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Who Gave You Permission?

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

Who gave you permission? Permission to touch me when I could barely stand on my own two feet. When I could barely string a sentence together? When I couldn't even keep my eyes open for longer than a couple of seconds. It wasn't me, you told yourself it was okay.


What you didn't realize is that two months later, I would find out I was carrying the product of that night. You also probably didn't realize how much damage you did to me. Even I didn't realize how much damage you had done until long after you ran out the back door like the coward you are. You even left your phone behind.


Were you afraid that I would report it? Or were you confident I wouldn't remember what you did to me? I may have been drunker than I ever have been, but every painful moment of that night has visited me in my nightmares since.


I didn't report it. I didn't want to ever have to see your disgusting face again. But hey, we live in a small city so it was bound to happen at some point, right? I saw you, at work once. I don't know if you saw me, but I saw you. My heart dropped down into my stomach, and my fight-or-flight response was sounding the alarms. I ran. I ran all the way home. I don't feel safe in many places anymore, fearing I may see you again, and the thought of that night will come flooding back into my brain.


It's funny how these things work. You should be paying legal fees. But instead, I am paying for therapy. I am paying for medications. I am paying for the damage you caused with my LIFE. I am paying for anything and everything to drown the memories of that night.


I used to love Christmas, but this year was different. This year was an anniversary. Not one to be celebrated, but dreaded. My favorite wine now tastes like acid on the tip of my tongue. Not a day goes by that I don't think about it. There are now places I can't go because I went there with you, thinking you actually liked me, but you only wanted one thing. How silly of me.


There were nights I just couldn't deal with the flashbacks. So much so, that I tried to end my life. Six times.


I have suffered more than you ever will because I chose to stay silent. I refuse to speak your name, even to my closest friends. You don't deserve to be recognized in any circumstance. I hope you get what's coming to you, but I also hope you heal from whatever made you think this was okay. That doesn't mean I forgive you, nor will I ever forget.


I bet you thought you broke me, but that couldn't be further from the truth. I am stronger now than I ever was before because I survived that night. I survived what you did to me. I consider myself lucky because there are others who are not so fortunate. I am not what happened to me, I am only what I choose to do now, and I am choosing to heal.


Niamh Sullivan



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