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unmailed sagas

if i ever write this letter
oh the pages i could write
but i don't know where to send it
you have vanished
heaven knows where you live
heaven only knows
-natalie merchant

i have recently decided that i need a way to safely address my attacker. i don't know where he is now; i lost track of him a decade ago and heard of him only a few times after. he may still live here. he may have moved away. he may be married. he may be dead. regardless of where he is or who, i need to send him the words that hide in the unshed tears, in the unspoken speeches, in the nightmares, in the flashbacks. i want him to know. and yet i'm not so sure. so i'm posting letters to him, here, so that i can say to myself, "i have written it out. i have not kept it a secret like so many other things. i am one step closer to freedom."

i encourage everyone to write letters to your attacker, whether you saw them only once and never knew their name, or live with them to this day and have spoken their name a thousand times over. this has really helped me. i can't exactly say why, and i know that the words i have written are somewhat inadequate, because there are only words for so much, and after that, words become meaningless. but i've done my best. i expect to post additions to this letter here in the future, along with letters written by other survivors. i sincerely hope that i have not offended anyone with this. if you write a letter to your attacker, and feel comfortable sharing it, please e-mail it to me. whether or not you intend to share the product, i strongly suggest that you write a letter. tell the world your name again.

letters from the past

Hey asshole,

I am not going to let you dictate my life anymore, it's my god damn life and I am not going to let a sick bastard like you, continue to oppress me. You are sick, I don't know why it was me, I can't understand the mentality or lack there of...You are weak, the most pathetic scum to ever crawl across the earth. In the end it wasn't enough for you to attack me was it, what were you scared that maybe I had gathered enough strength to report you?? You needed to get your pack of neanderthals to ruin my life as well.

I won't let myself to hate you, hate is too strong a passion, you aren't worth the energy...I feel nothing towards you...I refuse to shed one more tear because of you, try to kill myself because of what you have done. If I do cry it is for that little girl inside of me that you butchered, that scared little girl who hides so deep...but I will find her and I will weep every day until I meet her again and tell her that every thing will be O.K. THat she can go forward into life and reclaim herself.

It won't be "Me and a Gun" anymore.


To ?

What were you thinking when you penetrated my weak body? what emotions coursed through you undeserving veins? Is it nice to take advantage of a woman when they cant fight back? did it make you feel good? or did you just not think?

I couldnt fight back, I had no chance at all. A pale, weak, dieing body that was at your disposal. did you think that I wouldnt survive long enough to tell the tale of what you did? did you think the ambulance wouldnt turn up in time? you were WRONG. I didnt die, I didnt stop breathing, I didnt die. I am stronger than you are. I am still here and I dont even know who you are but I curse every breath that you take, every step, every word. In my mind i am making your life a misery, just like mine is now. When I die I will do the same. You are worthless, I am not. I am too strong to let you take over my life. I am proud of every momemt that I survive, because that is the only way I can survive. Everyday I live is another day that you thought I wouldnt see. I hate you, but I will god damn it learn to love myself.

I was so naive to think that people dont hurt, you cant trust everyone. They hurtyou. BUT that is no excuse for what you did. You are a sick, twisted, mental person and I pity your position in this world. You created what you are and you created what I am ( a victim) but I had no choice, YOU did. That is the difference between us. I hope what you did makes you sick everyday, just like it does me. I hope looking in the mirror makes you want to die, just like it does me. I am a victim BUT I am a survivor and I WILL survive. You are nothing in this world and I intend tomake what you did and who you are nothing in my life. You deserve no credibility whatsoever. I dont care if you help starving children in the third world or look after handicapped people, how long would it be before you did it to them?

Ps. as for the other guy, dont think I dont curse evrything you do aswell. You offered to help me after my almost dead person was violated. You are just as sick. I know if youd have had time you would have done the same as your freind.You knew what you were going to do, as soon as you offered your help. I didnt.


Dad, you live your life as a fantasy figure: Mr. Model Citizen. You believe you alone know the truth, but that's not so. Not only is God aware, but I remember your weekly visits to my crib while Mom was at Mass. Your other daughter knew, too. It's the last thing she mentioned before she asphyxiated herself. No one else understood why you worried so much that there would be a note. Were you afraid I found it when I discovered her lifeless body?

