Let There Be a Repentant Rapist

Art by Luiza Vizoli

His name was Tyrone.

Or was it Tyrese? What I do know is that it is a grace of God that the memory of his name was stolen from me too. Stolen along with that Fourth of July night in Billings, the year I turned twenty-one, when he dropped a date-rape pill into my drink. There weren’t any fireworks that night.
Among the few moments of relative lucidity that night were these:

-He was some kind of a beef salesman (and I a lifelong vegetarian) in town for work.

-At one point I was puking into a toilet in what must have been his hotel room bathroom. But seeing myself in this brief moment that surfaced from the blackout, it was more like I was hovering over my poor vomiting self, watching pitifully like an angel with just enough power to assure that the man didn’t kill me. While the man stood in the corner, watching, waiting for me to wipe just enough throw-up off my mouth to be sexy enough to resume pounding and grinding me into the meat he handles and sells for a living.

-Then he on top of me, his belly protruding as if it led his whole life and lusty moans.

-He dropped me off at dawn in front of my dad’s where I was staying for the summer, said, “We’ll play tennis.” And sped off.

Is it the chemistry of gamma hydroxybutyric acid, the drug used to summon unconsciousness when one doesn’t want to have sex with willing consent, that not only creates blackness for twelve hours but bores holes and chasms into the mind days and years after consumption permanently altering the cognitive process? Or is it the trauma itself that does this?

I write this with a red pen in tiny, barely legible handwriting today, years later, on what truly is the longest night of the year. Red, as if denoting one giant mistake on the masterpiece of God’s creation. Tiny and sloppy, like my self-worth and brain for the past decade following that night. Night, which should have been one of the shortest of the year but instead rolled into my longest: the dark night of the soul. The saddest thing about falling from innocence that night was one more thing I remember. Sometime before the drug kicked in fully, I called my mom. I remember he asked to talk to my mom. Dear Mother. That is when the angels would have wept. I don’t know what was spoken, but is it possible that evil can concentrate so densely in the heart of one man that he actually could have told her what he planned on doing to his daughter, her firstborn, all patriotic-night long? That question haunts me more than anything else about that night, yet as you can see eleven and a half years later, there are several questions left unanswered, voids only the light of God can fill.

And here is the one I most hope to be, not answered, but FULFILLED, so there no longer needs to be a question:

Rape stories retold by the victim are manifold, and a number of them even promises forgiveness to the perpetrator. So if we are living in such an advanced age wherein we know to put away childish things, take responsibility for our actions, and become men of integrity who use our talents to better humanity; then why do we never hear one, not one, “I raped. I beat my breast now with tears. I am so sorry.” story? Is there really that little redemption in our world? One might deny the above premise and say we do not live in an altruistic age and we cannot expect so much from man. I hear you. Reading many of my blog posts that are not direct poem-prayers to God, you can easily see that I tend toward a cynical view of mankind, not just present, but throughout-time-mankind. It is a foreign, often monstrous place that lives so far from Kingdom principles (aka Love) that some days I really want to give up and go back to heavenly Home.

But light shines here too. You poet-friends who meditate on one single branch of the willow and share how its wisdom can save humanity; the elementary school that puts on a special assembly to honor its beloved janitor; sufferers from Alzheimer’s who put on headphones and a flood of memories awash them as they sing along to “I Got Rhythm” and “Old Man River”; the heavenly reminders of newborn babies; and on and on and on.

In a few days we celebrate the birth of Christ, the Light of God, coming into our weary world. And despite thousands of nativity scenes scattered all over the world throughout this season, the significance does not lie solely with the baby in the manger; Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Light in our own dark and broken hearts. Christmas is not a holiday usually given to celebrate penitent rapists, but it can be. What is amazing about the love of God is that on this earth, the Light, which is the only ingredient needed to become whole men and then serve fellow men, that Light is available to EVERYONE, no matter what atrocity was committed in the darkness and deadness of sin.

That is all I hope for you (let’s just call you Ty) and all others who are sorry for their acts but don’t know how to begin to expiate for them. Let the light that Jesus born in Bethlehem stands for permeate your hearts beginning right now. Fear not for your souls, but atone for your acts by apologizing to those you harmed, and if that’s not possible, apologize to those you could have harmed. I never ask for Christmas gifts but for a transformed heart by the light of God, I would save for twelve years to behold.

©2016, Amaya Engleking

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55 comments

  1. Maria Gianna Iannucci · December 21

    I hestitate to ask, but did this happen to you?

    • Gospel Isosceles · December 21

      Yes. I wish I knew how to write fiction.

