Editor’s note: This piece contains descriptions of sexual assault.
As trust is difficult to come by, we humans barely ever share our deepest, darkest secrets with anyone. But what happens when we cross that barrier? We give somebody the opportunity to hurt us.
Imagine you are a happy girlfriend, with a boyfriend anyone would dream to have. Remember days when he stayed up nights to see you. Remember times when he would do anything simply for a little attention from you. You fell in love with that boy. You fell in love with a boy who wanted a second chance. You fell in love with a boy who wanted to be loved. And then there was no going back.
With time you unraveled each other’s stories. He let you into his heart, the heart of a boy who missed his family before it broke apart. You told him about yourself, the girl who was sexually abused as a child, whom he understood and embraced. He shared with you his struggles with religion, and you respected his opinions no matter how different they were from your own.
He thought you were the most beautiful girl and the best girlfriend one could ask for. You used to go out of your way to put a smile on his face, be it with small surprises, with food, with helping him academically or just understanding him when his own family and friends couldn’t. He did the same for you. He was there for you when you needed him. Your pain was his pain. He listened to you complain about your life and how terrible it was, but your life was not horrible at all; only now can you see how much worse it can become.
You remember when he used to run your fingers through your hair and kiss your forehead. This time he pulled harshly. You remember when he used to caress your arms with his fingertips. This time he used his hands to hold yours still. You remember when he placed a kiss on your lips and looked into your eyes. This time he was looking at the headboard while gnashing his teeth. You remember in the midst of all of that, he would stop and tell you: “I love you; you were the best thing that happened to me at MIT!”
This time you waited, but nothing came. You were right beside him crying for hours, waiting, hoping that maybe he would want to pull you into a hug after he was done. You told yourself it was okay, nothing happened, and he did not mean it. He just forgot. You waited and waited. But you could only make up excuses for so long. You could not keep him on that pedestal forever. You realized it was not about love anymore. It was about lust and hunger.
You did not realize when the line between love and lust was crossed. You question yourself, was it your fault? You trusted him, did you not? You let him in. You conclude that it is your fault and you cannot tell anyone. You torment yourself day and night. You question yourself day and night. And he sits on a pedestal. He sits there and watches you deteriorate, piece by piece. And you wonder, did he hate you?
He told you he did not hate you, he was just not in love with you as much as before. He told you he still cared for you and owed it to you to be there for you. But those words, those promises, meant nothing the moment he ran away when you got pregnant. He ran away from responsibility, the responsibility of a promise. He tried to convince you he had to leave. He does not want to deal with it so he left you alone and scared, not knowing what is right or wrong.
You looked in the mirror and all you saw was ugliness. You wanted to live your life, but the only thing alive in you was loneliness. You shoved your face into the pillows so no one could hear you scream. You caused physical pain so maybe the demons inside you would let you sleep. You were cheating on your body. It was not yours anymore. It was used and abused and a part of it was gone. With it went away your self-esteem. With it went away the girl who was strong, independent, loving, and the warmth of the room.
He would give you the bare minimum time necessary for you to stay safe, but you wanted to die. Yes you wanted to kill yourself but never had the audacity to actually do it. You are scared about everything — about talking to him, asking for his attention, going to sleep. He made you think your reaction was uncommon and that you should be fine by now, but you are not.
He told his friends that you cannot get over him, skipping over everything horrible he did to you. If you revealed it all, they would feel bad for you. People would sympathize with you, they would tell you it is going to be okay. But you know that no one really knows or understands or ever will. Every moment you spend is in anxiety, because you do not know when it happened, but you are shattered; somewhere along the lines he managed to break you into tiny pieces — pieces that are beyond repair, pieces that cannot be put back together. You are tortured every day with the thought of being left alone, of being used, but you did not want to be that girl.
He comes back, and pretends everything is okay, and says he would give you another chance, because he wants to help you. But again it is nothing but a lie.
This is my story. And to the one who left, listen to me and listen clearly:
I do not want to be the girl that was raped. I do not want to be the girl who was left all alone, pregnant. I do not want to be the girl who was used because she trusted you. I imagine you, imagining me, and that is my salvation. I want to tell you, I want to scream to the world, that I am not okay because what you did is not okay and it will never be okay, no matter how much you try to avoid me.
I cannot just “get over it and move on” as you suggested. I am not okay, and it is your fault. I will not trust anybody and it is your fault. You were not doing me a favor by pretending to be there for me. Neither were you telling yourself the truth when you imagined everything is fine. Let me break it to you: it wasn’t. I wasn’t fine. I am not fine! I will never be put back together and it is your fault. You denying all of this to yourself and your friends will not change the truth. What you did was wrong and you will have to live with it for the rest of your life, and I pity you.
And to you all reading my story:
It was supposed to be on us, MIT. Correct? Where were you when I needed that friend? Where were you when I wanted to pick up that knife and scratch every part of my body because it disgusted me? Why did you say, “It happens, move on with your life”? Because I am still stuck in that night, crying and waiting. I am still stuck in that week when I was left alone. I am still stuck in those months when I would quiver in the corner of my bed and scream in the showers.
You will never know how it feels. So just think before you speak because I have heard all of that from him as well. He made excuses to run away. So think before you say something because those words construct the fine line between you and him.
But I live — I do not let the disappointment take over me because I am waiting, waiting for the day when he realizes the magnitude of the repercussions of his actions. I know he will come back and on that day I will have tears in my eyes, care in my heart, and strength in my body. I will have everything except the one thing this man will come for: forgiveness.
This account is anonymous to protect the identity of the author.