Portfolio: Dear John Doe
Dear John Doe,
My therapist asked me today what I would say to you if I could confront you about your betrayal. As I considered her question, the idea of wasting one more word, one more breath on your deaf ears made my stomach curdle. Sure, I could ask you why you raped me that night. The question has plagued me for years after all. I have constantly wondered what I had done to deserve such hatred and violence. But the reality is, there is no rational reason why. You’d give me an excuse, maybe even try to proclaim your innocence, inferring that I was lying, but nothing you could say or do would justify the fact you stole something from me that I have spent years trying to take back. No, I have absolutely nothing to say to you. I replied to my therapist, instead, that I’d rather SHOW you what you’d created. I would show you the physical bruises you left behind on my skin. I’d force you to witness every reminder that I have of the day you raped me, from the sound of the rain on the tin roof of that deteriorating trailer to the fear of the stirrups and cameras as I underwent the rape kit procedures. I’d show you my blood-stained clothes, the shower that couldn’t seem to wash the filth that you seemed to leave behind on me, and the pools of tears that fell every night that I spent awake crying because you haunted my dreams.
And then I would show you that I’m alive. I’m still here. I have not allowed you to take over my life. No, I’ve continued moving on. Some days I may be merely surviving, curled into a ball in a bare corner of a room. Other days I may be shuffling my way through adulthood, braving the strangers in public as I try to find some sort of normalcy again. And then there are days where I am thriving. I am laughing and spending time with people who legitimately care about me. I am moving on. You may have had an effect on me, even all these years later, but what you never did was define me. I am a survivor.