The Mighty Logo

A Letter to the Boy Who Hurt Me

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

You don’t get to just go around and pretend like your actions don’t impact other people. You don’t get to pretend like it never happened, because I don’t have that luxury.

• What is PTSD?

I don’t get to pretend like you didn’t sexually assault me as I shoved and shouted for you to stop, because I’m choked by the memory at least once a week.

I don’t get to pretend that in the mornings leading up to it, as I said you hurt me the night before, your response wasn’t to say you had no control over your actions, like I just had to accept it, because I replay over and over in my head why I believed you, why I didn’t find your lack of shock and empathy suspicious, why I didn’t leave. Why I got back in bed with you. Why I let it escalate. I don’t get to rid myself of the self-loathing I feel as a result.

I don’t get to pretend like you didn’t ask me to go on pills to increase my sex drive, that me saying repeatedly I didn’t want to send nudes over an open server wasn’t scoffed at until I openly gave in, that you didn’t touch me under the blanket if we were watching a movie with friends knowing I couldn’t make a scene and not stopping until I pushed multiple times and others stared. I don’t get to pretend that I don’t hate myself for not seeing these as red flags until it was too late. Until you were inside me as I begged for you to stop. Until you woke me up in the middle of the night to ask for a blow job after I’d spent the evening crying over my dad’s cancer diagnosis.

I don’t get to pretend like I didn’t make excuses for your behavior long after I left, refusing to acknowledge it for what it was, as I couldn’t face that someone who said they loved me would do that, that I didn’t walk away sooner, and that I foolishly still loved you. I don’t get to pretend because I tried that and it only made it worse.

I’m haunted by you. You’re a ghost I can’t escape, no matter how much I want to. So I’m not going to pretend I can.

I stayed longer than I should have. I made a series of choices to give in to your pushing until I no longer had a choice. I have to live with that. And you have to live with what your pushing did to me.

I get nightmares. I get flashbacks. When men hit on me I feel a trickle up my spine that says run. I tried to fight it, even being more promiscuous than normal hoping to prove to myself I was alright. But I wasn’t. I’m still not.

I feel unsafe always. Wondering if someone who said they loved me could do this what’s to stop someone else?

But now I know you didn’t love me. Because love isn’t selfish, love isn’t controlling. Love is wanting so badly for another person to be happy you’ll put their needs above your own. You did worse than putting your needs before my own, you put your desires before my needs.

You can pretend you don’t remember, you can pretend I’m exaggerating, but you can’t pretend it didn’t happen, because my suffering is a reminder it did.

The fact that when I hear you travel two hours to come to a bar on my street I hide in my room for days is a reminder.

The hundreds of dollars I spend on therapy to get over this and how it complicated my grief that the person I was supposed to be able to count on made it worse is a reminder.

The panic attack I had when I thought I saw you on the street is a reminder.

We had good times. You started out as a Prince Charming. You were there for me when I was low in college. But that doesn’t cleanse you of this. That doesn’t mean you get to pretend it didn’t happen, because it did. And it shouldn’t happen again.

I don’t write this to hurt you. I don’t write this to ruin you. I write this to heal, to have my voice heard. Just as all humans are, you are capable of great compassion and bitter action. I am too. I write this because the full scope of your humanity hurt me profoundly, just as it brought me and others joy, but I need to voice my suffering in order to move on. I need to acknowledge it happened. And I hope by acknowledging it happened you can heal too.

Photo by Dmitry Shamis on Unsplash

Originally published: January 5, 2021
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home