This is My Story

A Letter to my Perpetrator

To: Perpetrator

I have been wanting to do this for a while now. So, I will start by reminding you who I was before you shattered my life.

My name is Jennifer Rodriguez-Nieves. I am a Puerto Rican woman, born and raised in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. My parents, Luis and Carmen, along with my siblings, Nashalie and Elian, shaped the woman that I was. Who was that woman? That woman was full of life and happiness, and like every woman in this planet, she was full of beauty, inside and out. Now, I am not saying she was perfect, far from it, but she was a woman with goals and dreams, joy and laughter, and full of hope. What happened to her? Well, the real question is what you did to her? You killed her.

Do you remember the first time we met?

It was in a church retreat in August of 2017. You appeared to be shy and nice. You appeared to be a ‘normal’ young adult. After the retreat, most of the people that participated decided to join the church group. I was so excited. Finally, after 3+ years I felt I could belong to a community of believers. Armando felt the same way. Everything seemed perfect. I mean, what could go wrong in a church environment filled with faith-driven people? Nothing, I thought. I know, very naïve of me.

By December of 2017, I was friends with the people that belonged to the group. Armando and I would go out to eat after church gatherings – with you and the group. As the months passed the group got to know each other more, and it seemed like everything was going into the right direction. I had friends, a community I ‘belonged’ to, and was surrounding myself with Godly people.

I just can’t believe that back then you were one of those friends.

Like many others in the group, I shared personal details about my life; after all, we all ‘trusted’ each other. One of the things I decided to share was my health status. For the first time in my life I shared my mental health illnesses. I shared my depression and anxiety. To my surprise, everyone responded with words of encouragement! I know you remember this because you were one of them. However, unlike others, you took a special type of interest. You decided that, in that particular time, you also wanted to share your ‘mental illnesses’. Nonetheless, you made sure to share that with me and Armando, no one else. Regardless of how weird that moment was, I made sure to show the same support you showed. That day I gave you my complete trust. And guess what? I regret it. I wish I could undo it.

We became the best of friends.

I mean, that’s what you wanted me to believe, right? Well, you achieved it. I trusted you. Do you remember when everything changed? I do remember. I remember everything.

My life changed on April 1st of 2018 at 9 am. You wanted to talk to me about “your feelings for me”. You came to my house and made sure to tell me that you couldn’t stop yourself from wanting me, and mentioned that you knew there was something evil in you that wouldn’t let you stay away from me. I was confused, overwhelmed and frightened. What happened? You knew that just a week before, Armando and I got married through the judge. And even though our cultures don’t believe in marriage unless it’s through the church, you knew that, in a two months and half, Armando and I were going to be celebrating our church-wedding. I was confused then. Today, I know that our wedding was the main trigger for your “sudden erratic behavior”.

You used everything I once shared with you against me.

You manipulated my mental illness, the love I have for Armando, and discovered that the only way to break me was through the things I loved. I hate you for what you did. You started breaking me by staining me and taking what it didn’t belonged to you, my body. You have no idea how much I hate you for THIS, because you didn’t just stained my body but also my soul. Your evil hands burned my dignity and all you left me with was shame and guilt. I hate you. You knew that, regardless of how broken you left me, that was not going to be enough for you to “have me”. Should I remind you of what you did?

I am pretty sure you remember. You told EVERYONE about what happened. You told EVERYONE about my body and how I was a whore. To my disappointment, EVERYONE – including my “friends” from church, believed you. Instead of questioning your behavior, females gossiped and males asked you to describe my body in the most disgusting way. This is how you continue to break me. You made sure to isolate me from everyone. That worked to you advantage. I no longer had friends and I was so ashamed that I couldn’t let Armando, nor my family know what was happening. I mean, who was going to believe me anyways? The gossips were everywhere.

The very next day, I was Gone.

You took me to your family’s “houses”, trailers. What a horrible place. I was isolated from civilization, surrounded by your family and I had NO CLUE where I was. You took me inside. The horrible smells that came out of that place made me vomit. There was dog pee in every corner, the entire place was falling apart, and there were things everywhere. Only two rooms and a bathroom were available. And the bathroom was shared with your dad. What the **** was that place? I can’t even describe it. All I can say is that your “house” was dark and evil. There is where my nightmares began.

