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Letter to My Rapist, Jailed for Raping Women Who Are More Respectable Than I Am #Vaw

I’m writing to you to tell you that we’re both human.
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I used to think about you every day, every hour. I used to agonize over why you did it.

Now I think I know why: Because you knew you could. You knew I wouldn’t want to go to the police, and I didn’t. I didn’t go voluntarily, in fact: a well-meaning asshole ditched me at the police station in the middle of the night. You surely could have predicted what happened when I ended up at the police station. You knew how they would make fun of my dress. You knew how they would threaten me with arrest and call me a whore. You probably even knew how, the next week, a detective would tell me that as long as I was in this line of work, this sort of thing would just happen to me and I shouldn’t expect any different.

That was why I got in your car in the first place, even though I sort of had a feeling it was a bad idea. Violent rapes in cars are supposed to happen to girls like me, so why try to avoid it? Society’s scripts can read like destiny.

You could have guessed they’d ask why there wasn’t skin under my fingernails, why I didn’t fight harder. I wouldn’t realize how many bruises I had until I saw myself in the mirror later, my skin like a faraway planet. You knew they’d ask the same details over and over again, trying to catch me in a lie, and all I would remember was the exact appearance of your car ceiling, the pattern I floated into.

You knew all that because you and those guys were on the same team. You didn’t have to meet or discuss it, that was just how it worked. The script was already written, and you fell into your role just like I fell into mine.

You couldn’t have known that seven years later the state would test all of its old rape kits against prisoner DNA, and my rape kit would match your blood. You and I, though, by then we both predicted what came next: The district attorney didn’t think I was the right kind of victim. You know, the kind a jury believes. When the detective called me back to tell me they wouldn’t charge you with raping me I laughed, because I had told him so. The scarlet W was a blinking sign that said rape here with impunity, a rape conspiracy so big even the district attorney was in on it.

Since you weren’t going to be charged, the detective told me what you were in jail for: several rapes and assaults. Enough of them that you were going to serve 30 years or so, which it turns out is what happens when you rape women society doesn’t deem rapeable. Those women fell under the protection of the law, unlike me, and you fell into prison, which was where your role led from the beginning. Those cops who made fun of me after you raped me, and the detectives and attorneys who decided I was so rapeable that your crime wasn’t a crime, their parts led to money, power and a nice home in the suburbs.

Last week, my wise friend told me about restorative justice for people who victimize sex workers. She said you must be educated that we, sex workers, are human. That’s why I’m writing now, I guess. To tell you we’re human.

Sex work is very human, with all the skin, sweat, cum, and naked bodies pressing and rubbing against each other, but sex workers get dehumanized a lot. Until recently, when a sex worker was killed, the police would call it an NHI—No Humans Involved—case. Serial killers have hunted and butchered us like animals. More often, though, it’s the mundane challenges of getting a mortgage, writing a resume, or reporting a rape that remind us every day that we are seen as less than human.

I imagine by now you also know a little about being dehumanized, kept in a cage and moved around like an animal. This is probably where I’m supposed to remind you that I am someone’s sister, daughter or mother, but fuck that. I’m human. You’re human. The dehumanizing society does to both of us is wrong, like what you did to me was wrong.

I’m lucky that I can go back and read bits of the role that was written for me before I could even read. The paper pile is almost infinite. A doctor’s affidavit about the police report he didn’t file the day I was born, a motion from my caseworker saying I was a waste of the state’s resources, and hundreds more pages. I don’t know if you can go back and read what your world wrote for you, but I know most people aren’t that lucky.

I remember a little about where you came from, and I’m sure your assigned role in this power play led to prison from when you were very young, just like mine led to your car. These scripts are bullshit. They are not our destiny, and we don’t have to follow them. We are human, you and I, even if we aren’t treated that way. Even if you didn’t treat me that way.

I’m not playing my assigned role anymore. I don’t get into cars with scary men. I don’t walk around afraid. I speak up when things go wrong. I went to school and learned words like organizational violence and restorative justice. I’ve written my way into a whole new script, and I think we can write a new world. One where people like me aren’t pushed to the edges to be hunted by men like you, and one where men like you aren’t written off as dangerous animals. Let’s write ourselves human. Let’s write each other human.

My memory of that time in your car is faded now, the way a memory is supposed to be after 15 years. They say that’s a sign of healing.

I wish you the same.

 http://www.alternet.org/gender/letter-my-rapist-jailed-raping-women-who-are-more-respectable-i-am/

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