"I have nothing to be afraid of. You do."
I wrote this letter to the man who raped me and left it on his desk at work. Like many sexual assault victims, I knew my attacker.
This is a bill.
It’s for the emergency helicopter flight I took from the remote hiking trail I was on to the hospital after my (then unknown) ectopic pregnancy ruptured.
I’ve already paid over $600 for the hospital stay, the surgery, the recovery and follow-up and pain medication. I also paid more than $600 in December alone for therapy from the PTSD that resulted from the whole thing.
If my egg and your sperm had resulted in the birth of a living, breathing baby, you would owe me at least half of the costs for child support. So why should I pay 100 percent of the health-care costs resulting from your demon spawn bursting out of my right Fallopian tube and ruining it for life, nearly killing me in the process?
That last line might make you think this is a funny, good-natured letter. It’s not.
In less than two weeks, I’ll be taking disability leave from work. Two months, at least. I’m doing this to deal with the PTSD. And I’m writing you this letter because I don’t want to start 2015 the same way I spent 2014: Scared. Terrified to see you, hear you, think about you. Too afraid to cross you in the office to take a piss because I don’t want you to look at me.
I have nothing to be afraid of. You do.
I had planned on writing a more friendly note, a non-accusatory one, so that you would have a chance to respond, maybe to apologize. But then I realized that you had a chance, and you didn’t do it. I gave you that chance to be sorry when I got back to work after my three days in the hospital and three-week recovery. When I told you what I’d been through: The pain, the helicopter, the surgery, the almost dying. That it had been your “baby” and that I wouldn’t have had sex with you if I had been sober. If I had had a choice.
That was when I expected you to be sorry. To admit that you felt terrible I’d been through so much, and to agree that you made a mistake. But you didn’t.
Remember what you said? “You’re still a good egg.” You told me I was still a good egg. Which implied that there was some reason I might not be a good egg. Like I had done something wrong, instead of you.
The only things I did wrong were to 1.) Drink too much and 2.) Trust you. I thought you were safe to drink around, to be drunk around. But you weren’t.
It took me a long time to accept that you did a shitty thing. But you did. You did not act like the nice guy everyone thinks you are. Do you know what my boyfriend would have done if I got that drunk around him? He would have put me to bed with a glass of water and a bucket by my head. My guy friend who was with us that night would have made sure I had a a safe place to sleep if I had been at his house. He would have left me alone. Neither of them would have done what you did. Nor would any of my guy friends. No one decent would do that.
It was shitty, and you’re shitty for doing it.
I remember you lightly slapping my face, saying, “Stay with me, stay with me.” I remembered that as the EMTs were carrying me down the mountain on a stretcher. I kept wanting to close my eyes and go to sleep. But they wouldn’t let me, because I was bleeding out. One of the rescue guys kept saying, “Stay with me.”
Except, unlike you, he cared what happened to me. You didn’t give a shit, not then, not when I told you, and probably not now. You didn’t give a fuck about what your decisions would put me through. Are still putting me through. I wasn’t even in a factor in your decisions, and I was in no shape to decide things for myself.
You took it upon yourself to decide things for me.
You decided I wanted to have sex with you.
You decided I wouldn’t mind if you didn’t use a condom.
You decided it would be OK for you to cum inside of me, not knowing if I was on birth control.
Because whatever happened after, you didn’t care. It would be my problem, not yours.
Well, it’s not my problem anymore. I’m giving it back to you. Because it’s your shit.
Your shitty decision, your shitty self.
Your rape, not mine.
Shay Castle is journalist, blogger and sexual-assault survivor. She chronicles her life and ongoing recovery at This Is Why I Cheat.
This article was originally published at This Is Why I Cheat. Reprinted with permission from the author.