How smoothly you played your part when your concerned wife wondered if I'd ever been molested. She saw how angry I was and began to consider all the possibilities except that it was you. You both sat down and asked me if anyone had ever done this. You knew I'd say no because you assumed I was too young to remember and you knew she wouldn't believe me. No evidence - just oral sex and hand molestation. Tremendous invisible emotional pain that goes on to this day, as does your spotless reputation as a pillar of the community.

How can you wonder why I'll have so little to do with you? If you've managed to develop a conscience, do me a favor. Confess. No one who knows you would believe me: not my other four siblings, your oblivious wife, or your little granddaughters whom you always ask for "big wet kisses."

Enough damage. That's what kept me from pushing you down the stairs - no one would ever know, but I know what damage secrets can cause. I didn't follow in your footsteps, thank God.

You allege to revere God. If you really do, come clean.


11/24/98 where are you? i'm not sure if i honestly want to know, but i know that i want to ask the question. and so many more...are you married? does your lover know what you did? do you remember me? do you think what you did was wrong? do you feel guilty? do you know how i feel? do you see me as a person with a face and a soul and a heart or just a little dollbaby?

the world now is cold, and gray, and the wind sneaking up my sleeves is like claws, all over my skin, all inside of me and outside my windows and swirling around inside my jacket. what did you do today? i did hardly anything. math homework, talking on the phone with friends, reading the tarot cards displayed on the tile in front of me, telling my best friend what i think of her dad. just my usual, stuck-in-a-rut-too-afraid-to-try-to-change behavior, i guess. no one understands how i feel. i can't blame them for not understanding, but i want them to so desperately. sometimes i feel like a whore, trying to tell my story to everyone, trying to make everyone believe it is a problem, it is important. and then i lock myself away again, and feel like a liar because i'm not telling the truth anymore when they ask if i'm a virgin. i feel lost on days like today, like the wind picked me up and tore me away from myself and i've been battered and bruised and thrown back down to earth too suddenly. i feel alone. i feel tired.

i remember you being so ugly. the only smiles of yours i remember are the you-do-what-i-want-you-to smile, which is so false and painted on like lipstick smeared across your face, and the lust-relieved smile, which appeared a couple of times, after you'd gotten off or whatever. sort of sick-looking, like you were about to vomit. your mouth twisted, lips pressed together. but manipulative, hungry, like you were making it clear that you would want more sooner or later.

i can't be angry with you. only sometimes, and then not for long. then i go back to the questions. one thing i always wonder about is if you're in a relationship. i remember your girlfriend. her hair was so light blonde, like an angel's hair, and she wore lavender eyeliner around her blue eyes, so pretty, with a name like the wind in spring scattering the flower petals across your lawn. i know she didn't know about everything you did with me. she was the kind of girl who would have never looked at you again if she knew. i remember that about her. so pure, so graceful, so grown-up. i glared at her because, if you don't remember now that you are older and better than me and gone, i loved you then, and i was so envious of her, that she could kiss your lips so gently and knowingly like i saw her doing one day long ago, and the only way you ever kissed me was so rough and disgusting and full of raw heat and regret. she was so beautiful, i wanted to be just like her, and i thought that maybe if i was like her you would put your hands on me softly and whisper things in my ears to make me laugh.

the world was sweet and now when i think of her i am more bitterness than sugar. i think she was a stupid tramp who probably wasn't so gorgeous as i thought, she was probably just another gossiping fourteen-year-old with purple eyeliner and a tube of cherry chapstick, and a madonna poster on her wall. she probably didn't want to jack you off so you came to me instead. maybe you thought i wouldn't remember, so it wouldn't matter anyway. maybe now when you look in the mirror and feel a wave of guilt you say to yourself, "i was a kid. kids do things like that all the time." there's a difference, though, between a teenage boy and a little girl. there's a difference, and there are no excuses, so shut up, and think about me for once, instead of you.

