
And the worst part? The thing that you denied wholeheartedly when I called to ask. You had a cold sore when you went down on me. You, apparently unknowingly, had an active cold sore that you put all over my nether regions. Do you know what a cold sore is caused by? HSV-1. A cold sore is herpes. In one night, you created an endless string of awkward conversations with the people I would love in the future. You created a terror in me that no matter how good I may be, no one would ever look past that I am now the host of genital HSV-1. You made me feel entirely unworthy of every being loved again.
If I’m being entirely honest though, not everything that has happened in my life since has been terrible.
That night has made me stronger than you can ever imagine. I started hitting the weights, I gave up the treadmill and little dumbbells and picked up a barbell and some plates. I am now training to be the strongest young woman in my division, and seeing you in the gym just fuels that fire.
I distanced myself from toxic people. You were a friend of a friend, someone who I didn’t think the world of but you seemed cool enough to bum alcohol from. Now, I only surround myself with people I know are good and honest.
I took a step back from dating. I needed to figure out how to love myself again after everything that I had been through. I needed to find out how to go about love and relationships now that I have an STI. I still haven’t figured out how people will react when I tell them, but I will tonight. In the two years I’ve spent single, I have learned so much about who I am as a person. I learned not to compromise on what I want and what I deserve. Just because you left a scar on me does not mean I am not just as deserving of love as I was before. A scar only means I am stronger than what tried to defeat me. I display most of mine proudly, but yours is intimate and kept close.
I learned to take pride in who I am. Whether it be standing up for what I deserve professionally and personally or taking time to do what I need rather than what is expected or wanted from me. I stopped apologizing for things I am not sorry for and asking for the things I feel I deserve. I worked. I worked hard. I work tirelessly and endlessly to make myself stronger and happier day in and day out.
In short, I hate you for what you did to me, but I do not hate you for who I have become. I love the person I am now. Were there easier ways to get here? Yes. But who I am today is someone I love, someone I can be proud of. Someone who can one day stand up in front of a room full of girls and say “I’ve been there.” Someone who can take the negative and spin it positively, showing people that you can use that horrible thing as the catalyst to become your best you.
This is me taking back myself. I am taking back that night. I am taking ownership of it. I was sexually assaulted. I had oral sex performed on me without my consent. I was given HSV-1. I got an STI from rape. You, you aren’t important. Not anymore. This is the end of you being a part of my life. Through that night I transformed myself, and I will not be ashamed. You should be ashamed, but me? I will walk with my head high and say that I am a strong beautiful confident woman. I am also a victim of rape. And I am breaking up with my rapist and all the chains he has confined me in. Here is to the new me. Finally emerging.
My life has never been the same, but it is moving forward. I may always hate you, but it will no longer be a driving force in my life.
So long and farewell.
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