I tried to kiss my girlfriend at the end of our second date, and something was wrong. She flinched. She moved. No, she backed away. Then later, she told me about how she had been attacked by a man two years ago and hadn’t been intimate with anyone since. So what now. She went through something I would never understand. I do not understand. How can you go inside her, feel that level of connection, and want her—knowing she was tied down against her will, and tortured for hours with foreign objects, starting and finishing with physical abuse. She will not say out-loud the source. But I now know she still carries scars on her skin and damage to her internal organs. With bravery I will never understand. The power of her story was second only to the power of her choosing to share that story with me. Since that day I have tried to make good on that trust and make her feel safe and enrich her life, however I am able. It does not come close to the insight she has given me. Now, my partner continues to show signs of the trauma almost every day- Yet it is not even close to the first thing that comes to mind when I think of her. She is one of the gentlest and most thoughtful woman I have been lucky enough to meet. Sometimes her teacher voice comes out, when I have misunderstood her directions or done something wrong—and honestly I don’t mind it in the slightest, because I truly consider this confidence an extension of her desire to resolve conflict through positive emotions. This is no damn small feat, considering what she’s been through. I sometimes think about the man that attacked her. I hate him. I do not know his name or what he looks like. And I am not sure what I’d do if I did. But ultimately it’s not for me to decide. She has forgiven him and so must I. She is kinder and more patient than this world deserves. I am proud to know her and proud to love her.