Today

Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse

Today

I saw him

He saw me too

I froze

Just like I always do when our paths cross
My heart dove into my stomach
I wanted to run and cry and yell and disappear

All at the same time

Today

I saw him
The man who raped me

Last year around this time, I was sitting in a cafe
I heard his voice right behind me
He was talking to his friend, pretending not to see me

So with my heart beating way too fast, I pretended that I didn’t hear his voice
I pretended that we weren’t close friends a time long ago
I pretended that on that summer afternoon, he didn’t look into my eyes and tell me

You’re beautiful

When I heard his voice that day

I felt completely invisible
I felt like my whole being didn’t exist

When I walked outside

It immediately started to rain

The rain was a gift letting me know that I do exist

The wet drops on my skin and the wind in my hair told me that I am
A human being that is breathing, alive and visible to the world around me

When he saw me today

He hid
He lowered his eyes and his head and once again pretended that I was invisible
That what he did to me didn’t happen
That I didn’t exist

Are you alive?

These were his words to me, the day after it happened
These words would shatter my heart each time he crossed my mind

Today

I want to say to you
Yes, I am alive
I am breathing
I am brave
I am brilliant
I am beautiful

I am worth so much more than the violence other people have inflicted onto my body, heart, and mind

To you, I say this:

You could not face me after it happened
You still cannot
And I understand
You don’t want to be a monster. You don’t want to be a villain

I want you to know that I forgive you

I forgive you because I no longer want to hold onto the pain I’ve carried for years
I no longer want my whole being to freeze when you cross my path
From this day forward, if our paths cross again, I will keep walking in strength and in peace
Shame and pain will no longer make me too afraid to acknowledge what you did to me

To you I ask:

Have you acknowledged what you did to me?

Have you forgiven yourself?

Today was the first time I was brave enough to go back to the place it happened
I am writing these words sitting in the place my body became yours

Without my permission
This is my healing, this is my closure

You will no longer haunt me
The tree beside me gives me comfort
At least I know, I was not alone.

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