      • Maria Gianna Iannucci · December 21

        You are wonderful and brave. The world does not need anymore fiction. It needs you. You did not lose your innocence. No one can take that from you. I have had my own experiences and the road forward can be long and hard…you are never alone. You are strong.💟

        • Gospel Isosceles · December 21

          Thank you for your love, Maria. After I published this I felt a euphoria because I’d never told anyone but my husband, but then the past hour has been a whirlwind. What if my family reads this? Anyway, thanks for you and everything you do. Actually you were the primary poet I was thinking of when I mentioned the meditations on nature and its practical wisdom. Oh your blessed eyes and senses…

          • Maria Gianna Iannucci · December 21

            Hang in there and be courageous. I have been grappling with my own truths lately. I work with many religious Sisters who care for abused women around the world. We have to write and to forgive. You took a giant leap. I am here. My favorite verse…one of them is “The Lord is my strength, I shall not be moved.” You are the love thst you seek. Blessings.

          • Maria Gianna Iannucci · December 21

            Do you follow Beauty Beyond Bones? I am writing a poem for her. I will dedicate one to you too.

            • Gospel Isosceles · December 21

              That is very thoughtful. I don’t use the word ‘grace’ often because, despite being affected by it, I do not understand it. However, it seems to me like you bleed grace in your poetry, your motherhood, and your teaching. God is good.

              I believe I have read some of BBB’s posts.

              • Maria Gianna Iannucci · December 22

                Wow…that means a great deal. I do not understand grace either. “To bleed grace”…beautiful. And yes, all the time.

  2. Mario A. Pita · December 21

    Clicking “Like” on this piece felt inadequate; I’m sorry you went through this! I am left haunted with thinking of the path between the devastation and now when you are reflecting something essential at the heart of Christianity in hoping for “Ty’s” redemption and salvation. I have to run get guests from the airport now, but hope, if I can, to respond more adequately sometime, in verse, to your story…

    • Gospel Isosceles · December 21

      I know, I should have disabled the ‘Like’ button for this one, but I am very open to comments. It seems we as a collective people need to figure some essential things out. Like now. For one, there is no use for a battle between the masculine and the feminine; the fight only deteriorates both sides, which are “born” to live in harmony with and strengthen one another. And, there is no moving on, no growing up, no maturity, no evolving in this life without repentance. I deeply hope for us all to come to salvation. Thank you so much for your support, Mario.

  3. Cheryl Ruffing · December 21

    Oh, Amaya, I am so sorry this happened to you. Naming the cause of the pain is the essential first step in moving beyond it, and I’m grateful that you’re able to do so. You write beautifully about the power of God’s love to change the most despicable of us. As for you publishing this right before Christmas: it’s much more appropriate to the Incarnation than anything involving Santa Claus. You are a beautiful soul. May God bless you and yours abundantly.

    • Gospel Isosceles · December 21

      I am humbled by your gentle words of affirmation, as I respect you and look up to you in many ways. I don’t feel there is any pain anymore, and I mean it when I say I do not seek steel bar justice for him. Just for God to reclaim his soul would be justice and absolute peace for me.

  4. no face woman · December 21

    I can’t tell you how much this resonated with me. As well as sounding alarmingly similar to my own rape, your admitted later years of ‘sloppiness’ are so relatable. Your thought process is beautiful , forgiving and healing. Very well said 💛

    • Gospel Isosceles · December 28

      Thank you. Much love to you sister, and I hope with time that sloppiness might become something generative, beautiful even.

  5. samantha lucero · December 22

    I didn’t want to click like, because I don’t like what happened to you. But I clicked like to show my support of you. This is a topic that is still relevant to this day, everywhere in the world, and is one special to me, just like you, and so many. This was painful for me to read, but I forced myself to and I’m glad that I did. I may disagree on forgiveness, but I still stand with you.

    • Gospel Isosceles · January 3

      I have been thinking about you. Let me know if you need an extra editor or anything else. And thank you for your support here, Sam; it has been a huge step. I thought I might actually die before ever telling it.

      • samantha lucero · January 4

        I will. And I’m glad you took the step. It must feel empowering.

  6. Flipdog · December 22

    Have never been in anything like a similar place; being a bloke it’s not possible to understand truly but I send you love. I’m glad your light is here though. You’re right that the world needs more light, and every candle is valuable and precious.

  7. Rob · December 22

    A bit wrenchingly honest story showing your bravery and deep and wide heart. Thank you for this courage and sharing. It affected me to read of this and to know your power and strength

  8. Alexa Myers · December 22

    Thank you for your bravery in posting. You are Love and it shines brightly from you.

  9. Shattered in Him · December 22

    I had to go take some deep breaths and then come back. It all resonates so loudly I was actually quite speechless for some time. That said, you put many things into words quite beautifully.

