TW: sexual violence
“I don’t talk about it much.” It’s my phrase, my shield, my deflection. I say it happened to me, but I don’t talk about it much, that it’s not about that night, but who I’ve become after. They don’t know it’s because I can’t talk about it, that if I say it out loud it becomes real, that the details exist in someone else’s mine and not just my own. I keep hidden inside of me the flash of the bartender I was trying to ask for help but my body couldn’t make the words because it was lethargic and incapacitated who looked at me and said, “I’m sorry she can’t be here like this.” Her eyes are so clear to me when I go to sleep at night – she’s blonde, older, drying a glass. My heart starts racing when I try to understand how I could see her so clearly, knew what I wanted to say, and yet my body was too broken to cry out for help. I wonder where she is, if she knew, if she remembers my face. I see hers every time I close my eyes.
In my phone, there’s his name and phone number that he put into my phone that night. I know it’s there, but I’ve never looked. I have still not decided whether or not to find it to delete it. If I go in to delete it, I have to acknowledge it’s actually there, that it happened, that it wasn’t a bad dream I could ignore. It sits there in my phone, a name I don’t want to know, that no one knows, weighing on me. My phone is a symbol for my body – it is a fluttering machine filled with my best memories and life and love, but deep inside lies too my darkest pain.
I think about how I’m afraid to be left alone because I punish myself that if I wasn’t left alone, it would have never happened to me, that someone would have been there to save me.
I don’t say these things. I’ve never said these things. I speak about it like fact, like I tally myself off as a static because if I tell my story I have to acknowledge the pain. I fear it I open it, it will swallow me alive and I don’t know if I will ever heal. I try to be strong, to be an open voice, but I am still afraid to speak, not because I am afraid of what the world outside will say, but I’m afraid of what’s inside of me. They ask, and deep inside my insides shake and my heart drops, but I say quickly, holding my voice as steady as I can, “Yes, I’ve been raped, but, honestly, I don’t talk about it much.”
Post Date: August 1, 2018