My high school boyfriend was a horrible person, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I wonder why I still refer to him as a boyfriend, but then I’d be erasing the past. Even though it was horrific, I don’t want to forget.
I made peace with this personal tragedy a long time ago. I’ve found peace, but that doesn’t mean I have healed from it. It was a difficult and life changing two years. I was able to come to terms. To reconcile. To cease feeling shame. I know longer wake up asking “why?”
I am at this place of peace because I understand.
I understand why he did what he did. It doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make it fair. It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t make the pain go away. It doesn’t help me heal. It doesn’t make him any less of a horrible person. It changes nothing except I’m not angry anymore. For that, I am thankful.
My rapist was raised by a manly, macho, asshat of a father. He was emotionally abusive to his wife. He had the much desired son, who, unfortunately, was not at all into sports and was sensitive, musically inclined. He was incredibly hard on his son. Expecting him to be the football star type. When he showed up at his son’s band gigs or musicals, snarky comments always ensued. At home there was nothing but a barrage of belittling comments.
I think my rapist is gay. Nothing could have been worse for his home life than for him to come out, even to himself. So he did the opposite. He buried it. He overcompensated. He got himself a girlfriend. A tall, thin, incredibly feminine girlfriend from church. I could give you all the reasons and signs so on and so forth, but they were there. I met one of my best friends because she dated him immediately after I did, and let’s just say she doesn’t think I’m wrong.
Even if he’s not gay, there is still the fact that my rapist was an emotionally abused youth with a role model of a father, who, at the very least, was emotionally abusive to his wife. Not great. I was his outlet. Rape isn’t about sex. Rape is about power. His sense of power came from his relationship with me. It started out small at first. If I had been smart, I would have ran the other direction almost immediately. The signs were there, but I didn’t know them. Abuse was not something to come from the guy I met at church or in high school or in my city or to me. No one told me abuse could happen to anyone at any age. Nobody warned me what it looked like. No one said I could ask for help. I didn’t expect it when he hit me the first time. I didn’t expect it the second or third time either. I really didn’t see it coming the first time he raped me. He did. Then, he did it again. The more he did all of those things, the more power he had. He started to refer to himself as a man after he hit me a few times. To him, he had become a man just like his father.
My rapist was abused. He was continuing the cycle. Knowing this brought me peace, though it did not change anything.