    • Gospel Isosceles · January 6

      I wonder if it may be useful to some to include a trigger warning in this piece. I’m ashamed I didn’t think of it but this was something I had to do for myself, foremost. When I have some time I might go back and edit in a warning. Thank you always for your warmth and kindness, JD. I’m glad I have your book to read and get to see your beautiful soul. God’s love to you.

      • Shattered in Him · January 6

        Oh, I hope I didn’t make you second-guess what you wrote. I totally get the need to write these things for your own cathartic release. And, I cannot hold other people responsible for what may trigger me, so asking for warnings seems a little…I don’t know. All of that to say, this piece seriously resounded with me and gave me much to contemplate in my own heart and soul regarding things that have happened to me. Don’t feel ashamed!

  10. Maria Gianna Iannucci · December 24

    Merry Christmas. God bless you.

  11. angyjenks · December 26

    I’m so sorry this happened to you.. thank you for sharing your story and your faith..

  12. artrosch · December 28

    It seems that the most tender and giving of souls are those that have suffered abuse, indignity, depression and much inner struggle. These experiences can be turned into compassion. They can also be turned into vindictive rage but that’s a choice you clearly have not made. Your words are lucid and brave. You honor us with this story.

    • Gospel Isosceles · January 9

      And you honor me with this response. I was actually turned away from a group of sexual assault survivors recently, most of whom were not prepared to tolerate forgiveness, let alone forgive their own abusers. But rage is certainly a sentiment I can understand, as it was part of the trauma effect, even if it did not surface. I pray that those who are letting the vindictiveness consume them may be touched by the grace of God.

  13. Rick Christensen · December 28

    I just found you today and am now following your site. You are a powerful and brave writer! Thank you for sharing your gifts! Nice to meet you! I am looking forward to reading your work in the new year. Prayers for your new year to be filled with wonderful blessings and affirmations!

    • Gospel Isosceles · January 23

      Thank you for reading and for your heartfelt comments. It is always wonderful to connect with a brother in Christ. I believe I recognize your name from Shattered in Him’s blog. Tell me, do you have a site? When I clicked your name it brought me to your gravatar without an external link. Would like to hear what you have to say.

  14. Chinwuba · December 29

    Thank you for drawing my attention to this. First, let me tell you that you write beautifully. Second, you don’t have to worry about this anymore. Forget it! That man harmed himself more than he harmed you by his unspeakable act, and if he does not repent and make atonement, it would be better for him if he had never been born! You, like sister Lucy(https://afterjujuman.com/2016/12/22/24-yr-old-nun-raped-by-soldiers-became-pregnant-sister-lucy-vertrusc/) has been chosen to help carry the cross of the Galilean whose birthday we celebrated on Christmas, to Golgotha, were He must spill His blood to wash men from their iniquities. Mingle your humiliation with His, let his blood running like water down the cross wash the filth from that man off you forever.

    • Gospel Isosceles · January 23

      Chinwuba, I identify with how you put our struggles as “chosen to help carry the cross,” and it is words like yours that serve as the simple yet enormous acts of love that Jesus encountered on his way up to Golgotha. And thank you for sharing Sister Lucy’s story. I love her for being one to love and trust God so much that she chose to “break the chain of hatred.”
      Are you based in Nigeria? Our priest friend is from there and is encouraging us to go, maybe teach and volunteer through his parish in Niger state. But having two small daughters I must consider their safety and it seems all we ever hear about, here in the US, of Nigeria is Boko Haram attacks. It sounds like a fascinating place though, and he’s starting to teach us some words in Hausa!

  15. Azalea · December 29

    It hurt me to hit like but that was my way of telling you that I admire you. It’s not easy to share something like this and to explain every detail of such incident, but I guess writing about it can be a form of healing, too. Your faith is extraordinary, God surely does love you. You are one of a kind, and I just wanted to let you know that even if I read it with a heavy heart, you and your faith in God revived my soul. Thank you.

    • Gospel Isosceles · February 7

      Wow, it has been well over a month since you commented and I apologize for such a delayed response, but I sincerely appreciate every word, Azalea. I haven’t had the courage to talk about this to my family, but just a few days ago I did send my youngest brother the link. What I mean to say is that you, among others here, have helped build me up, as this is an ongoing healing process. Thank you for your love and kindness toward just another broken sister.

    • Gospel Isosceles · February 8

      Do you have a new site?

      • Azalea · February 8

        That’s so nice to hear, thank you, sister! You are one of those who inspires me to write more especially about the faith. Healing may be difficult but it’s not impossible, and I can’t wait to see how God will work through you in the days to come. ❤

        No, my site is still the same. Just had a break writing because I have been busy with College recently.

  16. Nikki Acquah · December 29

    Thank you for this. I am glad you have found healing in Christ. Permission to share on my twitter?

    lots of love! xxx

    • Gospel Isosceles · December 29

      Love to you Nikki, sister in Christ 🙂 You may share, and thanks for your support.

