A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: We are grateful for our partnerships such as with our friends at Good Women Project. It has given us the opportunity to spread God's message of love, grace, and healing even further. This story below is a perfect example of why we exist. If you are or know someone who has been a rape victim this particular story may by difficult to read, however it is an example of what happens when we let God into our hearts and souls to begin healing and restoration. This post will remain anonymous out of respect and safety for the the victim. You can now read the full article here or there.
I punched his name in the search bar. Him.
I sucked in a sharp, bitter breath, and held it. That’s him.
Quivering, the corners of my mouth pulled down. I scrunched my nose, sickened, and grabbed the side of my face.
That’s HIM. He did THAT to HER.
I stared at his picture with stinging, narrowed eyes. Hatred filled me.
Those were his lips. Those savage, smirking, greedy lips. How dare he.
Scanning his body, I soaked him in. A searing flush pumped through my blood, caving my chest with fury.
Those hands locked the door behind them while she panicked, horrified. Those filthy hands touched her, pushed her, shoved her, forced her. They dug into her curves, squeezing her flesh with uncontrolled lust.
My gut became tense and twisted. I seized air with curled, clawed hands, baring my teeth. Something intangible shattered in the depths of my being.
HIIIIIIIIIIIM!!!! That was the man who abused her, used her, exploited the innocence of a good woman. THAT MAN!!! Who ignored terrified eyes and a screaming heart and RAPED my naked, sobbing twin sister in a basement.
Heartbroken rage welled upwards, crescendoing into a grieving, guttural call. It exploded out; I beat the couch rapidly, screaming furiously. I hated this man. What he did was evil. It was evil and malicious and it was done. I wasn’t there, I couldn’t do anything about it.
My twin sister has been my best friend for nearly thirty years. We fight, we love, we know each other deeply. We’ve done life together. Growing, breaking, healing. Making it through our twenties. Two years ago, she moved across the globe, to an entirely different hemisphere. I felt so far away from her right now.
Anger, agony, and inky black tears rolled down my face. They welled on my keyboard. I yelled explicits at my monitor, shaking. The pixelated man on the screen smiled back, arms folded, completely indifferent. I closed the window.
“Why didn’t you tell me a month ago?” I sniffled at the video camera.
My identical sister wiped her wet face, ashamed. “I didn’t know what to do, I was scared. I spent all my Christmas money on the abortion.”
I’m so angry. So livid, I can hardly breathe. I want to throw up. I beat the couch again, punching it with white knuckles. By nature, I’m not an angry person. I can count the witnesses of my rare, seething moments on one hand. I strive for harmony, grace, and understanding. I’m curious and compassionate. I love people. I don’t love people enough. I felt no love for this man. I wanted to rip his face to shreds, and cause him pain, regret, remorse.
My voice wavered as I spoke low and long, “If I were over there, I would literally track. him. down. and BEAT the ****ing. living. SHIT out of him.”
Grace and forgiveness, love and compassion; these things were far from my mind.
Who did this guy think he was? Like he’s entitled to help himself to whatever woman walks his way? Like he’s got some sort of right to target her because she’s beautiful, kind, and soft spoken?
He forced her to have to make a decision about her body; one that brings judgement from strangers condemning her to hell.
With all of my soul, I hate it. I hate rape. I hate pornography. I hate the burden a woman bears because of someone else’s selfish lust.
Lust that forces her into a basement, or clutches her neck in the front seat of a car while he unzips his pants. Lust that hides in the woods at twilight, grabbing her while she runs by. Lust that helps himself into her apartment, ripping her clothes off because she smiled at him earlier, and “she wants this, really.”
It infuriates that we have to train women to defend themselves, carry pepper spray, and never show any skin instead of teaching men to respect and value women.
“I can’t stand it. I hate it. I HATE IT.”
“I know,” she choked, “I’ll never forget laying in his basement, or on the operating table. I’m having a hard time finding the line between forgiveness and justice. But you know, just because he destroyed my life, I don’t feel any desire to go out and ruin his. It’s not okay what he did, it’s wrong and perverted. I’m angry and traumatized. But…. I’m not the one lying awake at night wondering if my life’s going to be okay, wondering if I’m loved or valued. He is, and, and… well, that’s sad. I think that the people who do the most hurtful things to others are the ones who are the most lost and broken and lonely, and probably the ones who need love and forgiveness the most.”
As I listened to my sister talk, handing her predator his heart back, it softened me. I didn’t even see him as a person. As she was to him, this man was just a disposable entity that I wanted control over. To hurt and beat down and belittle. And isn’t that what’s wrong with us all?
See, our problem lies in our inability to humanize people. Humanizing people means recognizing that everyone in this world – everyone – has a heart. They are more than the roles they fill in your world, or the perception you have of them.
Humanizing people means soaking in their stories and dreams; allowing their past and future and feelings and heartaches to be a reality. Seeing them as a broken, living, dynamic soul with valid emotions. With deep wells of heartache, and a pulsating hunger for love and acceptance.
What that man did to my sister is not okay. But he’s more than a rapist. He’s more than a criminal. He’s a person. What made him this way? What’s going on in his heart? Accounting for the value of a heart is what helps you be a more loving person. Although hard to acknowledge, the messiest heart is still a heart.
We are all messy.
We are all human.
We need to start humanizing people. This requires compassion. This is Jesus. This is Love. This is where redemption is found. Wishing others good. Grace. Forgiveness.
This includes the man who raped your sister.
To a man who caused my sister scathing pain, to a man who broke twin hearts:
I forgive you. She forgives you.
I’m sorry that you had to steal from her body to feel like a man. I’m sorry no one told you this isn’t okay. I’m sorry that you don’t know what real love is.
I hope you do better, grow stronger, and find real Love. Nothing else will ever satisfy you, did you know that?
Hear me clearly: I am not sorry that I’m angry, or hurt, or devastated. What you did was appalling. But I am sorry for hating you. For envisioning myself at your door, whacking you in the head with a metal pipe when you opened it. That’s not loving. People aren’t objects to use and destroy.
I’ve pulled up your picture again. I’m looking into your eyes once more, and a wave of sympathy undulates through my heart. A deep, poignant understanding overwhelms me.
You’re a person.
Just like me. And just like you, I need love and affirmation and grace and forgiveness every day. Especially when I don’t deserve it. So do you.
I will never get to look you in the eyes and tell you this, but I hope one day you know: you don’t need to detract from other hearts to feel important. Your heart has value. As messy as it is, it has value, and it is forgiven and Loved.