How am I supposed to feel when a perpetrator of sexual violence passes away? He raped someone very close to me when she was very young. I want to hug her and cry with her. I want to assure us that whatever we might be feeling right now is perfectly valid. That our feelings are ours, not his. And I feel like I want to punch something really hard right now. I’m not a physical person at all, and I’m not at all planning on acting on these feelings, but I want to punch and rip and tear. He meant something to my elders before they knew what he did. I want to hold them while we scream with rage together. I want to feel numb. I just want to sleep.

And I’m so angry. I want to revisit the only time I remember meeting him. I was in my late 20s visiting India, and he came up to me with arms stretched for a hug, and an expression on his face like “you’ve come home, child.” The best I could come up with in that moment was to shake my head and shake my hands as I stepped back and away from him, letting the people I was with huddle around me to protect me from whatever it was I didn’t want. I want to revisit that moment and kick him really hard in the nuts.

How the fuck am I supposed to feel right now? I’m so sad. I’m so angry. I’m still so confused. I’m a little relieved, and guilty for feeling relieved. I’m most angry that he gets to leave this world without my friend having closure. Without taking any responsibility whatsoever for what he did. That makes my furious.

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