Cover Photo: photo y Ted Winder/flickr
photo y Ted Winder/flickr

Spectator: My Family, My Rapist, and Mourning Online

“I keep looking for that final update, confirmation that he is gone.”

One of the men who raped me, W., is dying from cancer, and I’m watching it happen via Facebook. The man who raped me is married to my aunt and is the father of my cousin, who was, at one time, my closest friend in a family in which friends and love were rare. He is not the only man who raped me, but he is the only one who raped me and refused to leave because he was stitched into my life like an ugly scar from a wound healed wrong.

hello, yes, how are you, fine, guess who died

At chemo with this guy! He’s so strong! He’s a fighter! God will always make a way! It’s not over until God says it’s over!

My brother once called me a hard person. I think he meant that I am a person who does not forgive. This is true. I find it difficult to forgive people who have done harm to me. I am this way out of necessity, because if I do not remember the harm done to me, then no one will, and the boy that I was will have no one to look out for him. If I do not remember and do not hold people accountable for that boy’s pain, then no one will remember it, and no one will remember that it was not acceptable for him to be treated that way. If I forgive all of the things done to me, done to the boy that I was, then I will betray everything I promised that boy when we endured those things. The only way through all of it was to promise that I would remember it and that at some point, I would make it known what happened there.

Brandon Taylor is a Ph.D. candidate in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He’s also currently the assistant editor of Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading. He’s been both a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and a Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction.