Should I Forgive My Rapist?

I’m sitting here, in a slightly dark room watching lights projected on the wall as they move in fascinating patterns. The lights are meant for my 4 month old daughter but I like them too. Usually when I write, the words jump out of my head, flowing onto the paper with perfect cadence. There’s something that I’ve been wanting to address for a while now, but it feels forced. There are thoughts hurling at my brain as if I’m driving 100 miles an hour on the freeway trying to comprehend detailed signs. I’m trying to sort through them and focus—slow down. This subject is difficult for me to think of but I feel like I need to do it. It’s been 3 years. It’s time.

One thing I have a hard time comprehending is why I went back to, or how I could have gone back to drinking so many times, considering the terrible things that came of it. I’ve talked about shame associated with addiction before but I haven’t divulged the worst of it. It’s common for an addict to shatter their self-esteem and go back to the addiction to fix it. It’s a terrible cycle. When I first quit drinking I still felt broken and disgusting. There isn’t anything to be done about past mistakes—or so I thought. I thought I had to live with them forever and I would always drag them around. Everyone could see them weighing me down. I felt so transparent and pitiful.

I was living in a basement, drinking and occasionally using drugs. This was one of the worst periods of my life. Things were out of control and I couldn’t stop them. Sometimes I wouldn’t leave the basement for days, I would even occasionally pee in a can and dump it later to avoid going upstairs and seeing people. I was struggling with extreme bouts of anxiety. I would do just about anything to avoid interaction when my anxiety was holding me hostage. I wasn’t going to therapy or doing anything for my own health. I met Keyes (my husband) around this time and our love was strong enough to last through the worst times—in fact it pulled me through. I wanted to have the relationship I knew we could. I wanted to be better for us.

I was easily drinking a fifth of HRD vodka everyday, when I could get my hands on one. If I was offered alcohol for free I never said no. One day, I found myself in the presence of someone I rarely spoke to. He was the boyfriend of a women that Keyes and I had done drugs with before; he never said much. Keyes was over visiting me and the three of us had the house to ourselves. This guy had a lot of vodka and was abnormally generous. At the time Keyes was taking care of his parents’ place and needed to be home. Before he left me alone drinking with this guy I pulled him into the bathroom and asked him if we should be alone drinking. I didn’t know him well, but Keyes did. He thought it would be fine.

While we were all hanging out, this person said he wished he had a relationship like ours and he was in love with a lady that he wanted to share his life with. He made it clear that someone my age was far to young to catch his interest. He also did something very strange—music was playing and he was dancing around a bit and kept getting ‘frisky’ with Keyes. I was sure he was flirting with him. I asked Keyes if the guy was openly gay or if he had hit on him before. He hadn’t, this was the first time. We didn’t know at the time that this was all a “show” leading up to what he had planned down to a tee.

We were alone for a while and I started to feel funny—more ‘out of it’ than usual. I was a heavy drinker and I was definitely drunk, but it felt like more. I started to feel uncomfortable, I realized he was flirting with me. I wasn’t positive, I mean he had made it so clear he wasn’t interested, I just had this feeling in my gut. Extreme worry—anxiety. I was tipsy and my memories are still foggy. I just remember wanting to talk to Keyes more than anything in the world. I didn’t know Keyes’ phone number because it was programmed into my phone, which I didn’t have. I asked this man over and over what the number was. I begged him. I knew he had the number! Finally he gave it to me and I called Keyes from the landline, asking him to come over as fast as he could. I said the guy was acting “weird” but keyes didn’t get the hint and I was afraid to say more. Keyes told me he would be over in 15min or so. I told him to come as soon as possible.

I remember sitting at the top of the rickety, steep, wooden staircase. I sat on one step at a time, I couldn’t walk down. I slowly scooted. I don’t remember the entire trip, just visions here and there of working my way down the stairs.

Keyes finally showed up to find me passed out on the bed, in and out of consciousness, being raped. I was too drunk to fight back or to even know what was happening. At one point I told keyes’ that we had just been talking about him, like nothing had happend. I don’t know for sure, but I feel like something else was added to one of those drinks because I had an unfamiliar impairment. I don’t even remember most of what happened next, I only know what Keyes told me. He started screaming uncontrollably and picked up a skateboard with the intent of bashing the predators head in. He said he has never wanted to kill someone so badly. The assailant started stammering odd excuses like “she wanted you to walk in on it”, “she took her pants of and asked for it”. None of what he was saying made sense.

The sad part is that when I drank, especially during a manic phase, I generally became flirty with women and men alike. I would sit on women’s laps, keyes was aware of this and generally told me to stop. In this particular situation I did nothing remotely enticing, to the contrary, I shy’d away because I knew deep down that flirting wouldn’t have been innocent. Flirting would have been a very bad idea and I tried to get out of the situation.

After the fact, Keyes was upset and didn’t know what to think. He was very insecure and didn’t know if I wanted it to happen or not. He had to think about the fact before he realized that it made no sense for me to cheat on him and call him over. He went home to check on his parents’ dogs before we had a chance to really talk about it; I sat on the bed crying quietly. I was frozen. When he returned he had ran into a ‘user’ and had taken some meth. This was the first time he did it without my consent. He told me immediately. He didn’t feel his emotions, he was out of it. He now believed me and knew I was telling the truth but he wasn’t sad or angry like he should have been.

