Dear Child Abuser,
First off, I want you to know that I survived. You may have broken me, but you did not shatter me completely. Secondly, please know that I realize that you too, suffer from a mental illness. I realize your actions are likely a response to the trauma you have suffered, likely as a child as well. I know somewhere inside of you there is a part of you that is so sick and twisted that perpetrating these acts of horror have somehow become your comfort and your sense of “normal”. Perhaps there is even a part of you that wishes you had control over your actions, and maybe, just maybe you don’t want to inflict the same pain that you suffered, but you lack the support you need to get well. That being said, I can forgive you to a point because you are sick, but I can never forget, and I hope if you ever read this you will realize the full extent of the damage you have caused me, and perhaps reach for help and not for a victim.
I am mentally sick also, however, you are a great deal of the reason I am sick. The difference between you and I, is I have not inflicted my illness onto others the way you have done to me, and so many others. Allow me to elaborate and let these words resonate in your mind.
You stole from me two things that can never be replaced…my innocence and my childhood. The ability to smile, laugh and play freely among my peers, snatched away and replaced with a shadow of overwhelming darkness. The sun didn’t shine as bright, the birds songs, not so sweet and the first piece of me was lost and tucked away in a dark cave to be dealt with at another time. You took my ability to trust…both then and now. You made me question everyone that came into my life and cast a shadow of doubt on their intentions. You crushed my self esteem. You made me believe I was worth nothing. That I was so unworthy of affection that you showing me your “love” was the closest I would ever get to love…and being a child, I believed you. You made me believe I would never amount to anything, and that it was my fault it was happening because “that’s what little girls like you deserve “. You instilled a sense of guilt and shame that I struggle with to this day. In fact, there is not an aspect of my life, from my relationships to my ability to work, that you have not affected. I will never have normal relationships, the full ability to trust, and the ability to love and be loved, all destroyed by your touch.
Now let me tell you something. As much as you destroyed me, you made me stronger. You made me empathetic to others; you made me strong enough to stop the destructive cycle with me. You made me realize that although you touched my body, over and over, you did not touch my soul. I was physically there but I mentally escaped to a safe place where people like you simply don’t exist. My body has long healed from your scars, my mind not so much…but it will one day, because I will not allow you any more control over my life. I cannot take back what you ripped away from me, but I can stand up and tell you, I survived you and your illness, and I will survive and thrive from the illness you have inflicted on me. You will not have the last word, you will not control one more minute of my life. You have given me the power to have a voice, to stand up and tell people what you did, and do my best to fight for the children who have yet to find their strength to speak. My words may not resonate with you, but they will for the rest of us…the survivors that can not be broken by your illness.
I beg you to seek help in any way you possibly can. I know you are hurting like me, but you do have a choice NOT to hurt others….I have made that choice, and I hope one day you will too.
Many things in life can be fixed or replaced, the loss of childhood innocence is not one of them.