I look at him directly in the eyes without flinching. It has been fourteen years since I last saw him. Fourteen years since he received a 25-year sentence for rape and attempted murder.
I remember that night with such clarity and detail. I was working late in the courtyard of my small printing business when he scaled the eight-foot wall and suddenly appeared behind me, holding a screwdriver to my neck. I fought with everything I had but unfortunately lost that fight. He left me there, tied up, bleeding profusely from the numerous wounds that he inflicted.
Besides the emotional trauma there were many other consequences of that event.
Our little business, the place of creativity, initiative, and inspiration, died that dreadful night. The business that my partner and I had been building for two years. I did not want to go back to that place of fear. Even though friends gathered around to wash away the blood and obvious signs of the fight and rape, I did not want to go back to that house of horror. I wanted my partner to buy me out. He had other ideas and betrayed me, putting the business into liquidation. I lost everything and went deep into debt.
My sex life. My lover came to visit. He had been out of the country at the time and did not know of the rape. I was so excited to see him. We started making love. I couldn’t breathe and felt ill. I made him stop and I told him why. He was kind. But he left. He never came back.
My health. Three years after that terrible, terrifying, terrorising night, I woke up one morning with the most debilitating pain down my left leg. After numerous medical examinations I was admitted to hospital and underwent a back operation. It was unsuccessful and a week later I went through the same procedure again. This operation too was a failure. I was sent home with a home nurse. Helpless and bed ridden, I was dependent on people for the tiniest things. I lived with the pain for another five months. I later discovered that this was a psychosomatic fallout from the rape.
Now, fourteen years after that dreadful night, I face the rapist at his parole hearing.
Rashaad, As I face you in this prison and look you in the eyes…I do not condone what you have done but my goal for today is to forgive you as I choose to heal the memory of the attack and rape. I am giving you back that responsibility now, and I send this with compassion from my Higher Self, that part of me that has protected me, loved me, and nurtured me. I send it to you, and I release you to your highest good. I am choosing to be free of it.
I FORGIVE YOU AND TAKE BACK MY FREEDOM.