They Do Exist.

A Sort-Of Letter To My Twin Sister’s Rapist

Editor’s Note: TRIGGER WARNING/RAPE. This story is difficult to read, particularly if rape is part of your story. There is an additional note on rape at the end by GWP. Today’s post is Anonymous out of respect for her sister, and for her sister’s safety. If you feel that you need to speak with the author, please send an email to lauren[at]goodwomenproject.com. – Lauren

I punched his name in the search bar. Him.

I sucked in a sharp, bitter breath, and held it. That’s him.

Quivering, the corners of my mouth pulled down. I scrunched my nose, sickened, and grabbed the side of my face.

That’s HIM. He did THAT to HER.

I stared at his picture with stinging, narrowed eyes. Hatred filled me.

Those were his lips. Those savage, smirking, greedy lips. How dare he.

Scanning his body, I soaked him in. A searing flush pumped through my blood, caving my chest with fury.

Those hands locked the door behind them while she panicked, horrified. Those filthy hands touched her, pushed her, shoved her, forced her. They dug into her curves, squeezing her flesh with uncontrolled lust.

My gut became tense and twisted. I seized air with curled, clawed hands, baring my teeth. Something intangible shattered in the depths of my being.

HIIIIIIIIIIIM!!!! That was the man who abused her, used her, exploited the innocence of a good woman. THAT MAN!!! Who ignored terrified eyes and a screaming heart and RAPED my naked, sobbing twin sister in a basement.

Heartbroken rage welled upwards, crescendoing into a grieving, guttural call. It exploded out; I beat the couch rapidly, screaming furiously. I hated this man. What he did was evil. It was evil and malicious and it was done. I wasn’t there, I couldn’t do anything about it.

My twin sister has been my best friend for nearly thirty years. We fight, we love, we know each other deeply. We’ve done life together. Growing, breaking, healing. Making it through our twenties. Two years ago, she moved across the globe, to an entirely different hemisphere. I felt so far away from her right now.

Anger, agony, and inky black tears rolled down my face. They welled on my keyboard. I yelled explicits at my monitor, shaking. The pixelated man on the screen smiled back, arms folded, completely indifferent. I closed the window.

“Why didn’t you tell me a month ago?” I sniffled at the video camera.

My identical sister wiped her wet face, ashamed. “I didn’t know what to do, I was scared. I spent all my Christmas money on the abortion.”

I’m so angry. So livid, I can hardly breathe. I want to throw up. I beat the couch again, punching it with white knuckles. By nature, I’m not an angry person. I can count the witnesses of my rare, seething moments on one hand. I strive for harmony, grace, and understanding. I’m curious and compassionate. I love people. I don’t love people enough. I felt no love for this man. I wanted to rip his face to shreds, and cause him pain, regret, remorse.

My voice wavered as I spoke low and long, “If I were over there, I would literally track. him. down. and BEAT the ****ing. living. SHIT out of him.”

Grace and forgiveness, love and compassion; these things were far from my mind.

Who did this guy think he was? Like he’s entitled to help himself to whatever woman walks his way? Like he’s got some sort of right to target her because she’s beautiful, kind, and soft spoken?

He forced her to have to make a decision about her body; one that brings judgement from strangers condemning her to hell.

With all of my soul, I hate it. I hate rape. I hate pornography. I hate the burden a woman bears because of someone else’s selfish lust.

Lust that forces her into a basement, or clutches her neck in the front seat of a car while he unzips his pants. Lust that hides in the woods at twilight, grabbing her while she runs by. Lust that helps himself into her apartment, ripping her clothes off because she smiled at him earlier, and “she wants this, really.”

It infuriates that we have to train women to defend themselves, carry pepper spray, and never show any skin instead of teaching men to respect and value women.

“I can’t stand it. I hate it. I HATE IT.”

“I know,” she choked, “I’ll never forget laying in his basement, or on the operating table. I’m having a hard time finding the line between forgiveness and justice. But you know, just because he destroyed my life, I don’t feel any desire to go out and ruin his. It’s not okay what he did, it’s wrong and perverted. I’m angry and traumatized. But…. I’m not the one lying awake at night wondering if my life’s going to be okay, wondering if I’m loved or valued. He is, and, and… well, that’s sad. I think that the people who do the most hurtful things to others are the ones who are the most lost and broken and lonely, and probably the ones who need love and forgiveness the most.”

As I listened to my sister talk, handing her predator his heart back, it softened me. I didn’t even see him as a person. As she was to him, this man was just a disposable entity that I wanted control over. To hurt and beat down and belittle. And isn’t that what’s wrong with us all?

See, our problem lies in our inability to humanize people. Humanizing people means recognizing that everyone in this world – everyone – has a heart. They are more than the roles they fill in your world, or the perception you have of them.

Humanizing people means soaking in their stories and dreams; allowing their past and future and feelings and heartaches to be a reality. Seeing them as a broken, living, dynamic soul with valid emotions. With deep wells of heartache, and a pulsating hunger for love and acceptance.

