It started in grade school:
Boys who spoke with their gaze fixated upon my chest
instead of my face.
A boy, one year older than me, with his finger on top of my shirt,
traveling down my back
to unhook my bra,
as he stood behind me in choir.
He and his friends finding humor in my discomfort
as I tried to hide the outline of my budding breasts from prying eyes.
The strange man in an out-let mall parking lot,
when I was 12,
and I had chosen to stay in the car while my Mom went into a store to shop.
I had wanted it to stop.
I didn't even know what he was doing; but,
when he tried to get into the car,
I was terrified and knew things had gone too far.
Moments in time,
that were monumental minutes;
My first date,
at the age of 15,
(a group date, because there's safety in #'s);
paired with a high school football player,
he was in his sophomore year while I was just a freshman.
He forcibly touched me in ways I'd never been touched
while simultaneously kissing my neck;
shocked, I whispered, "No", I didn't like it that much.
I said, "No," "No," "No",
Each time a bit louder until he couldn't deny that he'd heard me
I confided to the other 2 girls who were with me,
the oldest of which who was ready to defend me;
in the moment
was the last thing I wanted.
Freshman year, a critical year in the hierarchy of things:
It would be fine to be known as a girl who wasn't "easy"
but a football player,
just like Hollywood's elite,
hold a power over you that's anything but sweet;
so, we made an unspoken pact within silence,
we didn't stand up
And, when that football player continued to call,
I made up excuses so I wouldn't have to talk to him at all.
after 2 years,
avoidance had worked.
Within those 2 years I didn't seek to date
or be dated
because I was scared;
I didn't want to find myself wrapped within powerful arms,
where there was no escape.
I couldn't break free,
I was at someone else's mercy;
staring into vacant eyes,
knowing there was only one thing on his mind:
The cat calls and whistles of strangers,
and the honking of horns to gain my attention;
men three times my age, (and some even older),
attempting to follow me home after I learned to drive;
and, a "Peeping Tom",
when I was 16 too,
who watched me use the restroom.
These incidences didn't end until I was married at 21;
and, even then,
not all noticed a ring on my finger or didn't have boundaries to care.
Not one of them stopped to listen
except to the darkness within them.
Depravity and Evil are real
and seek out men's (and women's) hearts to steal.
Their lives a wreck as they wreck others to satisfy hunger:
"It" must be fed.
It wasn't me they sought,
it was my body,
and in seeking my body they could've destroyed my soul
and they wouldn't. have. cared.
And, so I join the chorus of women
standing together to shout from the rooftops of my page to yours:
Never telling the stories
so filled with embarrassment and shame,
taking the blame;
What did I do?