Letter to my perpetrator: “I do not owe you anything”

“The Impact of 98 Seconds” is releasing the first in a collection of letters from a survivor of sexual assault to their perpetrator. This open-letter column is designed to be a direct voice from Butler students and faculty. The letters are kept anonymous to protect their authors.

This letter was sent to the author’s perpetrator following their completion of Title IX mediation.

To my perpetrator:

First and foremost, I want it to be known that I do not owe you an explanation. I know myself and I know what happened and nothing will ever change that. I felt violated, coerced, taken advantage of, restricted, and forced into actions that I did not want to do. Those feelings are fact and as I said, nothing will ever change that. I felt from the moment it began that our encounter was not normal or consensual, but I did not know the language of what had occurred or what to do in that moment. So instead I channeled my trauma and emotions into other areas of my life. At the end of my first year and after completing counseling, I finally could put the pieces together and recognize what had happened to me was indeed assault. You caused me months and years of pain, denial and confusion. You hurt me deeply. I want to clarify, however, that I am not afraid of you. I am not scared by your privilege or your perceived power.

I forgive you and I have moved on. I hope you can also find peace with your past and move forward instead of channeling it into violence. I really do believe every person deserves a life of happiness and I hope you find that.

I want you to know that your life is no more important than mine or a stranger you pass on the street or a professor you had in class or your RA or roommate. In this world we are all human, and you have absolutely no right to step on another person. I hope you spend your life picking others up instead of ever putting them down again because you have no authority to do so.

I hope you find peace and healing from your traumas. I have and will continue to. I trust you will never do this again because one day this will all catch up with you and it will be hell. This marks closure for me. I hope you get yours. But I also hope you never forget these words. I chose forgiveness and to take the high road. You will not take anything else from me. No more time, no more tears, no more anything. You are nothing to me. I have my entire life ahead of me and it is going to be absolutely incredible.

– Class of 2019

Free counseling services at Butler University are available at https://www.butler.edu/counseling-services

(Toll free) National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: 800.656.4673

Information about sexual misconduct can be reached at https://www.rainn.org/about-sexual-assault

Please contact Bridget Early at bfearly@butler.edu for anonymous submissions.

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