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A letter to my rapist # 1

By Thanh
April 5, 2022
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Javier,

I could try to explain to you how you hurt me, get into the psychological and emotional toll that I experienced as a result of your disgusting actions, or address the way in which your behavior is an example of a wider, systemic issue regarding male violence against women. But, I’m not sure if an exploration of my thoughts and feelings would matter to someone who had no regard for anyone other than their own self. And after all, according to you, I’m just a person who likes to “talk things out too much.”

So what is the point of writing this letter to you? Why do I bother with finding the right words? What difference would it make?

I’ve come to realize that I had been approaching this letter wrong: I was trying to make this about you. And that was the issue during our time together – I was always trying to make it about you by centering your needs and feelings over mine. When I was addressing my concerns with how you were treating me and my body, I would soften the blow of my words with a coat of compassion and blanket my statements with empathy and understanding, just so you would not have to feel like a bad person.

However, what I ended up doing was lessening the impact of your actions. I compromised the truth in order to preserve your sense of humanity, even though you had reduced mine. I refused to name exactly what you did.

Let me be frank this time: you raped me.

You are a rapist.

Let those words sear into your psyche and linger in your lungs as you live with its meaning to the fullest extent.

I’ll keep it brief like that, just the way you like it.

– Thanh

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