As people try to understand what’s happening in our world they ask me, “What do you remember?”
I was fifteen. I can tell you what the wallpaper in the room looked like. What my blood on the bed looked like. I don’t know off the top of my head the day or time of year. Although if I think about it, just enough about it, I know I’m 15-years-old. It must be late summer or September because I started dating Joe in October. So that makes it the summer after 9th Grade.
I remember having no choice. My friend was downstairs. His friends were playing pool with her while he raped me. He didn’t hit me or threaten me verbally that I can recall, I just couldn’t move. That’s how it feels, to try to remember, being held in place. I can’t remember more details, I prefer not to.
I don’t know his name, I think he had dark hair. I thought wearing my sweatshirt with the shoulders exposed made him think I was older. I blamed myself. I never told anyone. Wait no, I told my mom 13 years after the fact.
It took years of therapy for me to even understand I had been raped. At twenty-eight sitting in my therapists office I didn’t believe her. Surely, I had done something. She helped me unravel the terrible truth that still sticks in my consciousness. It wasn’t my fault. Rape doesn’t look one way. It looks like violence. It steals. It’s a secret.
Then there’s that other incident I wrote about. When I was thrown on the table and dry humped at work. I have witnesses who are too afraid to back me publicly because what it means for them. They are white men. The ones many are raging against.
They are afraid.
We all are afraid.
I also believe in due process. I think wars need to stop being waged on-line in mass mobs and 24 hour news cycles. We need faith in a system. We need to vote. We need to teach our daughters and our sons to value life. We need to stop hating and start hearing. Start in your community. Make changes there. Be kind to someone today, and I believe that will ripple into the world.
I’m sending her support and love. I’m sending the world kindness because I believe the only way to beat the hate permeating the world is to kill it with kindness, compassion, humility, and love.