I managed to block the memory behind emotional barbed wire, but that left me with an irrational response to any and all declarations of love. Being afraid that my life would end before I reached my 16th birthday as I sprinted away from a couple of nice young men who turned out to be intent on violently raping the willing was nothing compared to hearing a guy say, "I love you."
Hiding under a cluster of shrubs with my heart racing in fear that any second one of those men calling out to me would hear my breathing and drag me out was nothing compared to hearing a guy play a love song and say that's how he felt about me.
Waiting in agony until those 2 "nice" men gave up and drove away and then waiting longer in case they only left long enough to lure me out and then running from hiding place to hiding place, stopping at each intersection to be sure they weren't cruising the streets looking for me was nothing compared to the pain of being lectured on proper behavior by my rapist who still loved me.
Those 3 words still have a power they were never meant to have.
If you use those words, use them responsibly. Don't ever use them to excuse rape even if you aren't the rapist. True love never drives a person to commit rape.
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