Op-ed: A letter to my rapist on his graduation

Anonymous Student

Read a letter from our editor, Sam Seekings, about this submission here.

Congrats! You made it. It’s been a long three and a half years of essays, tests and visits to the Title IX Office, but you did it! Somehow, after assaulting numerous women, you managed to get away with no Title IX investigations, no no-contact orders, all while maintaining your fraternity membership and grades. And now you’re graduating early! What a feat, we’re all so proud of you for overcoming such insurmountable hurdles.

We’ve had two very different college experiences since we last spoke a year and a half ago. I’ve been in constant therapy, spent countless hours discussing how to manage my panic attacks every time I had to walk by you and pretend I was OK, all while trying to manage my classes, grades, extracurriculars and job applications. Meanwhile, you’ve had your own struggles as well. I can’t imagine how hard it must be having friends confront you about the growing number of women you’ve assaulted. That kind of pain and discomfort must have been unbearable beyond words.

So, hey, thanks for a great three and half years. I can’t say that I’ll miss those on-campus run-ins, having to walk the other way to study at a different table in Bauer Hall or suddenly having the wind knocked out of me when I walk past your fraternity house, but I guess that’s just college!

As I sit here writing you this letter instead of focusing on the many papers and tests I should be working on, I can’t help but feel guilty for allowing you to continue to assault women on this campus by not reporting you. I thought you were just a good guy who got too drunk in his frat basement one night and made a mistake, and why should I ruin your life for that? On top of that, the thought of recounting the night you forced yourself on top of me to an investigator still scares me a year and a half later. I know you still think you did nothing wrong. After all, I never explicitly said no, so how could you have known any different? And hey, you were just having fun, you weren’t trying to rape me. To all of this I say, do better. It isn’t on me or any of the other women you have hurt to teach you how to not rape women.

You deserve to know that the pain you have caused will stay with me for the rest of my life. It comes in the form of a flinch when my boyfriend unexpectedly touches me and waking up in a sweaty panic after yet another graphic nightmare. You deserve to know that your five minutes of pleasure have hurt not just me, but my loved ones who have supported me since that September night.

No one can ever take away the pain my parents felt as I recounted the night you raped me. No one can give me back the semester abroad I had to abandon, because the thought of going out to a mysterious European night club and running into someone like you was too paralyzing. The pain you caused will stretch far beyond these three and a half years. So, thank you for a lifetime of therapy bills, psych meds and panic attacks!

Once again, good luck as you enter the real world, and congrats. You’ve made so many people so proud.

Best wishes,

A survivor

Read a letter from our editor, Sam Seekings, about this submission here.

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