To my abusers:
I forgive you.
However, I’m still hurting.
This may not matter to you,
but I thought I ‘d let you know.
I believe you are human.
I don’t think you’re awful.
I don’t think that you are beyond repair.
Maybe that’s my fault for always seeing
the good in people.
I think- I hope (perhaps foolishly)-
that sometimes you regret your actions.
I am a good person, I’m worthy of love.
I did not deserve your abuse.
When you raped me, I didn’t fight back
because I thought maybe this was the
only way you would feel wanted,
the only way a person would open themselves to you.
When you needed help, even
years after your attacks,
I still listened with an open heart.
I didn’t blame you; I simply wanted you to feel loved.
I’ve been told by several people that
I am too forgiving, I love too frivolously.
I wanted to take their advice,
but I don’t believe that to be true.
I think that if you were loved,
I mean really, really loved unconditionally
with support and encouragement,
maybe you wouldn’t have done those things.
Maybe these words won’t make a difference
in your life, or your month or day.
But I want you to understand that you
hurt me tremendously- but you did not break me.
I’ve spent years trying to recover from
what you did to my body and mind.
Years in and out of therapy and rehab,
thousands of dollars to fix your mess.
I’ve tried to forget about what you did
by injecting heroin into myself, drinking
to the point of hospitalization, cutting into
my skin, losing 30 pounds in two months.
I even tried to kill myself, three times.
It takes one night for you to get drunk with
your friends, unzip my pants and have a good time.
But it will take years for me to love myself fully again.
It will take years to undo your one “crazy” party night.
I refuse to let you walk away without at least
knowing that your actions will forever be remembered.
There has not been a day that has gone by
where I haven’t looked at my body and have
seen “worthless” stripped across my ribs.
Slowly, every day, I’m learning to love myself again.
I’m learning to accept my scars,
both physically and emotionally.
I’m reclaiming my self-respect, my story.
I hope you find what you are so desperately
missing from your hearts.
I hope to God it doesn’t happen to your sisters,
your daughters, your friends and family.
Dear abusers, I was your victim.
But you did not break me.
I am strong enough to forgive you
and I am strong enough to forgive myself.