In the wake of #metoo, I'm hearing from women it's really stirred up old emotions and memories of abuse that had been repressed for many years. I've been there. It took me three years to write this letter to my abuser after finding out about what I endured as a child.
I've thought a lot about this: sharing my letter I wrote and mailed (in February) to the man who raped me between the ages of three and six. I've wondered if sharing it publicly was the right thing to do--if it was too revealing. (I shared it initially back in February on this blog.) Then I thought about the people who reach out to me who are searching for answers. Searching for something that might help them heal their inner child.
There is no handbook for this. I didn't know how to start the letter, what to write. I had to trust intuition and just write what was in my heart and mind.
Maybe sharing this letter will help one other childhood sexual abuse survivor. I really hope it will.
February 5, 2017
I’m writing to you because I want you to know that I know what you did to me when I was little. Maybe you thought I wouldn’t remember. Maybe you didn’t care either way.
And here’s what I know. You sexually abused me and raped me when I was just a tiny child. Multiple times. The pain and damage you caused—the subconscious scarring—is something I’ve had to work very hard to recover from over the past three years. You see, I didn’t remember any of it until I was 40 years old.
There were clues along the road of life, like having to endure vaginal surgery at age 19 due to scar tissue from you raping me. And many, many other telltale signs over the years told the story of what I suffered because of your sickness, but the dots didn’t connect until three years ago. Until it all started to come back to me because I was ready to face it and heal from it.
Here’s something else I know. I’m not the only child you abused.
When I ask myself how in the world you could do what you did to a precious little child, there is a part of me that actually feels empathy for you because NO ONE does what you did (and may still be doing) unless it was done to you in some shape or form. Or was promoted within your family growing up. Cycle of abuse. But that cycle stops here. You weren’t strong enough to break the chain. I am. I’m not letting the abuse break me.
I pray to God you aren’t still abusing children and that maybe, just maybe, your past is catching up with you. Your conscience is screaming. And I hope you will not turn down the dial on the noise. That you will really think long and hard about how you conducted your life and the wake of pain you left behind you.
Know this: You may have violated my body but you did not break my spirit. I am proud of the strong, confident woman I am today and I’m proud to help other childhood sexual abuse survivors reclaim their lives.
I’ve thought about whether or not I truly forgive you and at this point, right now, I can’t honestly say that I do. I’m sure I’ll get there someday. But not now. What I do know right now is that everything I’ve endured in my life has made me stronger. I am the person I am today because I overcame what you did, and I’m grateful for who I am and the light I bring to this world.