Rape is not something that can be walked away from. It refuses to leave its victims unaltered. It is a burden that I have carried since that night, and I will continue to carry throughout my life. I go to sleep every night, hoping that I will wake up in the morning to find that I was only dreaming, but it never happens. Every morning only brings more harsh reality to my waking eyes. I wish that part of my life was merely fiction; a nightmare. But it will never be. Too much has changed since then. Rape changed me beyond recognition to my former self. I lost my trust in men. I lost my ability, or perhaps just my will, to love. I lost my virginity. I lost the first love of my life. Unfortunately, I also gained fear. I gained the status of a victim. I gained an enemy; perhaps not in my eyes, but in the eyes of the world. The day dawned and I was a different person. I had become a victim. I was weak and vulnerable. I hated the person I had become. I even later tried changing my name to run away from my new, but not improved, self. Mindy was young and ignorant; a victim. I hoped that Mindi would prove stronger. I vowed never to be victimized ever again. Unfortunately, that hasn't turned out too well...

Rape leaves two different victims behind in regards to their future sexual lives. One type shies away from men and sex. (Obviously for my purposes I am generalizing rape victims as females. Male rape victims do exist, but they are rarer, so I will stick with women in my examples.) They fear any kind of intimate relationship. They may even become confused in this fear and turn to homosexuality. I was not this type. I was a proclaimed bisexual before I was raped; that has not changed. I have not shied away from relationships with men. I am the other type. I have, unfortunately, become attracted to cruel men. After Jack I had a series of... not nice boyfriends. I guess I just go for the assholes. Thankfully I have become a bit more assertive and none of them got so far as to rape me like Jack did. Not for a lack of trying though, believe you me. However, I have become aware of my tendencies, and I am now trying to pick my men more carefully. I am naturally attracted to strong men, but now I am more wary of a man who can physically control me. I try to find calm, nonviolent men without flaring tempers. I am also veering away from those who use drugs and alcohol. I am doing a better job I think. Recently, I dated a Buddhist who has never touched illegal substances. Hopefully, with peaceful, kind men like him, I will one day be able to develop a safe, loving relationship.

As I briefly mentioned above, I do not regard Jack as my enemy. I do not hate him, even though many women in my position would. I do not wish to get revenge on him. I would never hurt him like he hurt me, even if given the chance, the power, and the means. However, I have not managed to entirely forgive him. I have always had issues with forgiveness. Whether or not he is worth of my forgivness I do not know. I feel like it is not my place to choose whether he deserves it or not. I suppose if there is a God, he will make the choice for me. I have taken that burden off of my shoulders and placed it in the hands of an (imaginary?) omnipotent figure. As for my feelings towards Jack, I do not hate him, as I said. In fact, I probably still love him. I am not sure. But I do thank him; of this I am certain. I thank him for giving me the chance to become the person I am today. Would I be Mindi today if it weren't for him? Or would I be some other Mindy? I refuse to regret anything in my life. That is my motto: Live life without regrets. Therefore, I do not go back and ask the "what if" questions. I know that I am here, now. This is who I am. I don't waste my time regretting not having become the other people I may have become. I am thankful for the fact that I am who I am, here and now. And that means thanking those who shaped my life and my existence into what it has become. Jack played a large role in shaping my life. I know this. Thus, I thank him. I know, you are probably reading this with a dropped jaw, wondering what the hell I am saying. I know that not many people will understand this, but whether or not you can relate matters not because this is true. Jack is not and never will be an enemy in my eyes; he is an influencial figure in my life. Perhaps not an entirely positive one, but even though influencial and beneficial may not always come hand in hand, they are still both deserving of praise. Jack was my first love; he is unforgettable. Perhaps unforgivable as well, but he is also deserving of my neverending thanks. He made me who I am; and whether or not I am in love with my life at this moment, I appreciate his contribution. Thank you Jack.