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This woman penned a powerful letter to her rapist

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Susan Devaney
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A rape survivor has penned a powerful letter to her rapist that was read aloud in court this week.

A woman bravely sat in court this week as her letter detailing the aftermath she’s endured after being raped was read aloud to her rapist.

Nathan Teece was standing trial for raping the woman while she slept at a house party in 2016 – with her husband downstairs. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

The woman, from Queensland, Australia, who cannot be named for legal reasons. Her letter, which was published by news.au.com, reads: “I feel like I died that day. You shushed me. I screamed out and you literally shushed me.

“You were so calm, as if you were doing nothing wrong. Your hand was tight over my mouth and you continued to shush me. With that you muted me completely. You decided that I didn’t need to be heard. I was gone.

“You never ever deserved to be even close to me. But you were. You took me anyway.”

She said she never in “million years” thought she would have been raped that night.

“I was in the safest place possible. I was with people I knew and trusted. [My husband] was right there, just down the staircase. And yet, no one could save me,” she wrote.

“I feel weak because I wasn’t able to defend myself when no one else could. No amount of self-defence classes could have prepared me or changed the outcome.

“This is what terrifies me the most. I was in a safe place. I was always a weary and aware person; I was not naive to the worst around me.

“I would always look out for other women and try to be their protector. Yet, I couldn’t protect myself and it kills me.

“Every piece of my being wishes so desperately that I could have pulled or pushed my arm out, or somehow kicked you. At least once, one ounce of retaliation, but I couldn’t.

“I wish I could have left a mark on your body. Yet no amount of scratches or kicks could have come close to the unseen marks you’ve left on mine.

“I actually struggled to say that, my body? Really it’s mine? But I don’t want it anymore.”

“I am a wild fire, and you will never put me out again.”

The aftermath of the rape, the woman recalled, was “humiliating”.

“I was handed a small toiletry bag to use and keep. It contained a shower cap. I didn’t use it. I wanted to scrub off any trace of you, your breath on my head, your saliva or hair in mine. I felt sick. There was mouthwash, a comb and a bar of soap. I think a jug of disinfectant would have been more appropriate. The bag made me angry. It was sort of like a goodie bag. Why would I want to keep any of this stuff?”

She continued: “I stood there under the running water. I didn’t cry. I just stood there. I stared down at my feet knowing I would now be the girl who was raped.”

Returning to work five months after the attack was equally difficult.

“I sat in a room of 20 people,” she wrote. “I laughed, I made friends, and people gave me compliments. I felt like I had fooled everyone. I felt like a liar when I had to talk about myself.

“I just wanted to scream. I spent all day trying to hide the uncontrollable shaking of my hands. I drank three bottles of water just for something to do with my hands. Every time I went to the bathroom I felt like someone was waiting or would come in and attack me.

“I smiled at people today. I walked with my head up, I acted confident. I spoke to large groups of people. Someone even told me I was pretty, someone even said I had a lovely energy. I went home and cried. I fooled everyone today. I’m not OK.”

She said the attack had affected every part of her life.

“The person you see now is just a tiny fraction of who I once was. I am a sad, anxious broken piece of a once whole person,” she wrote.

“I’m constantly told things like ‘don’t let it change you’ or ‘don’t let him win’. Hearing that makes me so angry.

“I am different, and I have changed. You haven’t won; but I have lost. I’ve lost parts of myself. I’ve lost my trust, my security and my control.

“I cannot even walk into a store by myself. I am scared of people and scared of life.

“The worst possible thing that could happen to me did. This just leaves me expecting that bad things will happen now.”

She concluded with some powerful words for her rapist.

“I will never understand you, or why you did what you did,” she wrote.

“You may continue to tell yourself that you are not in that group, that you are not a rapist, but you are. You will have to live with that, and that is your cross to bear.

“I forgive you in a way that I have separated myself from the anger I constantly felt towards you. I feel at peace now, I am no longer sinking, my head is above water.

“I still will have those days where I sink back into feeling broken; but I am determined and I will empower myself. I am a wild fire, and you will never put me out again.”

If you have been affected by sexual harassment or assault, you can seek advice and support at Rape Crisis and Victim Support UK.

Images: Unsplash 

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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