It was dark that first time. It was around 9pm. We were watching a movie and he was bored. I was not. I liked the movie. He was coercive and persuasive. He was using that wimpery voice which makes my stomach curdle. The one he used recently to tell me he knew I still wanted him. The one that makes it very hard for my palms not to leap up on their own accord and smash his nose in.
I was pinned. I was trapped. I kicked. I wriggled. I screamed. I bit. I fought. He laughed. He thought I was joking. He thought I was playing hard to get. I swore I wasn’t. I cried. He laughed harder. And then it was over.
Then it was morning. I awoke to find that same boy I’d fought with the night before pushing himself where he wasn’t wanted again. There was no protection -emotional or physical- from the fight I was now finding myself in. It wasn’t as violent as my first time. There was no pinning or screaming, simply a silent plea as the “no” which had clearly not been loud enough the night before struggled to wrestle its way past my lips. But there was no air. There was no consciousness. Was I dreaming still?
He would tell you that I was. He would tell you that I have unresolved issues. He would make out that I was crazy, insane, lying, over-reacting, over-emotional. He would tell you I should be over it by now.
The first person I told didn’t believe me. He was bigger than me, in voice, position and posture. She believed him. I believed him. I believed them both until the flashbacks gave me nightmares, until the sight of a new boy made my legs quiver and bile rise up the back of my throat.
I’m asked why I didn’t report it. Would you? He was my friend. I knew his parents. I knew his goals. I knew his fears. Rape is a strong word. We judge the girls who bleat it: clearly they changed their minds last minute; clearly they wore the wrong clothing; she knew what she was getting into; if a boy is sleeping in your bed he has the right to do whatever he pleases with you. Besides, ruining his life with stigma would not give me mine back.
I was wearing long sleeved, long legged flannel pajamas. I was wearing an oversized tshirt with baggy sweats. I had on no makeup. My hair was scruffed in tendrils. I was rounded from overgorging on brownies after dinner. My face was shiny with sleep. Mascara dripped from my face in ravines. My lips were bitten dry. I was not human, not anymore.
This happened years ago, but it feels like it happened last night. It feels like it happened this morning. Someone tell me when it’s going to leave. Someone tell me when I get “me” back. When will sex sound like fun again? When will I stop second guessing all my other male friends? When will I stop considering sleeping in tights?
You ask why I didn’t speak out then. You ask why I didn’t tell you when you could have done something about it. I lost my voice that first night, screaming into the silence that did not protect me. I lost my voice that morning when I awoke in disbelief. I lost my voice when I was told I was wrong; that it was not rape; that I should not complain that some boy found me attractive enough to want to have sex with me; that I should not have shared my bed in the first place; that I should have kicked him out earlier.
I’m only just finding my voice now.