I hope one day you realise monsters don't come growling with bared teeth, they come like you and me.

To the man who raped my friend I want you to know what you did to herImage for representation. Photo by Kenna Jackson via Wikimedia Commons
Blog Rape Saturday, December 24, 2016 - 19:03

To the man who raped my friend,

She wonders if you knew it was rape. The thought keeps her up at night. It makes her angry. It makes her wonder if she could have stopped what was happening to her.

It has been eight years since you forced yourself on a 15-year-old girl, a girl who was never taught words like “sexual pleasure” and “consent”. “Maybe this is what happens when a boy and a girl get close to each other,” she thought, and rationalized your every assault.

But you did know that you were raping her when she was crying, right? 

Did your senses perceive a yes in the vulnerable, terrified body language of a teenager trying to push off a man who was bulkier and older?

Did you think of her as a person at the time? Or just as an opportunity you could use?

To the man who raped my friend,

Every time when she bleeds and her cramps don’t allow her to move, she lies down on the bed and her eyes glaze over. She thinks her friends or family don’t notice. But I know she’s going back to the time when you’d push yourself onto her again, as her stomach tied itself into a hundred knots because she was menstruating.

Did you know she would.sit in a corner in the night and bite into a pillow so that her cries wouldn’t be heard by her family? She didn’t know how to talk about it.    

To the man who raped my friend,

She stayed in a relationship with you for many years. You see, she was taught that when a man touches a woman the way you touched her, she is supposed to end up with him. She couldn’t tell pleasure from pain, because you blurred that line for her way too early in her life.

Her body conditioned itself into liking what you did to her: when you were angry, upset, drunk, horny or just in a good mood. She didn’t know what foreplay, or a kiss or a “no” was.

Did you know you were taking away her voice? Because for the most tender, formative years of her life, “love” for her, equaled “submission”.

To the man who raped my friend,

Every time I see her struggle to say “rape”, it makes me want to do something, anything to make you feel an ounce of the pain she lives with every day. 

She never saw it as rape. She never realized that you should be in jail for what you did. She never realized it until someone told her, “Do you realize he raped you?”

And when she did, her world fell apart. Her ex-boyfriend was her rapist. She looks in the mirror and struggles to claim her body. She questions who she is and what she believes in. She questions her worth and her relationships. 

To the man who raped my friend,

Did you know you were breaking her spirit when you were clawing at her body? I will probably never get the answer, but I have to ask you – why?

Even if I were to let you off, a 21-year-old man then, for making a “mistake” once, I find it hard to believe that you didn’t realize what you were doing for many years.

Which part of it seemed like a yes to you?

Was it the fear in her eyes? Or was it her rigid body? Perhaps her refusal to kiss you? 

Are you going to tell me she never said “no”? Or that she seemed to enjoy it? Or worse still, that you’re sorry?

Because your apology will not make her nightmares go away. It won’t make her stop cringing every time a man shows concern towards her. It won’t make her stop fearing that someone will reach for her in the dark. It won’t give her the life she wishes she had. It won’t make intimacy easier for her.

To the man who raped my friend,

You are probably not all bad. Maybe your colleagues look up to you. Perhaps you love pets.

You may probably never be punished for your deeds, but I hope that some day, your conscience awakens and the scenes from your past flash before your eyes the way I know they do for her. And you see them not through the coloured prism of denial, but for exactly what they were.

And I hope you have the gumption to admit then that monsters don’t come with bared teeth and guttural growling. They come dressed like you and me, with booming laughter and a non-threatening gait but skins that shed behind closed doors.