Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)
TITLE: Confronting My Abuser
By Melinda Todd
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I took a deep breath. Pen in hand, paper set before me. It took me eighteen years to write this letter. How exactly do you start out a letter like this? “Dear so-and-so” didn’t exactly seem appropriate. He wasn’t
dear to me and this wasn’t going to be a friendly,
how ya doing , kind of letter. My stomach coiled and churned as I contemplated what precisely to say. And then I started to write.
I asked the hard questions. How could you? Why did you take my innocence? What did I do to deserve this? Do you know that you changed me forever? Don’t you have any shame? Why me?
And as the accusations rolled, so did the facts of how his abuse had changed my life.
You took something precious from me. You changed who I am in my marriage and with my husband and let me tell you, it has not been good. What should have been special between a husband and wife, often feels dirty and shameful to me. My husband deserves a whole wife, but that is not what he got. Thankfully, he is the right man that God has put in my life. Willing to work through it all with me.
You’ve been at every family function, forcing me to face you and pretend everything was fine. Everyone always pretending. I honestly thought maybe I was crazy. Maybe I had made it up. Why was our whole family so comfortable with a child molester sitting among us? Did anyone even care about me? My pain? My loss? Why wasn’t anyone angry enough with you to want to wring your neck?
As my pain poured forth and the truth was written in black and white, I began to feel relief. I mailed the letter right away, afraid I’d lose my gumption if I sat on it. To finally address the ghost that haunted my life, always darting about and popping up when least expected, was a heavy burden finally lifted.
I didn’t expect a response. It is not the norm to address your abuser. They will normally deny and/or place blame on the victim, further victimizing them. But he did respond and he did admit to what he had done.
He did not ask for forgiveness. He apologized, profusely. He told me how he does not believe God will ever forgive him because he caused a child to sin. He shared about his drug use, suicide attempts, and self hatred. And God gave me the strength to believe and forgive him.
Through a hand written letter, I was able to find peace with a demon that had taunted me my entire life.
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