Ashes, an open letter to Mr. Aaron Meyer

Mr. Meyer,

You don’t know me, but I am the victim of Ssgt Keith Alan Snyder, my rapist, your client.

Oh I know you think you know me and I do understand and accept your unique position. Just doing your job right?

I get it and to be honest I’ve tried to separate you from your job because I’m pretty big on forgiveness, but this is proving to be really difficult because it’s my everything. Its my entire life that you are picking apart and you’ve gotten it all wrong.

My life has been rough, really really rough, but I managed, despite my childhood, despite being abused, assaulted and raped I was able to go on and make a living for myself. I put myself through school, I graduated at THE top of my class. I was it, the one with the perfect grades, the one getting all the academic accolades and I won’t lie it felt great. I was proud to hold that certification and I set out to begin work in the medical field helping others my entire life.

oh I know you tried to trivialize my accomplishment, a nice strategy but one you couldn’t take from me, because I really did do it. And another thing, my employers loved me…all of them and still do…I was a phenomenal employee. Did you know that I still have the VERY first letters of recommendation I received all those years ago…I believe the first one is dated 1997 or 1998…and I have every single letter of recommendation I have ever received after that, and just so you know….there are A LOT.

I listened as you described me as having a deep, deep psychosis that prevented me from distinguishing reality from fantasy. I wonder how I managed to have such a career in medicine if that were the case.

Now I have been very open about my battles with mental illness in hopes that I would help others drop the stigma. I don’t regret that decision, because I believe I am still doing some good but I never realized that this brutal honesty would be viewed as anything but, but here we are.

I was a teenage mother, both times and man do I love my children, more than anything on this planet and although I have always struggled with depression, since those early years of being used as a receptacle I have done the very best that I could for them. I have failed them at times, I have failed as a parent at times, but I have had very open and honest dialogue with my kids. They know what’s going on and it has been so hard to remain a parent and remain this…but damn I am trying. My kids are Josh and Laura and they are amazing, smart, funny, ambitious and kind. I am most proud of how kind they are and I wish I had been the mother they deserved.

Your client raped me, we both know that. He is a predator and I imagine that you won’t be done defending him. Even when this case passes, I imagine he’ll keep you on retainer. I know I would.

You have definitely out performed the prosecution, they themselves admitted that to me. Money well spent. I have learned from this process that justice is absolutely reserved for those who could afford it.

You forced me to relive one of the most painful, traumatic experiences of my life with a callousness that I imagine only money can buy. I was raped when I ran away and it was worse than I ever described. What has been the hardest thing for me to realize in this case was that there was another victim back then, another runaway that I thought I had protected this whole time…my whole life I thought I saved her that fate and to find out reading that report that it happened to her too… was almost too much to bear.

The guilt I have over the fact that she was harmed and that I recanted my story after being threatened…I can tell you who the driver of the car was when one of my rapists, Marcel, threatened me outside of a subway shop on the corner of Royal Palm Beach blvd and Okeechobee Blvd, in 1987.

After raping me, Marcel reached his hands down between my legs and took the blood that was there and smeared it in my mouth and said “I knew you were a virgin because you got blood on my BVD’s” To this day I can smell and taste the bitter metallic of my own blood being forced into my mouth. That’s real…that’s as real as a memory can get.

Not only was I not a virgin, courtesy of my step father but I didn’t learn what BVD’s were until I was in my 20’s(it’s a brand of underwear)…all memories that I kept carefully stored away so that they couldn’t hurt me…all memories you forced me to confront while confronting THIS rapist.

I didn’t turn to drugs. I didn’t turn to alcohol. I turned the pain inwards onto myself and I harmed myself by severe dieting, restrictions, abusing laxatives and at times ephedra when I could get it, exercising until I collapsed, waking up in the middle of the night to run around my father’s property unnoticed, doing situps in the shower, trying to make myself as small and non-existent as possible, trying to die the slowest, most painful death I thought I deserved.

When my father finally noticed enough of me wasting away, he got help. You misconstrued completely the fact that I had a boyfriend at the time, he was an incidental in that story. He and I had a normal teenage relationship. There was no drama surrounding him except ME having an eating disorder. But boy did you paint it otherwise. I know, I know, it’s your job. Good money eh?

After I survived all that I went on to have a few pretty remarkable years, including homelessness but I put myself through school and even managed in my early 20’s to buy my very first home. I was so proud. I had a home for my kids and it was mine, all mine.

My life was by all accounts pretty normal. I was married to a wonderful man, still is a wonderful man. We’re still friends and although he is not my children’s biological father, he has been, and continues to be.

I listened in court as you attempted to say that this is a pattern of behavior for me…you brought up Eric and to be honest with you, I had hoped that he had moved on from wanting to hurt me. He’s married now, he’s moved on with his life, or so I thought. So the only man you could get to say anything negative about me was the man who hit me with his truck while drunk, on a suspended license, uninsured and was held responsible in court, a man with prior assault & battery on his record, a man with domestic violence on his record. That’s who you got to say bad things about me??…it’s comical, truly.

I imagine that would have been a case you would have taken on my behalf, wish I had your number back then. Maybe you can work the wrongful death suit I know is coming? I’ll pass along your info so my family has it.

I did many things I regretted in my relationship with Keith, mainly not exiting with grace and dignity. I did things that were beneath me when I found out that he had been cheating since the day we met. When I found out he was using the same sex toys on me that he used on other women, I lost it. My anger was palpable, but I eventually at his insistence forgave him, because it is in my nature to do so. This is probably the most dangerous result of a lifetime of abuse. I forgive everything. I forgive everyone. I don’t know how to hold the anger that would likely protect me from much of the heartache I have endured.

And perhaps the hardest thing for me to come to terms with is how much I loved that man. I believed in him. I believed him when he told me he loved me. I believed him when he told me I was the best thing to happen to him. I believed in the connection he would push and confirm and use against me when it suited him. I loved him. I loved him more than I have ever loved another human being, besides my own children.

I wanted to see him through his grief. I wanted to be everything HE SAID I was to him. He was everything to me. I was so excited to meet someone so funny, so clever, so witty and charming and I was excited, excited beyond belief to have someone to not only share the day to day mundane aspects of relationships with, I was excited to GROW with him, to evolve. When we shared a sexuality, well that was the icing on the cake. What that meant to me was obviously very different than what it meant to him. For me it was very real, for him I was one of a dozen…THAT has been the hardest thing to reconcile even now…you think it would be the rape, but I have come to the understanding that he never respected my consent, because I never consented to being cheated on, my health put at risk, I didn’t consent to the lies, to the betrayal, to the devastation that he leaves in his wake, so a rape is just an extension of his complete lack of regard for me as a human being.

For the longest time I held out hope that he would actually take some responsibility for his actions. I think I would have been okay with that. I think if he had admitted what he knows he did, I could have moved past it. But he didn’t. So here we are.

I may be a horrible person, I honestly don’t know anymore…but I know I am not the things you say I am. Keith raped me that night, he did and more than ANYONE I wish that weren’t true.

This pain, despite therapy, despite groups, despite medication, despite yoga, despite meditation and art therapy, despite all of the efforts I have made to get help and survive this latest assault on my life, it isn’t working. Nothing is working, but I suppose you planned for that too. And I commend you. I do. You have done one hell of a job. You should be so proud.

So I wanted to say thank you for ending this.

 

Thank you Mr. Meyer for a job well done.

 

 

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