Letter to the Raped

by Crystal Torres on June 25, 2012

“she’s not wondering what she would tell her daughter
she knows what she would tell her daughter,”

—Andrea Gibson, Blue Blanket

There are certain rites of passage, events that divide life into before and after, events that make you part of some dark club of people who have been there too. These rites of passage, so horrible that I would not wish them upon an enemy, are far too prone to finding their way into the lives of the people I love. She is not my daughter, but I do feel a very maternal love towards her. What should I say? What can anyone say? If I were certain it would help, or at least that it would not make things worse, this is what I’d want to say, now, to her-

You are still precious. Everything I loved about you before this happened is still true. I want to sit quietly and brush out your hair, or cuddle up under one blanket on the couch watching silly movies and eating junk food. I feel compelled to give you a safe place to be the little girl you were even before Before. I’m afraid to reach out to hug you, to hold you, to brush your hair from your face, because I don’t want to make you flinch, because I don’t want to be another uninvited trespasser on your person, on your personal space. I am here, aching to help you feel safe and loved. If you tell me what you need me to do, or what you need me not to do, I will listen.

It is not your job to comfort your loved ones. Yes, we will struggle, we love you and your pain hurts us. It breaks my heart. That is not your problem. You do not have to put your suffering on parade to help us understand. You do not have to put on a brave face to help us feel more at ease. Take all the time you need to heal and do not expect to heal all at once. It’s a process that seems to come in waves. Please be careful of the undertow. Please ask for help if you find you are beginning to drown.

There is no right or wrong way to recover. It is okay if you cry all the time. It is okay if you don’t cry at all. I recommend against drugs or alcohol. They numb the symptoms but don’t really fix any of what ails you. It’s a painful thing to deal with sober. It’s still a painful thing to deal with anesthetized, too. I think it heals better sober though, I really do.

Do not mistake an act of violence for a sexual act. Those people know nothing of your sexuality. They do not know your kisses, your playful, your tender, the look of love in your eyes. Your sexuality is not in the body parts they abused. It’s deep beneath your skin. They may have brutalized your flesh, but they do not know what it is to be your lover. You still own that, it cannot be stolen. Please don’t let it be poisoned. Sex is used to shame women too easily, too often, and that is wrong too, but more important, at least right now; rape is not sex, it is violence.

I don’t care what you were wearing, what hour you stayed out to, or how much you had to drink. I love that you love and trust so easily. It is the first steps towards insanity, to let yourself get lost in what you could have done differently. This is not your mistake. This act of violence was done to you, it is not something you did. Those people are sick, damaged, criminal. You have every right to be beautiful and friendly and to believe that you are safe. They do not have the right to commit violent crimes against you, or anyone else. There is nothing you could have done differently that would have made them better people. I understand if you need to make changes now, to make yourself feel safer. I just cannot emphasize enough that this is not your fault.

Those men were not all men. There are still great guys out there. There are still safe guys out there. I believe with all my heart that you can love and be loved again. That you can be friends with, work with, play with and fall in love with men again. That you should, when you are ready.

I am here. I am here now, when your wounds are fresh. I will still be here, weeks, months, years later if it hits you out of the blue, if it aches like an old football injury before a storm. I am here for you in your after, just like it was before. I love you, precious girl.

Blue Blanket is a heart-wrenching poem about the after effects of rape.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Regina Reynante June 25, 2012 at 8:59 am

*sob* Thank you Crystal!


2 TK McEachin March 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Beautiful! Wonderful message.


3 bosslady March 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Thank you. It is one of the most heartfelt things I’ve ever written.


4 Jace March 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Crystal, every time I read this, I take away another healing thought for my own life. You speak to many pains in this, and I thank you again.


5 bosslady March 19, 2013 at 10:11 pm

I can imagine no better reason to write. Thank you.


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