We went over to the “addicts” house afterwards and got high again. I didn’t feel like doing drugs, I was numb. I felt at the time that I owed it to Keyes’ to be patient and let him try to feel better. He was in this mess because I couldn’t control my drinking and I felt pure guilt. He deserved to numb himself if he wanted. In many ways this experience was just as hard on him as it was on me. The problem is that he kept leaving me alone with these people. He kept disappearing to go back to his house. I’m not going to go any further into the details but I will say he hurt me bad—worse than he had ever before.

He encouraged me to go to the police and to quit drinking. I wanted to quit drinking, but drinking was the only thing that made me feel OK. I couldn’t quit the habit I had been plagued with for years, while simultaneously going through the most devastating experience of my life. Keyes had a hard time grasping the fact that I could continue drinking even though it played such a large role in my demise. I had no desire to go to the police. I didn’t want to tell anyone I just wanted to process it on my own. I didn’t want to be judged. I didn’t want to have to prove what happened—forced to explain the event, every detail, over and over. No way. Plus, I was very promiscuous in my younger days and flirty even then. I couldn’t handle people thinking that it was my fault. I started it and then changed my mind. Or worse, I allowed it and then lied to protect my reputation (which was terrible at the time anyway). I was so afraid that people would think I deserved it. I could imagine them whispering terrible things behind closed doors. I could see the looks I would get in public. Why would anyone put themselves through that? What would it accomplish? I couldn’t survive it.

I wanted to pretend it never happened. I cried every time it was brought up. I didn’t tell anyone for at least 6 months and when I finally did, I didn’t go into detail. I tried to tell myself that it wasn’t a big deal. It’s just sex. Why is it such a big deal? It wasn’t my first time having sex. I had even had casual sex in the past and I wasn’t bothered by that. If some sex could feel meaningless, why couldn’t this?! I tried every way possible to make it OK. But then I felt guilty saying it was OK. I wasn’t OK with it, I just wanted it to go away. I prayed for it to go away. I hated the person responsible for a long time; but now I just feel sorry for them. They are pathetic and they aren’t happy. They live a sad life. I’m sorry that anyone endures such a horrific, depraved existence, hurting other people as they self-destruct. I am still trying to forgive. I preach forgiveness and tout that it is good for the forgiver. I can’t rid myself of the feeling that if I forgive the sin I’m saying that it’s ‘fine‘, who cares if it were to happen again?-Because it’s just FINE. To forgive this sin sickens me to my core. I’m sure I could put a positive spin on it, and find some good in the situation but I’m not ready to do that. I don’t want to.

How do I get over something so complicated. One of the reasons I didn’t like telling people is because I hold a lot of blame and people don’t like that. It makes them uncomfortable when the victim feels responsible. They insist “it’s not your fault”. I know it isn’t completely my fault, but I hold some culpability. I could have left, or fought, or simply controlled my drinking.

I held some resentment toward Keyes for not understanding me and coming sooner—for doing drugs and numbing himself and forgetting about me—for not trusting me until I proved myself and he saw that there was no other explanation. This was one of the hardest things Keyes has even been through and he handled it the best he could at the time. He trusted this person and didn’t think he would EVER do something so disgusting. He found it hard to believe it was true, how it appeared to be planned out. We were broken.

Today, Keyes and I refer to those people—the people we used to be, as our ex’s. We were so different. We don’t drink or use any illicit drugs anymore and we don’t ever make those types of mistakes, period. It’s difficult to even associate the way we are now with the way we were then. Keyes is my protector, my night in shining armor. He takes care of me in every sense of the word and he loves me with every cell in his body. He has lifted me up, comforted me and and pulled me out of the darkest times. He is the best father and husband I could imagine. Though we still have a lot of work to do we were able to put this ‘event’ behind us, sober up; only now have we started to revisit that part of our lives.

I hate the word ‘RAPE’. I despise it! After it happened, the first time I told a medical provider they called it a sexual assault and I continued referring to it as such from then on. For some reason that softens the blow, for me. Rape is heinous and monstrous. I should have fought back and screamed, but it was a quite, perverse assault. I have seen movies where women were brutally raped in alleyways in the dead of night. This wasn’t that.

Something nearly as despicable as assault is a false testimony. Please don’t ever accuse someone of rape if they didn’t do it. This is one of the most vile things you could do to another person and it degrades your own character tremendously. No matter what this person did to you, lying about rape is not the response. Not only does it violate the accused but it belittles those of us who have actually had the experience.

Generally I give advice as I wrap up a blog. I can’t do that here because I haven’t recovered from this trauma. I feel like this is the first step to accepting what happened, realizing it and beginning to heal. In order to even start this recovery I had to take a long hard took a the way I was living my life and make sure I was no longer in that situation. The only advice I could possibly give, is to be careful if you are drinking or using drugs. Sometimes people can be deceptive and wicked beyond reproach. They are so hurt and broken that they spread their hatred in unthinkable ways. If something does, or has, happened to you–you will make it. Things will slowly get better. You are not powerless.

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