CW: Abuse, Rape.
Today is a difficult day for me. 13 years ago my ex, the same man who saved me from suicide mere weeks before (which I wrote about here) became my rapist. For a long time I believed his excuse: “he mistook me for his ex wife. He thought I was her in his bed, and he thought she was there to sleep with him,” but now looking back on the incident pared with how he continued to treat me through the duration of our relationship I understand that his “reason” was just one more in a mountain of lies he used to take advantage of me.
While December 13th marks the first and most violent rape, it wasn’t the last. The theme of our entire relationship revolved around his sexual gratification and he often coerced me, threatened abandonment, or forced himself on me whenever he saw fit. However, there were also moments when our intimacy was consensual, passionate and beautiful which made coming to terms with the majority of when it wasn’t incredibly difficult. It’s taken me a long time to be able to look back at this date without crushing depression, flashbacks or tears.
Today? I don’t grieve for myself as an innocent young woman who unknowingly walked into a hellish relationship. I don’t grieve for my ex, the man who chose to give in to his demons instead of fighting them. I admire myself as the young woman who survived and thrived despite everything I endured with my ex. His choices are his own, and someday he’ll face consequences if not in this life perhaps the next. He chose the easy way out; giving in and giving up. I chose to fight, to rise and conquer my demons. I am a warrior for myself and other victims who are unable to speak out. This day is no longer a day to mourn, but a celebration of new life.
13 years stronger.