What that man did to my sister is not okay. But he’s more than a rapist. He’s more than a criminal. He’s a person. What made him this way? What’s going on in his heart? Accounting for the value of a heart is what helps you be a more loving person. Although hard to acknowledge, the messiest heart is still a heart.

We are all messy.
We are all human.

We need to start humanizing people. This requires compassion. This is Jesus. This is Love. This is where redemption is found. Wishing others good. Grace. Forgiveness.

This includes the man who raped your sister.

To a man who caused my sister scathing pain, to a man who broke twin hearts:

I forgive you. She forgives you.

I’m sorry that you had to steal from her body to feel like a man. I’m sorry no one told you this isn’t okay. I’m sorry that you don’t know what real love is.

I hope you do better, grow stronger, and find real Love. Nothing else will ever satisfy you, did you know that?

Hear me clearly: I am not sorry that I’m angry, or hurt, or devastated. What you did was appalling. But I am sorry for hating you. For envisioning myself at your door, whacking you in the head with a metal pipe when you opened it. That’s not loving. People aren’t objects to use and destroy.

I’ve pulled up your picture again. I’m looking into your eyes once more, and a wave of sympathy undulates through my heart. A deep, poignant understanding overwhelms me.

You’re a person.

Just like me. And just like you, I need love and affirmation and grace and forgiveness every day. Especially when I don’t deserve it. So do you.

I will never get to look you in the eyes and tell you this, but I hope one day you know: you don’t need to detract from other hearts to feel important. Your heart has value. As messy as it is, it has value, and it is forgiven and Loved.

Note By GWP: Rape is an evil thing, and we fully recognize the pain and damage it causes. If you are a rape victim, your pain and victimization is validated and heard by us. Rape is never, ever the victim’s fault, nor does the victim deserve it. The act of rape should never be ignored or suppressed for the sake of the attacker. We published today’s story to share one girl’s experience with the process of forgiveness when it is not deserved. If you are not ready, do not feel guilty. Recovery and healing is a long, slow process, and Jesus is faithful to validate our scars and heal our hearts in his perfect time. Forgiveness is a part of this process, and happens at very different stages for every single woman. To read more stories on recovering from rape, click here.


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15 Responses

  1. Michelle

    Wow.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm

  2. This is probably the single most powerful thing I have read in I don't even know how long.
    Thank you for sharing the emotions with me.. with us.
    ~K

    December 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

  3. Lauren

    I work at a rape crisis center and I deal with what rapists do to women and children every single day. Serial rapists. Fathers who rape their daughters for years, uncles who rape their nieces and nephews for their entire childhood… the list goes on and on. It is beyond difficult for me to understand forgiveness– which I know I need to try to do– because I see the pain and the trauma every day. The pain in a mother's eyes when she learns her 8 year old son was raped by a neighbor for 5 years. The trauma of a child who doesn't know how to explain what happened to her. Heartbreaking and devastating.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm

  4. This is such a powerful article. I hope that it brings healing to someone who needs to hear it.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm

  5. this is amazing. and something i've been thinking about for a while now. we forget to treat people like real beings with hearts and feelings and pain. it's not until we look others in the eye that we really get it. they are just like us. no matter what they've done. thank you for sharing your pain and hurt and teaching others something important.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm

  6. Anonymous

    Peace be with you.

    But that man should be charged and put in jail.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:53 pm

  7. This is a really powerful article and I appreciate your honesty. I read another article about a woman forgiving her rapist yesterday. You can find it here: feminspire.com/should-i-pray-for-my-abuser-reconciling-feminism-and-forgiveness

    I also have a blog about sexualized violence and Christianity: http://www.ourstoriesuntold.com

    Your piece was powerful and I do not want to negate that. I do think it's important to point out though that rape is not about sexual lust though, as you wrote here. Rape is about violence, power, control, and dominance. When we confuse rape with sex, that's when things get very messy. I'm a very sexual person with a high libido, yet I don't rape. We must keep the focus on why most men rape (which isn't about sex), because that's the only way something can be done about it.

    Thank you again for sharing. Forgiveness is powerful.

    December 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm

  8. Carlie

    this blog inspired mine. really enjoyed this post and always feel SUPER encouraged at the end of it. forgiveness IS powerful! check out my new blog http://desperateanddependent.wordpress.com

    December 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm

  9. Yvonne

    i don;t know what to say. I am speechless. To forgive someone who raped someone you love is something i am not sure i am able to do. But God 's love does wonders. I'm stunned that you are able to forgive that man but at the same time, it made me think, would I ever be able to do the same, if this, God forbids, ever happened to me. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for shedding lights into the world. Thank you for making me a better person. Thank you, for everything.

    December 28, 2012 at 7:47 am

  10. What your sister said to your is so powerful. Her beauty of soul is radiating & inspiring.
    You are so right that so many of our problems lie within this issue of not seeing others people as people, made in the image of God.
    May you and your sister continue to grow in healing. Bless you!

    December 29, 2012 at 12:02 am

  11. Pingback: Purity, lust and religion: How the church allows rape to thrive | Our Stories Untold

  12. Pingback: Purity, lust and religion: How Christianity confuses rape with sex | Council for World Mission

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