What do you do when you meet the man that raped you? Well, in my head I pictured it as me making an impassioned speech about needing to know the truth and him feeling overcome with regret and guilt and asking me to forgive him – but no. Who was I kidding? I was the one overcome with regret when all I could muster was a pathetic Why? and him proving that he’s completely incapable of remorse and probably has some sort of narcissistic personality disorder when he just raised his eyebrows and said, Why what?
I appreciate that everyone disapproves of my decision to meet him, and I know it’s because they’re concerned about me but in the nicest way possible: it’s my choice, and I didn’t ask for your opinion. People have asked me why I would possibly want to do that, but the thing is I didn’t want to. It isn’t about want, it’s about need. It’s about me needing to make sense of this in some way and at the end of the day he’s the only one that can tell me the reasoning behind his actions. I’ve done enough reading and researching, and I’ve spent hours and countless nights obsessing over it and I get that it’s about control and power – that isn’t what I need to know. What I need to know is why me and why you and why everything. I know that I don’t easily let things go once I get something in my head, but this is different – it’s driving me insane. I can’t stop thinking about it, and I NEED to move on with my life but I don’t feel like I can until I get some kind of answers. It feels like trying to come up for air but someone is holding you down.
I’d received a few messages while I was at home and in America, all from an unknown number. They firstly asked if I was still in London but didn’t say who they were from, but in that way that you just have a strange sense about something – I knew. Initially it completely panicked me and I couldn’t decide whether to reply, block the number, contact the police, I had no idea. Part of me began to become quite paranoid that maybe it was someone having a horrible joke at my expense, but I thought the only person twisted enough to do that would probably be him. So I left it, I didn’t reply to that message or the next or the others that followed either asking if I was still in London or could we talk. The more I thought about it though, the more I realised I needed to speak to him. I haven’t actually had a conversation with him since, I’ve only ever spoke at him in court and of course I got nothing back from him.
When I first brought this up to my housemates, who were his friends before, they instantly said no absolutely not. I understand why, they still feel very responsible for what happened and I know how angry they are about it. But I wasn’t asking for their permission, I was just giving them a heads up. Of course I wasn’t going to ask him to come to the house, I don’t want him knowing where I live now and technically he isn’t supposed to be in contact with me. It would be at a neutral and public place, somewhere other people would be there and I could easily get away if I needed to. My housemates said grudgingly that if it’s what I felt I needed to do then fine, but they’d be close by because they didn’t want me going alone – fine, fair enough. I know what the overarching concern was though: that I’m still very vulnerable and this could set back all the hard work and progress I’ve had. They didn’t have to say, but I’m not stupid. And I get that, they saw me at my worst and I was hell to be around and I know they don’t want that to happen again. But once I’ve made my mind up about something, it’s very hard to change it.
I agreed to meet him at a park not far from where I live, but far enough away. On my way there part of me really still thought it was some horrible joke and that no one would be there, in fact I think that’s what I was hoping for but low and behold, there he was. I had this horrible sudden moment of, oh what the fuck am I doing but I couldn’t turn back. I had to prove to myself and him that I’m not scared of him anymore, even though my body was telling me something completely different. The closer I got the more I kept going over and over in my head all the things I wanted to say, I kept rehearsing it to myself but the minute I got in front of him it all just disappeared.
I couldn’t sit next to him because I couldn’t bare to be that close to him. The last time I was that close to him, well, that’s what got us in this situation in the first place. So I stood, looking stupidly defensive with my arms crossed and I’m kicking myself for that because I know fine well he picked up on that and it probably gave him some satisfaction. The first thing that came out my mouth was Why? It sounded desperate and pathetic and I hate myself for it. He asked me what I meant like it was the most random thing for me to ask, and I could feel myself wanting to throw up. How can one person be so arrogant and obnoxious and still be so completely oblivious to what they did? So I asked him – Why don’t you understand what you’ve done? His reply was that he didn’t do anything that I didn’t want. Very plainly, with a completely blank expression – in fact he even sounded a bit bored that I’d even asked that, as if it pretty obvious.
