Part ten of ‘Ten years after rape’
I’m not religious, but rituals have power. For the past ten years I have struggled to move on from what happened to me when I was 16. I’m not the frail, naive girl I was back then, but she has lived inside me ever since. I decided that today I would mourn for her in the hope that I can finally really move on. I put on a black dress and retraced the steps of that night, beginning outside the restaurant he worked at (which has since gone).
I walked along the canal until I reached where it happened, and then I sat down. There were so many people walking by me. It was such a contrast to how alone I was that night.
I wrote a letter to 16 year old me, but the contents of that letter are between me and the water. I ripped it up and cast the pieces into the canal.
I still had the t-shirt I wore that night. I’d kept it because I thought if I could wear it then it meant he didn’t have power over me. He doesn’t, but that t-shirt still holds memories. I cut it up.
I’ve often felt like part of me died that night, but how do you mourn the loss of naivety? I laid some flowers on the ground. They weren’t flowers of death though. They are flowers of hope. Flowers that represent that things can and do become easier. They are a gift to 16 year old me to let her know that 26 year old me can see beauty in the world again.
I put my cut up t-shirt in the bin and saw this:
As I walked away from where it happened, I looked back and felt a few tears forming. The tears were for the girl who was raped that night. I left that girl there, next to the canal, and I walked away.