I Hugged My Rapist
What I thought would be a normal day, was no normal day. The details of what happened before this moment are incredibly fuzzy, because it paled in comparison to that moment. I was coming back from a day of shopping and needed to buy some food for the house, so I drove to the supermarket on the way home and while waiting for lunch meat, I turned around and was face to face with a face I hadn’t seen in over a year and a half.
This was a man who went to my high school, I believed to be my best friend, who supported me throughout high school, who let me cry on his shoulder, who I watched White Chicks with repeatedly, who picked me up when i was feeling down, who I thought was a genuinely good guy, who gave me the nickname I now dislike because of what he put me through. We were close. He was Elmo and I was Cookie and we were Sesame Street. Only not so much later.
During the summer after we graduated, we constantly hung out and we were legitimately friends. We visited each others houses and went places together, jokingly trying to get dates for the other person. One day, he kissed and I thought nothing of it. I denied him then. But a couple of weeks later, that kiss was still on my mind and we had sex. Safe, consensual sex. After this, I went to college and thought nothing of it. There is nothing wrong with a female having an active sex drive.
When I returned home for Thanksgiving break and he wanted to hang out, I thought nothing of it; we were still friends and I assumed he just wanted to see me since he hadn’t seen me in around three months. Made sense, right? Wrong.
When he visited that day, something was off, and I was already in an incredibly vulnerable place. My fall semester wasn’t going well. I had broken up with my partner. I attended my first “Take Back the Night” event which triggered me senseless and brought up things I hadn’t realised was sexual abuse, etc. I was crying and he wanted me to “feel better.” I ended up feeling worse.
My brother was in the next room and he might have saved me, but I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t feel anything but numb. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. or at least not by him. I just remember repeating the word “stop.” When we finished (as if I had a choice in the matter), I just laid there comatose on the floor, tears leaking out of my eyes, but not making a sound. He offered to leave and I nodded. When we reached the door, he apologized and tried to give me a hug. I shook my head. He’d left scratches on my ribs and I was already in enough pain elsewhere.
I didn’t report, but I wish I had. I didn’t tell anyone at home, but I wish I had. I felt as though I deserved it, even though I didn’t. I felt as though since we had sex for the first time that he felt he had the rights to my body. When I went back to school (perks of going out of state), that’s when I shut down and eventually ended up telling my mentor what happened. She hugged me, I flinched, and she got the truth out of me. Upon telling her, I felt a little bit better, especially with hearing her story of her mother’s abuse and this is what I realized:
Rape by someone you know (aka acquaintance rape) is more common than you think.
I was not alone.
Talking helps. Being silent isn’t helping anyone except for your rapist.
Just because you have sex with someone once, it doesn’t mean that you have to continually have sex with that person. Your body is just that: yours. no one should ever control it except you.
Fast forward to eighteen months later, after healing, chanting, and re-finding myself both in life, and in my work, I see him at the supermarket. My heart dropped into my intestines. I didn’t know what to do. I just stared at him for a few seconds as if in disbelief. How dare he work where I shop? That’s unrealistic though. I knew I just wanted an excuse to be angry. So, I calmed down, took a few deep breaths, approached him, and gave him a hug. We chatted for a bit and I left.
I hugged my rapist. I forgave my rapist. Time healed my wounds and so does the pain of performing and talking about it.Let me know if you have any questions.