  17. The WheatandTares · December 30

    Wow. Your ability to be real and vulnerable in your writing is disarming. To click “like” on this piece seems inadequate and almost insulting, but I will click it to express my gratitude for your honesty. I cannot imagine your loss and your pain, but I am thankful you have found your solace in God’s grace. For that is the only place it can be found. I don’t know how He does it, but He has an incredible, miraculous way of healing and redeeming. For this, I am eternally grateful. I will pray for you, that He will continue to heal you and to help you through this process, that as you share your story you will help others, and that one day, this “Ty” will also somehow find His grace, that maybe his story will also help others who have committed this same atrocity to find grace and healing, and in turn, it might, as well, have this “domino effect” on so many others.
    Can you imagine the magnitude of this impact? …all started by your willingness to share your story and to to forgive…reminds me of Corrie Ten Boom’s story in The Hiding Place … God bless you and keep you. 💗

    • Gospel Isosceles · February 7

      I do hope he is led to redemption. It is a cycle and it must be broken, beginning with whomever decides to forgive and/or fall to the knees and pray. I thank you for your prayers.

  18. Darryl Walker Jr · December 31

    Hello Amaya. Thank you for having the courage to post this. My heart breaks for you. I hope days get better for you.

    Happy New Year!

    -Darryl

    • Gospel Isosceles · January 9

      Things are much better, Darryl. I may even use the word ‘peace’ to describe this dark chapter. Thank you and happy new year to you as well. Keep up the powerful essays!

  19. contoveros · January 5

    You showed me that love and compassion truly exists in the heart of forgiveness.

    Writing is therapeutic and I see the Touch of the Divine in a story like this. I feel blessed to have stumbled onto our path.

    Michael J

  20. Angelo Devlin · January 6

    Apologies in advance for my narcissistic comments,  my intention is to help heal.

    Growing up (say between 13 – 20 ) I became too sensitively aware of transgressions made by males,  either in word or deed, perpetuated on females I  knew, liked, trusted and respected.

    Knowing these situations, supported my nurtured reasons, for not engaging in copulation that may produce a male that I would not want to control by misguided beliefs, innuendos and sarcasm.

    One that might just turn out like the above harmful males, from social pressures, regardless how well he might have been raised.

    Likewise not wanting to create a female that would most likely be subjected to half the populations brutality and ignorance.

    I remained a virgin, till I met the beautiful intelligent woman who would become my wife.

    Basically getting a handwritten permission slip from her kids and her mother saying with all do respect it was okay to proceed fulfilling our desires.

    Just in case my bore-ish (no typo there) charms overwhelmed her.

    Enough narcissism,  here’s the (hopefully) healing part.

    Perhaps the one that did this to you is out there feeling regret and either willfully or circumstantial has been enlightened to realize it was horrific what he did.

    With the only proof of remorse manifesting itself into what inspired you to bear all and write your post.

    It is conceivable, that this perpetrator has evolved, and seen the viciousness of his crime. 

    Maybe from the perspective, that he now has a daughter and he is the penitent rapist expressing remorse to you through the universe via your blog as now he has to hope that no one does to his daughter what he did to you.

    One can only envision these circumstances,  save a time travel machine that could go back and undo the past pains.

  21. Akanksha Krishnatre · January 7

    You Amaya are the phoenix I talked of. Yes you are brave and I adore you for that. Being a teenager I have not seen much of the world, but I know a warrior when I see one. You are a lady with fire. You survived to be more beautiful in the heart, soul and mind. I bow to you for that. It shows your strength in asking for salvation for this Ty. You Go Big sister. The world is afoot.

  22. Nikki Acquah · January 7

    Thanks hun. Shared to my twitter 🙋❤

  23. joshuadragon · January 9

    Heavenly Father forgives, but never forgets. Forgiveness has a one of a kind characteristics: it works voluntarily, and unrepeated. If there is no change, a larger indemnity will take place, what might only occur in the lives of the descendants.
    Nobody should ever bear what you had to. God is forgiving, but not forgetful. All the evilness has to be atoned, voluntarily.
    Take care, Let God Shine in You!

  24. endardoo · January 19

    I am a devout non-believer so cannot share the religious interpretation of this story. But what I do share in is the revulsion and abhorrence towards this heinous perpetrator. The terror you must have felt I can not begin to fathom. Beautifully told.

  25. saynotoclowns · March 15

    I clicked like on this because, honestly, I’m too moved for words. Thank you for sharing this. God’s richest blessings!
    Vanessa.

  26. Pingback: Paths, Pasts & Politics (and one more “P”) | Gospel Isosceles

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