you always thought about you, and not much else. i'm sure you really weren't thinking about whether or not i would enjoy it when you grabbed me and slobbered across my mouth my first kiss. i'm sure you didn't consider the fact that, years later, i would be dwelling on the fact that you dirtied my hand with your greed. i'm sure you don't tell the women you fuck now, "oh yeah, and one time, eleven years ago, i forced a five-year-old to get me off." i'm sure you might be a respectable, good citizen, who never even thinks about me, in the corner, wide-eyed, my innocence crushed.

i will never have a chance to experience my first kiss. i will never have a chance to be fully pure again. i will never have a chance to hear your name and not have it mean something awful. i may never be able to be involved with someone without there being a certain element of fear, dangling above my head and whispering in the air around me. at night i dream of things so disgusting and humiliating i can't talk about them most of the time. i flash to times you and i were alone, together, and my heart races, my throat closes, my fingers involuntarily fold into tight fists.

i should have fought back! i should have said no! i should have told someone! i should have gotten help! i should have run away! i should not be ashamed! i should not feel helpless! i should forget it ever happened! i should not resent you! i shoud not be alone! damn me!

you should not have done what you did to me then.

damn you.


February 5, 1999

Dear bastard,
Why does everything seem to come back to you? I am finally away from you and you are ashes now. I am also dead. Sometimes I swear I can hear myself breath or even feel myself hurt. But then I wake up and Iím just as numb as the day before. I have not had a decent nightís sleep for twenty years and in your physical absence you do not cease to rape my dreams. I HATE you. But I canít help thinking about you all the time. I canít help thinking about what you took from me. I feel it like a large hole in the thin walls of a prison. Always letting in the rains, never keeping out the cold but always being just small enough that I canít fit through. You have trapped me in myself with no one else here to unlock my doors and no one else to hear me scream. Just like the closet in your room that always smelled like alcohol and sweat. Just like the shit apartment we lived in for so long, nothing ever changing nothing good ever coming to me. You held me then against my will and you hold me now in my dreams and in my thoughts. I should be able to get out of this, like I should have been able to get away from that goddamn place with you in it. But my feet are heavy and I have no place to go.

If I could get to you, somehow, and tell you this I know you would laugh and call me a faggot again. I know you would. Do you even realize what a sick monster you are? I really do hate you and that is healthy. I am all right with that now. I will never be all right with you. How could you do that to me? You were supposed to take care of me and you were supposed to love me. You were NOT supposed to doÖ THAT. You were not supposed to rape me and kill me before I had a chance to live.

I am not dead, though. I am here somewhere below the gray, thick clouds that have rained you into my life. Below the cold stale sky that doesnít let the sun through and below the frozen ground that waits for spring as the forest chokes on fog. Even deeper I lie, also frozen and waiting, just beneath the layers of rocks that even our early ancestors could not have touched. Some day, I will break out of this stone grave and I will be free. I will not live like a mole hiding from the sun cut off from all touch and warmth. You died too soon to see that I have found people who love me and will not hurt me. I almost pushed them away from me thinking that I did not deserve such kindness! I did my best to hide from them but they found me. GOOD. I needed to be found and YOU need to remain buried forever.

Despite my kind lovers I cannot sleep well at night. You haunt me whenever I close my eyes. Somehow when I sleep, the weightless sheet becomes your heaviness and I am trapped again. Underneath your alcohol stained breath and your ill-gotten erection and your poor intentions - I die. I see only your face beading with sweat and telling me I am not good enough, I am a faggot, I do not deserve the air that I breathe.

Sometimes I have woken up screaming and pushed my lover off the bed thinking he was you. I have run to the shower convinced that I can still smell you. Convinced that you were actually there in my room again. That is when I begin to cry and believe that I really donít deserve the air I breathe. I have let you win again. I have been defeated one more night and cheated out of affection and sleep. You make me feel dirty when I am clean and endangered when I am safe. You have taken EVERYTHING from me. I used to be a child but I had to grow up before I knew how to count. I want my virginity back. I want my life. You canít ever replace those things for me can you?


letter to a rapist

To Steven,
I wonder what youíre feeling as I write this. Iím not even sure how Iím feeling. This is the calmest Iíve been for almost a week. Thereís other things though: pain, hate, sadness, rage, confusion, angst, fear. So whatís it with you? Are you still cocky, proud, self-assured? Do you have any regrets about the life youíve tried to ruin and the resounding effects your actions have had on those around me? Because thatís the thing: in one night, you managed to violate dozens of people.

