The hardest part wasn't the sexual assault, the secrecy, the coercion or even the bruises. It wasn't the broken trust, the violation, the abuse or the manipulation. It was reading about Jane in the local news and knowing that I could have stopped him from hurting her. It was knowing that Jane, a complete innocent in this situation, was raped on the street by an individual I knew should not be on the streets. It was looking down at my arms and knowing exactly what her arms looked like with bruises and finger marks. It was putting my hand on my neck and knowing exactly what it felt like to choke, suffocate, stop breathing. It was knowing exactly what look he had in his eyes as he forced her life off course.
The pain doesn't stop, but my only consolation to myself is that I must make every effort to prevent that pain from befalling anyone...especially girls like Jane who should never have crossed paths with him. It was my inaction that led to her pain, and that is a burden I have to live with forever. Yet it is more so a burden because there is more than Jane. There is also Mary, Elizabeth, Jenny, Ashley, Nicole, and who knows how many girls whose lives were thrown off-course by him because I didn't take action.
It hurts to tell. But it hurts more not to tell.