A Goodbye Letter To My Rapist (by Molly)
I’m writing to you now to say goodbye. I’m done with you. Finally. You will no longer take up space, time, energy, effort or emotional storage in my life. It’s taken me a long time to get to this place. And it hasn’t been an easy journey. It’s been terrifying, painful, exhausting, lonely and sad.
I gave you so many chances to show me that you were sorry for what you did, that you were able to hold yourself responsible, that you’d somehow changed into someone who was more respectful than the man who held me down and raped me. I believed you when you said that you were sorry. I believed you when you agreed that you would disclose your rape history to future partners. I believed you when you said that you took HPV and cervical cancer seriously, and that you would let all your partners past and future know that you are a carrier for this deadly virus, out of respect for the health of their bodies. I believed you when you said that you respected me, that you respected all women. I believed you when you said that you were committed to being held accountable for your actions. I believed you when you said that you took this seriously and that you would honour my requests for healing and engage fully and willingly with a community-based accountability process. I believed you, but I don’t any more. I don’t believe you at all. Your word is meaningless to me. It is nothing. It is the lies of a pathologically selfish and dangerously predatory perpetrator of forced-rape and intentional-spreader of a deadly virus. I’m frightened by your promises because they are nothing more than a thin mask for your despicable actions. And I’m disgusted by your promises because they feign respect where there is none.
You thought you could rape me and get away with it. You thought you could make promises and then break them without any repercussions. You thought you could act like you did and not be held responsible for your actions. Well, you can’t. I know I let it go for a long, long time. I know I kept silent about what you did for over 2 years, because I was scared and ashamed of what you did to me and because I didn’t have the support or the capacity to speak up about it. Well, I do now. And you’re not going to get away with it. Do you want to know why? Because what you did was wrong. Because what you did was horrible. Because what you did hurt so many more people than just me. And finally because despite your lies, your dishonesty, your disrespect, your charms and all the other tools you’ve tried to use to keep this silent, I have truth on my side. I have the truth of what you did to me. And that alone speaks out.
So this is going public. Your actions will no longer be allowed to hide in silence and in secrecy. I was quiet about it for too long. I was scared and ashamed to speak up about it, but at this point I’m even more scared and ashamed not to. I want every woman to know your face, your history, your whereabouts. I want every community to know what you’ve done. I want folks to know how to protect themselves against you. And I want folks to know that they can also speak up about what you did and take action against it. Rape doesn’t just hurt the person you raped; it hurts everyone. And for too long I protected you out of some sense of tenderness toward you or some false belief that you were a decent person. But not any more. I’m done with all that. You’ve put me through hell for too long now. You terrorised me by raping me and then you continued to hurt me by making statements of respect and commitment to change and agreements around a process of accountability for what you’d done. But you’ve continued to drag me through the mud by breaking your agreements and continuing to disrespect me. You’ve continued to hold power over me by promising things and then breaking those promises over and over again. And I’d be a fool to allow you to keep putting me through this.
I won’t be silent any longer. I won’t protect your identity any more. You are a rapist and you have exposed additional women to a deadly virus without showing them the respect of disclosing your history. And now everyone is going to find out. You thought you could keep it silent. You thought you could refuse to disclose your history and get away with it. Well, you can’t. And finally everyone will know what you’ve done. Finally everyone will know your face as the face of someone who has perpetrated rape and spread a deadly STI and who has refused to disclose that information to his partners. You’ve held power over this situation for too long. Now I’m turning the tables and taking that power back.
You’d said that you hoped we could be friends when all of this was over, and I’d said the same. I truly wanted that. I wanted to believe that someone who raped me could be held responsible and grow and change into someone who I would still want to have in my life. I wanted to believe you when you said that this meant something to you, something beyond your own selfish desires. I gave you so many chances to prove that to me. I gave you so many opportunities to be responsible and respectful toward me, and to show me that you were sorry for what you’d done. But I’m done giving you chances to show me that you’re still capable of being a good person to me. I don’t believe you any more and I don’t want to be friends with you any more. Not now. Not ever. I don’t have room in my life for someone like you. You are a monster to me. You are a rapist and a liar. And I’ve got better things to do with my life than allow you to continue hurting me. I’ve got better things to do than continue to trust you and allow you to break that trust over and over again. I don’t need someone like you in my life. You will never again be a friend.
I’ll still hold hope that you can become a better person through all of this, that you can become a safer and more respectful and responsible person. I’ll hold that hope because it terrifies me to think of you continuing to rape or continuing to lie to your partners about who you are so that you can gain their trust only to threaten and compromise their agency over their own bodies. I’ll hold that hope because I can’t live in a world where there are people like you without holding onto hope. And so I’ll hold that hope. But I’ll hold it from a distance. I won’t be around to see you grow into a better person. I won’t be around to see you change into the person you’ve claimed to be since the beginning of our relationship. I’ll be far, far away. I don’t want you in my life any more. You’ve taken too much from me for me to allow you to take any more. I’m done.
I didn’t deserve to be raped by you, I didn’t deserve to be silenced by you, I didn’t deserve to be lied to by you, and I don’t deserve to put up with this any longer.
So goodbye, Benjamin. I hope for the sake of everyone else in your world that you change. To me, you’ll always be a rapist. So from now on you’re dead to me. I’m done allowing you to remain in my world. And I’m done being silent.