Via the Good Men Project:
Editor’s note: We want to open this article with a warning: we are reprinting, in full, the suicide note left by a young man named Trey Malone, who killed himself when he was unable to cope any longer with the sexual assault he had suffered as a student at Amherst College. To say it might be triggering for those sensitive to issues of suicide and sexual assault is an understatement.
Trey’s family support the publication of his final words. They have provided the text of the note to us, and we are publishing it with their approval. More importantly, we are publishing it because it was written to educate. In his last words, Trey speaks of important issues that go unexamined, important voices that go unheard. He writes to a society that, in the end, couldn’t help him enough. He wanted the things he was saying to be heard, and so, in accordance with that wish, we are publishing his words.
I suppose, in a lot of ways, this was how it was meant to end. The water tried to take me once and I’m drawn back to this day. Especially on a day like today.
There is a certain sense of irony involved in choosing to end my life in the one thing that’s always pushing forward. Even in this awful polluted bay, the water licks the seaweed and barnacle-covered pieces of rock. There’s some tortured metaphor in everything isn’t there?
When I was in elementary school, I often wondered if I’d get to be like Dad. I spent hours imagining my own reconstructed version of those stories. Initially, the base of these dreams was King Arthur. Endeared by months spent on that bed reading back and forth with mom, then it turned to Zelda, a black and white Gameboy game. The landmarks of St. Maarten all became transplants from that 2” by 2” screen. By the end of 2nd grade, however, it became your stories dad. All those years reading and imagining developed into that one strong fanciful King Arthur of New York. There is a special level of humility to all those tales. The triumphs and failings of a damaged man, certainly no less broken than the rest of us, but human, none the less.
My dreams and hopes have shifted since then, but that base has always been there. King Malone in the Volvo P1800 (with the broken headlights). These days, I’ve become more tired of remembering the past and wondering about the future. I’ve slowly watched that future collapse in on itself whether by my own actions or those of others and now I’m simply tired. My future is rubble and while below that rubble, there is still a foundation, my arms are weak and my tools are broken. My job is gone, relationships strained, and mugshot posted. Entropy is a funny thing I suppose. A house of stone may take a millennia to collapse, but it will collapse. Unfortunately, it would appear the imaginary building blocks of my future were far less sturdy.
Even absent that natural collapse, the sexual assault was too much. There was no adequate form of preparation available for that and no repair afterwards. What began as an earnest effort to help on the part of Amherst, became an emotionless hand washing. In those places I should’ve received help, I saw none. I suppose there are many possible reasons for this. But in the end, I’m still here and so too is that night. I hold no ill will nor do I place an iota of blame upon my family. I blame a society that remains unwilling to address sexual assault and rape. One that pays some object form of lip service to the idea of sexual crimes while working its hardest to marginalize its victims. One where the first question a college president can pose to me, regarding my own assault is, “Have you handled your drinking problem?”
My story is far from exceptional in this regard. Every two minutes there is another victim. 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. 1 in every 6 woman in the US has been a victim of rape and 1 in 33 men. Despite this, every awful myth about rape persists. Society will continue to blame women for the clothes they wear (despite hard evidence showing no link) and continue to say, “You shouldn’t have been there” when 73% of rapes are committed by non strangers and more than 50% take place within one mile of the victims home. (4 in 10 take place at their home) Sexual crime is viewed as inconsequential unless the fabled “dark alley with a gun” assault occurs and even then, women face the eternal, “why were you there? What were you wearing?” badgering.
To hear men and women speak of our culture as some Feminazi PC nightmare is embarrassing. To act as though we are not to be held accountable for our words and language is even worse. Free speech has never nor will it ever mean immunity from criticism. Words and languages have meaning. If you don’t think what you say or how you phrase it matters, look up Frank Luntz. The next time you carelessly use the N-word or any other derogatory term, the next time you call some man a bitch or a pussy, try to think about the repercussions of casual slurs. If you’re angry about political correctness or whatever other worthless phrase you feel is necessary, ask yourself why you feel not only entitled to the usage of slurs but compelled to. Read some real freaking feminist literature and stop listening to Rush Limbaugh too. “Feminism is for Everybody” by bell hooks is a good start.
Sorry I ranted a bit, but please have someone read the last two paragraphs to whomever comes to say goodbye. I love all of you and I know this will hurt you more than anything else I could have done, but I’m tired and the water looks beautiful. Pithy a statement as it may be, “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem” is certainly accurate. I’d take my own advice, but I stopped listening nine months and six days ago.