There are a lot of anniversaries in life, some good and some sad, and another one is coming up for me. I won’t say what it is.
My daughter keeps encouraging me to write a healing letter. I don’t even know where to start and I’m not even sure it will do what’s intended — heal! But, here goes: I am the parent of a survivor of sexual assault.
A while ago my child, my daughter, was sexually assaulted by someone she knew, and who I knew, we knew. Life for us is pretty much divided into two parts; before the assault and after the assault. I can’t even begin to describe the shock and utter disbelief that this individual would do something to my daughter like what he did. I am unable to comprehend how a human being gets to a point and a place where this becomes, for them, a viable option, a way to express themselves towards someone they professed to love and care for.
I carry a huge amount of guilt and I always will. I carry guilt for not being able to protect my daughter. I carry guilt for allowing this person to stay in her life when I should have insisted more vehemently he leave her life. I carry guilt for allowing this person into our home, allowing his presence, allowing him to be a part of celebrations in our home and for giving him presents and recognizing accomplishments and milestones in his life. I accepted this person into her life and our lives at face value, without knowing how truly dangerous he was and could be. Looking backwards there were signs, nothing big and nothing that would have signaled what would eventually happen.
I have come to realize and accept that there are people in this world who are capable of awful evil intentions and acts. How this person chose my daughter I don’t know, but I do know he chose her because he recognized that there was something he could exploit and use. He was incredibly selfish and manipulative, something we passed off as typical teenage dating boy brainless behavior. It was anything but. My daughter loved this person with everything she had. It was truly important to her that he knew he was loved completely by her. She accepted him for exactly who he was. And when she finally walked away from him, stood on her own two feet and didn’t immediately take him back even after he begged, when she finally did that — that is when her safety was at risk.
The day of my daughter’s assault she allowed someone into her presence who she had once loved and still trusted. She had no reason to think he had bad intentions. He took full advantage of that and her. I will never know what his motivation was but I do know that when he didn’t get what he wanted, what he came there for, he took it anyway. She still has her life, which in your twisted universe, I am sure you will take credit for. Make no mistake, she saved herself! Everything she did that day, every disgusting thing, she did to survive. She is a survivor and I couldn’t be prouder of her.
So, can I forgive you? That’s the point of a healing letter, right? Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. No, I cannot and I will not forgive you, ever! I am too busy helping and supporting my daughter; making sure she’s safe and getting all the help she can to feel better and put her life back together. She’s not all the way there, but she’s getting there and she’s going to do amazing things in the world and she’s going to do them for her and all her fellow survivors.
— Mom of a Survivor