I don't know your name, but I know your face. I don't know where you are, but I know that for years, your image lived inside of my mind. You thought you hurt me for one night, but it lasted much longer. Mostly because I let you hurt me for that long.
I need you to know that you had no right to hurt me. I need you to know that everything that happened that night, was your fault. It took me almost ten years to realize and accept that fact. I had zero fault. For almost a decade, I found every reason I could to try to blame myself to make myself feel safer; like I could prevent it from happening again. But that wasn't true. You made the choice to assault me.
I need you to know that I almost died because of what you did that night. I spent years starving my body trying to cope and I came dangerously close. What you did affected not just me, but my husband, my children, and our families and friends.
I would say that you changed my life that night, but you don't have that much power. But what you did sent me into a spiral that changed my life.
When I got home that night, I took my "True Love Waits" ring and slammed it in a drawer, convinced that you had stolen that from me. But you didn't. I just didn't have anyone to tell me otherwise since I kept that night locked away in my mind. But don't worry, the story of that ring didn't end there.
I missed my senior year of high school taking care of my four month old baby while my classmates graduated. Because after that night, I didn't care about my values anymore and I threw caution to the wind.
I lost myself in work and college and graduated with my four year degree in just over two years. I got promoted to a manager at my first job after only one month. I thought I needed to prove myself. I needed to reassure myself that I could still go on; that my life didn't stop that night in June 2007.
I was putting on a pretty good show until my son was stillborn in 2012 and I could no longer keep up. I had been starving myself as a coping mechanism since that night, but that escalated things. I wouldn't eat and I would exercise until I couldn't move anymore. I couldn't control what you did to my body, but anorexia made me feel in control of what went in and out of my body every day after that.
I spent more than half a year away from my family in 2015 finally getting the help I needed. It was then, that I finally allowed myself to be angry with you. The sound of ceramic plates crashing against a brick wall were the embodiment of the anger that I finally realized was justified.
I need you to know that for a long time, I thought you ruined my life. Buy you don't have that kind of power. You hurt me, and I let that hurt control me for a long time, but that ended.
I know that you probably won't ever read this. I know that there's a possibility that you haven't thought about me in years, or maybe even since that night. There's a possibility that, though I lived with the pain every day, your life went on completely normal as if nothing had happened. That wasn't an option for me.
In case you do read this, I need you to know that I forgive you. The pain you caused me was immeasurable, but I serve a God who is bigger.
I serve a God who took what you did to me that night and radically changed my life. He took that "True Love Waits" ring and placed it back on my finger until He presented me with the opportunity to pass it on to someone who needed to hear the truth that I didn't have anyone to tell me the night that I took it off.
My God took that pain and turned it into my passion in life. He took those wounds and He healed them. There are scars, but they tell a beautiful story of redemption and grace. He took what you meant for harm, and He turned it into good.
My God is a merciful Father who was waiting for me with outstretched, open arms when I finally went running to Him for the love and comfort I had been searching for since that night.
I need you to know that you didn't defeat me. I need you to know that I am stronger because I serve a God who promise that I can do all things through Him when I draw my strength from Him.
My God is a loving God who writes amazing stories. I never imagined on that night that He would lead me to spend my life working with sexual assault victims. Being an advocate as a career was not on my radar. All of the amazing people that came into my life through every single path that came as a result of that night have made my life incredible. He writes breathtaking stories.
I forgive you.
He loves me, oh how He loves me. He loves me. And oh how He loves you.