I do something very frustrating when I’m angry – I cry. I hate it. And I could feel myself starting to well up out of sheer anger and feeling like a complete idiot for ever thinking he could give me some kind of answers. I asked him how could he not see and accept what he’d done when he knows what it’s done to me? It was all laid bare in court after all – and his response was that I allowed myself to get that way. He continued by saying he admits that the sentence for ABH was correct as he admits he “might have went a bit far” and he doesn’t blame me for putting charges against him, but he still stands by that he didn’t do anything I didn’t want. He asked my why I had an abortion to which I practically choked, and told him he had no right to ask why I choose to do anything. He then asked me if we could put it behind us and move on. I think that’s honestly been the first time in my life I’ve been truly speechless – the feeling of wanting to cry just disappeared and I just stood there staring at him and that’s when it hit me: I actually hate him.
I’ve never hated anyone before in my life – I’ve maybe thought I have, but this just confirmed to me that I haven’t. And you know what? It’s a horrible feeling. I’m not a hateful person, and I don’t want to hate him – I want to forgive him. It takes more to love someone than it does to hate someone. Hate is lazy; it makes you twisted and bitter and it burns and tears at you. It changes you for the worse and let’s terrible acts define you, and I don’t want that. That’s what I went there to do, to get answers, to forgive him and to move on with my life. Instead I just stood there like a complete fucking idiot for ever thinking that was possible. What is wrong with people? I don’t understand on what planet I ever gave him the impression that I wanted any of that, and so I asked him. His response? Because I’ve heard about you.
Fine. Alright – I accept that there may be certain people that might have certain things to say about me and I’m under no delusions about that. But just because certain things may have happened in the past does not give you the right to automatically assume that that’s a free pass for you to have a go. Fucking do one. It’s not a case of making my bed and lying in it and just accepting any kind of treatment. The bottom line is: if I don’t say yes – it’s rape. It’s not “playing hard to get” or being coy – it’s a fucking no. Just because you’re a man and you’re stronger than me doesn’t mean you can use that to do what you want. Like I said to him, time after time after time: No, I’m not interested.
The thing is, I don’t think he needs punishment. He needs help – serious help. He’s now out in the community and free to do that to some other girl, and some other girl that may not speak up like I did and having gone through that process I don’t blame them. I wish I hadn’t. And he knows fine well I won’t go through with it again which is why he contacted me, I’m not stupid. But then again – maybe I am for thinking I would have got anything else out of him. I just stood there feeling pathetic and stupid and like I was going to throw up.
I asked him what he wanted to talk about, and he said that he thought we could “put it behind us” and move on because it seems stupid to keep a grudge about it. I couldn’t even say anything, he honestly has no clue that he’s done anything wrong and that’s when I realised he’s never going to see it any differently. It’s like he’s completely disillusioned about it, and as if I’m the crazy one for thinking otherwise.
I just had to walk away. I literally couldn’t think of one single thing to say back, and even if I did what would be the point? There’s obviously no reasoning with him. He called after me to “think about it” and I just found myself starting to sob out of pure humiliation. I cannot believe I ever thought I’d get something from this and that I ever deserved some kind of explanation from him. For the rest of the day I’ve just been completely distracted and upset by my own idiocy – I keep going back over it in my head thinking of all the things I should have said and the things I should have done. I should have been stronger but all I did was look like a pathetic girl. What happened to me?
I shouldn’t be beating myself up about this because I should have expected it, but I can’t help it. I’m so disappointed in myself and in people in general. How am I ever supposed to move forward with my life and trust someone else when there’s people like him in the world that are just essentially free to do whatever they please while I’m the one that feels like I’m in the wrong. What’s the point in all the hard work that I put in at getting better and being a better person when I don’t even deserve the decency of an apology or at least some sort of recognition that he did something so inherently wrong. I just can’t believe that I said to him after he said about the ABH charge, “but you could have killed me” and he just smirked. What does that mean?
I wish I could say, right that’s it – I’m done and I’m making my peace with it, but I just can’t. How do you get over something like that? And it was all for nothing, that’s the worst part. Nothing has came from this in my favour at any point. Have you ever wanted to shake sense into someone, and say look at what you’ve done? I know it would be futile but I feel like there has to be something to be done.