From that point forward I only remember bits and pieces. I don’t know why I can’t remember everything that happened during my time in that place. My best guess? I think my brain is blocking those memories. To be honest, I am glad I can’t remember everything.

What I remember is enough to haunt me for the rest of my life.

I remember you using my body multiple times a day, every single day. I remember the drugs and how I would have seizures or complete blackouts. Do you remember the first time you hit me? I do. You slapped me. Do you remember calling me a whore? I do. Also, I remember how you wanted to humiliate me even more by forcing me to take off my clothes in public so that other men could see how ‘lucky’ you were for stealing me away. Do you remember how sick I got. I was in extreme pain and couldn’t pee because I had blood clots in my bladder. I remember how you didn’t care about it. After all, I was nothing more than a whore and a ticket to citizenship, right? Do you want to hear more?

Despite your efforts to break me, I was still standing.

Somehow, I still had hope. But you noticed. So, what you did next? Take the last thing I had left, my family. The gossips made their way to my parents and siblings. My parents were confused, but their anger overcame their confusion. How could Jennifer had done this to Armando? – they said. This is not what we taught her. – they continued. My heart was finally broken when you forced me to tell them that I did all those things voluntarily. To make things worse, you took my I.D. to make sure I couldn’t travel to my family. And that was the time you realized that you had gone a little too far with your games. Your initial plan was getting me pregnant so that you could have full control over me.

But that didn’t work, did it? So, your next plan was to run and disappear. But GOD, the One that never left my side, prevented it from happening.

On May 12, 2018, I was rescued by Armando.

I had just passed a serious seizure. I almost died! My lungs stopped breathing and my heart started to skip beats. My body was shaking non-stop, and I couldn’t walk, talk or move. I thought my life was over, and to be honest, I wanted it to be over. During those six-weeks of emotional and physical abuse, I tried to end my life. Several times I tried, but somehow, it didn’t worked, or I didn’t had the courage to do it. This time was no different. You believed that I was going to die too, but you didn’t care. You left me to suffer, just like the many times you did before, but God was with me and He lifted me up, gave me energy to find my phone and share my location with Armando. God saved me through my husband.

Five hours later, Armando found me. He found me in another state. I remember how manic you went. You found me at the hospital later that day. I had just gotten admitted. Knowing that I was going to say everything that you had put me through, you came to my room and told me, “I am obsessed with you and I have been obsessed with you since the day I met you. I studied you and I know I am the right person for you. Don’t you dare leave me because I will come for you. I will kidnap you… but not now; I will kidnap you a year or five years from now. Just know that I will come”. Those were your last words to me, and they are the one thing that I remember clearly, word by word.

After that day, you disappeared and the Jennifer you knew, died.

The aftermath of what you did to me was almost impossible to fix.

I developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I cried everyday for months. Also, I developed extreme fear. I left my house, studies and the life I had built in the states, and went back home, to my family. I literally went from the hospital to the airport. How I managed to travel? This is were I smile back at you and tell you, “I had a second I.D.”.

You want to know what else you did to me? Nothing else. I didn’t let you control my life no more. I am married. Yes, that’s right… Armando and I had our church-wedding and we are extremely happy. He loves me, regardless of your destruction. I have a team of doctors that take care of me, I took self-defense classes, went back to school and changed my entire life. I am not that Jennifer anymore, I am different. Although I still hurt and live with the pain that was caused by your evilness, I am getting stronger by the day. Which is why I am writing you this letter.

I don’t fear you no more.

I would love for people to know your name, but I rather keep it to myself for now. You know how you said that you will come for me? It will be the other way around. Everyone will know your name, the names of every family member that encouraged you to do this, and every single detail of what you did to me. I know that justice will find you. Honestly, I hate you and wish you dead. I wish you could suffer as much as I suffered. You are disgusting and I hate myself for falling into your trap. However, I am letting go of that hate and anger. I do not wish to spend another minute of my life thinking about you and what happened to me in that place.

I am letting God in my heart and welcome His peace. You didn’t win and you never will. Now, my life is with God, Armando and my family. All I have left to say is, “Good-Bye”. I pray I never see you again.

Jennifer-

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