Or are you scared? Scared like I was/am? Can you sleep? Can you comprehend what youíve done? Can you comprehend the thought of paying for your actions? I doubt it. Because I know what you are. Pity that you probably donít. The question is: would you want to?

I donít know who I am, I once did, but that girl is gone forever and Iím going to have to get to know her again. Sheís changed; thereís remnants of her deep inside, but now Iím gonna have to build the puzzle again from scratch. Though I am lucky Ė you donít even have one to build. You are not a person. People Ė whole, compassionate, empathetic entities Ė do not, would not, and cannot do to other people what you have done to me. The violation of another on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level.

I am a rape victim. And now I can actually say that. You raped me. I was your victim. But Iím damned if Iím going to stay that way. Youíve taken a lot, but thereís no way Iím letting you have everything for the rest of my life. Because at the end of the day I have a loving and supportive network of family and friends; a dream for the future; a passionate, loving spirit; and the will to be the best I can be. At the end of the day you have none of this. I seriously doubt you have anything. Nor so you deserve it.

So who suffers in the end? I have months of hardship ahead of me. Youíve wrecked things for me, but a power you donít have and never will have over me is the power to say how long all this will last. As I have said, I refuse to be your victim. You made me become it, but adhering to other peoplesí agendas has never been a strong point of mine, so Iím damned if Iím going to start now.

I know none of this will have an effect on you; Iím not writing this because I think you have a heart. Iím not making excuses for either of us. Iím not forgiving you, and Iím never going to forget. Iím not letting you get away with this either: you WILL pay. Maybe not even anytime soon, but youíll get what you deserve. Thatís a promise.

Youíll never read this, it isnít the point. Iím not even writing this for self-affirmation Ė as Iíve already said, I know I will get through this and my life will be what I want it to be. I know youíre not sorry for what youíve done to me; if I tied you down and kicked you in the balls until you vomited up your own semen I wouldnít be sorry either. So donít think youíve won. There isnít even a battle. If there was, I would have already defeated you. Iím the conquerer, Steven. The winner. The victor. The girl who now knows what loss of innocence really means. And the girl who knows she will always go out fighting.

Youíre the loser. In every way. I have no pity. Itís what you deserve.


second letter to a rapist

To *You*,
Well, here we are, eight and a half months down the track. What do we have to show for it? I hope youíre happy with yourself, with what youíve done. So, how does it feel to permanently fuck up a life? I bet it feels great. I bet itís the most glorious feeling in the world, gives you a sense of immortality, of permanence, like youíre the greatest motherfucker thatís ever walked on this stinking little rock of a planet.

Itís not something Iíll ever feel. Nor do I want to. Hey, I donít need to do what you do in order to feel good about myself. Itís never been a part of my agenda, you worthless piece of shit.

So donít go feeling like youíve beaten me, because you havenít. You smashed the lightbulb to make me live in the dark, but what you never knew, could never know, was that I have a replacement bulb in my pocket, and Iím finding something to stand on so I can reach the ceiling and put it in. I wonít live alone and afraid in the dark. Itís only temporary. Youíre only temporary.

I still hate you to death, but I guess one of us has to. Rest assured you are going to pay for this. It might be tomorrow, when youíre in a punchup that goes a little too far. It might be in a few years, when I "accidentally" run you down in my car. It might be when youíre seventy, and have a heart attack, and die in pain and afraid, a lonely old man. Whatever it is, Iíll be there to spit on your grave.

Iíll be there when you do it again. Iíll be the faceless catalyst that makes you finally realise. Iíll be there when you take that fast, painful lesson in self-hatred, when you realise exactly how others feel about you, others that you never cared about before, but that will suddenly mean so much more to you.

And Iíll be there when the skies burn red with the death and destruction of mankind, and the cities burn with the hysteria of millions, and the seas boil like cauldrons. Iíll be there to watch the death of the world as we know it, as you know it. Iíll see you crawling along the ground towards me, the last one left, your eyes pleading with me for salvation.

And I will walk away from it all.

Because I, my friend, am a survivor.