The Mighty Logo

The Man Who Raped Me Died and I Don't Know How to Feel About It

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.

I was raped (God — I hate admitting/saying/typing that in reference to myself!) early October 2016 by a guy I considered my “friend.”

• What is PTSD?

He was a friend until that moment I told him “stop” and he didn’t stop.

Months ago he died and I think I’ve felt every emotion I possibly could, from relief, to anger, to guilt, to physical sickness, but mostly betrayal by friends who were posting on social media about “how great he was” when they don’t know what he did (with the exception of one “friend” and that one really stung). Mostly I’ve just wanted to be drunk/high and alone.

I’m happy he’s gone. I’m relieved. I will never have to hear his name or see his face or ever have the chance of running into him when I’m in my hometown. At least I thought once he was gone I’d never have to hear about him again.

Why is it that once you’ve died suddenly you were such a great person with so many friends, when your “friends” treat you (unknowingly?) like shit by saying the man who raped you was such an amazing man/friend/person? If one of my friends came to me and said “_____ raped me” I definitely wouldn’t be expressing my grief for them on a public platform, especially where my friend could see — also inviting several other comments from others who also thought it was sad.

It is sad — sadness is one of the emotions I’m feeling. I can’t quite nail if it’s sadness because he’s gone and I’ll never have a chance to confront him. Sadness because, yes at one time he was a good friend and I knew he had a problem, so I should have said something and maybe he’d be alive. Guilty is also how I’m feeling. If I’d replied to his messages and told him what he’d done and how fucked up it was — and it was — and that I thought he had issues and needed help… maybe that would have made it click? Maybe he’d be back to the friend I knew and I could keep avoiding him for the rest of my life.

But now, now I feel like I did that night when he held me down. I feel trapped and like I can’t breathe because he’s fucking there. Except this time all my friends are there telling me what a good guy he is. And how he’s such a good guy. But I’m saying, “No, stop,” and he isn’t listening. He died the way I thought he would that night. Drugs. After he got frustrated and angry and he passed out. I laid there for a little bit. I was planning on staying the night — I don’t know why, I guess because I was the one who paid for the room so I guess I wanted to get my money’s worth? He also threatened to smoke in the bathroom and I was like no, I’m not losing my security deposit and paying for them to clean the room. So I also wanted to make sure he wouldn’t wake up and do that. But he was snoring so loud. Then he’d stop breathing and I’d have to smack him and yell at him. And then he’d start breathing again. And it just scared the shit out of me and reminded me of being with my first boyfriend when he would almost overdose. And I’d stay up all night and like punch him when he stopped breathing. (That’s why I like that my partner now, snores. It’s soothing and comforting. I know he’s safe.)

I tried to wake him and he pushed me and punched me two times. After that I said, “Fuck you, I’m going to the front desk.” Somehow I zipped up my dress myself. I took a picture of him, alive and asleep so that they knew he was alive when I left (I had 1% battery). I left the room and went down to the desk and was crying. I don’t really remember my conversation with the lady at the front desk I just kept saying, “I can’t.” And she asked me if I wanted the police called and I said no, I just want to go home — let him sleep it off. I guess in the morning the front desk lady told him I had “a family emergency.” I never made contact or saw him again — I deleted him from my phone and Facebook. And didn’t tell anyone for a really long time. Until I found out he’d been talking to the friend I was with when we’d “rekindled” our friendship. I told her to warn her. Funnily enough she was the first to message me about his death “to bring me peace,” yet she was also the first of my closest friends to post his obituary and agree, with a broken heart emoji, that his death is sad. Her post showed up in my notifications on Facebook. Like I said — he’s on top of me and my friends are saying what a good friend, how sad.

I’m angry. I’m angry that I’ll never get to confront him and let him know what a piece of shit I think he is for doing that — high or not, that’s fucked up to do to a friend… to anybody! I’m angry that I have friends who don’t know and I can’t say anything now, because who will believe me and he’s not here to defend himself. Plus, he “was such a good guy/friend, etc.” He could never. I’m angry that people I thought I could trust broke my trust. I haven’t disclosed this incident to many people but more than not it’s been a negative reaction. Especially from my best friend of 15 years. We actually got into a fight over it — the fact that he still had him as a friend on Facebook. He didn’t see why it mattered and brushed the subject off just as quickly as it was mentioned. I’m angry that I feel that the ones who do know, don’t believe me. I’m angry that I can’t tell one of my closest friends, because he’s gone and I don’t know if she’ll believe me.

As a person who’s experienced many traumas throughout life, I’m used to not being believed. My mom, friends, boyfriends, police. All the people who  are supposed to protect you and be there for you the most — it still hurts, it always hurts — 24 years later.

I wish I could talk to my therapist about this, but she’s since retired. I have no therapeutical support other than my psychiatrist every six to eight weeks. And we never talk about trauma because that’s the big elephant in the room. That’s Pandora’s box. Anytime I get near it, things get much much worse for me. But right now PTSD and depression are ruling my life. I can’t keep ignoring it, but I’m too scared to deal with it. So I feel like I’m going to stay in this limbo until the elephant is out of the room, or, I guess technically, my head.

Getty image via Kateryna Kovarzh

Originally published: December 17, 2020
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