I’m sure that depends on the rapist. My rapist liked to wax poetic. For example, this letter, dated Valentine’s Day 2012.
And I know it goes on a little long, and I’m sorry about that. But I don’t think I should alter it, shorten it, change it. (Aside from adding the bracketed commentary.)
Where are the words to describe the weight one life has upon another? Of course I could just go to cliche-town and tell you excerpts of famous writers, who felt they understood the depth of human emotion. Quotes and phrases used, and more often than not, misused throughout time. Strained, hollow, and beaten to death words distanced from their original intentions. What can I say to you that is so unique, personable, [perhaps he meant personal] and genuine that these old words will be replaced with vital new ones? I cannot guess where to start.
Do I dare measure my love in distance? A quantifiable unit of space perhaps immense to our limit [sic] scope, but insignificant to others. I could say “I love you to the Moon and back” but we no longer hold mystery or lack the technology to do so. [Not sure what that means.] And if I say my love is boundless then I’m going into the cheap appeal of referencing an imaginary, completely-inconceivable to the human mind concept. What pretty little carefully-crafted sentence can articulate our memories together?
I love you so much and it scares me that I so easily can throw away everything but you. I have to beat myself to pull away from you and go to school, work, rehearsal, whatever. Life and the time I spend with you makes me happy and hopeful for the future, and you really are the only solid thing in my life right now. I know I seem to consistently make the same mistakes [— he refers here to the many times I was upset he had prioritized his wants and needs before mine, and treated me like an object instead of a person with thoughts and feelings of my own —] but it is not out of malice or hatred to [sic] you.
I cannot define our love nor can I think of some grand gesture in which to show it. [How about … not raping me? Just a thought.] Part of me wishes I could, but a greater part of me is satisfied with not defining it. For if it is defined, it is complete, a fixed entity, and I never want our relationship to stop growing, shifting, and strengthening. All I can tell you is I would gladly go against everything I stand for to keep you, I am no longer just [HIS NAME], I am tied to you [MY NAME]. And I am strengthened and complete to be part of a bigger whole.
I’m kinda rambling at this point, but whatever, you really do fulfill me in ways I could not conceive of before I met you.
And not a day goes by where I don’t think on our memories together, good and bad. These don’t distance me from you, but bind me. They define us and I am happy that no matter what has happened, we have stayed together. Not out of an act of responsibility or obligation but because of sincere feeling. I have always thought actions speak louder than words. [Um, well, rape is an action.] I want to live with you and be the man I know I can be. For you, [REDACTED], everyone we care about. Our time together has opened my eyes to a higher beauty and a life more than just money, fame, power [sic].
I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you, if you’ll have me that is.
I’m not posting this to mock it. I’m tempted to, but that’s just because it’s 1:00 a.m. and I’m a little buzzed. The reason I’m sharing this is to show the kind of psychological and emotional pressure this guy was putting on me, on a constant and continual basis, for nearly two years.
I mean, this letter reads like a marriage proposal. It’s bizarre. And, imagine me, sitting there, holding it in my hands — this very earnest letter written by a guy who seemingly possesses pretty much all the qualities I’d always been looking for — but also happens to have a selfish, self-centered streak that makes me feel his only aim in life is to chase after and possess whatever it is he’s got it into his head he wants at that particular moment.
Yay, at that moment, it was “me” — a partner. A year earlier, it had been “me” — a vagina.
I kick myself reading this stuff. Because I knew at the time there was something off about it all, but he just seemed so damn earnest and good-natured and vulnerable, I couldn’t see his behavior for the manipulation that it was.
I never said stuff like this to him, by the way. He was always dumping it on me. In buckets. LOVE ME. And it was so hard not to obey. It was so easy to let it wash over me, like that water from the River Styx, that makes you forget. A cool water that soothes and sucks you deeper and deeper into numb, apathetic unknowing-ness.
"Yes, I love you. Wait, no, I don’t. Why? Hm, well, you’re a nice guy. I guess I do love you. Hold on. But. There shouldn’t be a ‘but’ when it comes to love, should there? Maybe that’s natural, though. I guess it is love, then."
Nope. It’s not love, sweetheart. What you’re feeling? It’s called “denial.” Another famous river.