Tarah

This piece.It may not seem originalBut             Do not ascribe that to my lack of creativity             Or free thought It is attributable only to the fact That I am not the only woman to live through this             Far from it Blame this lack of originality On our society And its teachings And its lack of unlearning             The need for control

I am merely one in four             On college campuses             That has been                         raped             Can that even be considered             A minority group             In our society anymore             Can that even be             Ignored? Pause. Fixate. Like I did.             I had no choice but to.             I had no choice in any of this. On that word. rape.             A defining factor of yourself             overpowering             Shoved onto you             Penetrating your self-perception                         Lowering it             A black mark             Stigmatizing.             Unwanted and unasked for             Forced onto you by another             And their selfish desires or lack of self control             Somehow it now defines you             Ask yourself.. How fair.             where is our justice.             Being burdened with this word             Let alone the memory.

Rape.             Breathe it in             Exhale deeply through it.             Center it within your body and feel it’s presence                         Weight on mind                         Heavy on heart.             Feel the disgust spreading through your extremities                         This word is somehow an ugly composition of lines                         Or is it tainted with the meaning.             Focus it until you corse with the colors that I did             Mainly the darkness of self-loathing             I want you to feel what that word is             To one in four women on college campuses

RAPE.             Do not look away.                         stare at it             It is an ugly word             Only because it is the one of the most despicable acts             One human being can use to inflict on another             While most can barely read the word             Without shuddering             Keep reading             Keep looking back at it             Just to make sure its real                         It is.             I wrote it there             So you couldn't ignore it.             Deal with it for the 3 moments it takes to read this.             As I live with the memory of it             For my entire life.             Do not shy from the connotation that bites painfully into you                         You want to                                     don’t you?             To shelter yourself             To pretend it does not exist                         It doesn’t happen                         Not to me                         Not to my girl friends                         No man I surround myself would do that to                         ME.

            My body- that I respect and honor             My soul’s sacred temple             Whose walls could never be graffitied             Defiled             by such a perverse act.                         It just doesn’t happen to me                         It doesn’t happen to anyone Now repeat that A million times to yourself And your friends And your colleagues Then look up the statistics Then please contact me                         Write to me                         Talk to me                                     hell                         Yell at me Did ignorance change the prevalence of it? Did ignoring             the vile truth stop it from happening To another woman Like me.

Sexual assault. Unwanted physical contact. Overpowering Control             over another’s body. Being the one out of control...             Powerless is not a word descriptive enough to tell you             What I felt that morning It was the first day of a new year.             that was the first thought I had upon waking.                         The first day of a year of days yet to be filled.                         hopeful and fresh.             Still innocent             Still naive to the retrospective happenings             That happened right where I was laying as these thoughts came to me. I woke up in your bed. Headache. Thirsty             Im hungover.             Remarkably so. Tired after a full night's sleep?             I had thought I had slept in your bed alone.             Somewhat restfully             Residual drag could be blamed on my drunken stupor the night before. Confused.             How did I get here?             Last thing I remember was..                         Shit.             Whats the last thing I can remember?             Ball dropping in times square Countdown… palpable pulsing excitement Screaming 3.. 2..1.. Happy new year! Blackout             that following time period is a sensory deprivation chamber                         One I have been in before                         One I have come safely out of                         In the morning                         After empty sleep                         Later laughing with friends                         Over silly things that I did                                     Apparently                         I could not remember                         But thats what friends are for.                         To keep you safe                         To remind you of your late night                                     Shenanigans                                     Innocent in their nature Not remembering.             I went down creaky stairs to find you.             To find out what laughable things I had done.             Still thinking             I had spent new years eve             Out. enjoying time with my friends.             Friend. I was still blind. So you were still this to me. I find you. I sense…… Nothing wrong I return to your room. To clothe my body. In something of mine thats appropriate. For the first day of the new year. And then. I see it. All too suddenly it is laid before me. Shoved into my view. It has been called the glass slipper of our generation             And it is all the evidence I need. Repulsive. Mind suddenly racing. Thoughts             slurred together, as if the alcohol I’d ingested the night before had suddenly             come back. And ruined my ability to think clearly. Any contents it held had long ago leaked onto the wood of your bedroom like a

Flood.             It drowns me             Realization             But no memory             Of the previous nights happenings             Your transgressions             See I thought we had an understanding             Maybe you were hopeful, we had made out a few times but 2 weeks prior I explicitly stated We are just friends             Sorry if this disappoints you I just don’t feel that way for             You.             Nothing personal.             Is that not my right?             To refuse

I have to know Because it couldn't have happened             There is no way in hell.             This really does not happen to people             At least it doesn’t happen to me..             But in a few questions             you confirm my worst fear             And I resist throwing up on your bedroom floor.

Blame             Has to be given to someone             What other target             But Myself.             I was the one who got me drunk             So drunk I fell down at the party             So drunk you had to carry me home             Like the good friend I thought you were             You laid me in your bed.             And then apparently laid down beside me             And proceeded to have sex with me. You Decided             To then believe my drunken agreement that             Yes             I want it             Give it to me. But legally             My drunken consent Its no consent at all             How can you justify that it was agreed upon by us both             When you remember ever ongoing             And I was told of it by the used condom still laying on you floor Would you even had told me if I hand’t asked? What gave you the idea             That you could get away with this             it was okay             I was clear thinking enough to give you permission                         Even tho you carried me home             my drunken state had no effect on my ability to consent                         Even though I couldn't even stand at the party             That I wanted it even though I had told you I had no interest             When I was sober Well tell me Which bullshit excuse to validate your actions was it?

At least You gave me $40 To pay for a pill Composed of chemicals Which I do not agree with putting into my body Under normal circumstances But had to             Because I cannot have a child now So you paid me off             I felt used             Cheap             Even more worthless, as if this money was to be a compensation, a fix-it, an eraser of what happened, of what you’ve burdened me with.                         As if a fertilized egg was the only burden. I was not, in that moment Even worth that $40. But it was my fault             right Because I got drunk             right And trusted him             Right Sitting in my car, Repulsed to still be next to you But hiding it , Because I would not be unkind to you When this was my fault.

One in four women May have believed At some point afterwards That they asked for it In the way they dressed, in the way they acted, in the way they flirted Because thats what you are taught. I want you to scream NO. Whisper it at first. Then louder. Then scream it at the top of your fucking lungs             And put some heart into it. Because it is time that every single person             Not just one in four women             Not just women unlearn this You did not ask to be raped The only blame to attribute is to whomever defiled your sacred temple             Without your permission. One in four is no longer a minority. One hundred percent of this             Can no longer be ignored. And do not let that word distract you.             Minority It is not how I perceive this             It is no minor event             No part of this is minor One in four is too many One is too many So read it again RAPE As many times as necessary To see how ugly it is And please I pray that you You won’t do it Because every woman Deserves to wake up To a fresh day Or a new year’s first morning Without having to live every day on With the memory that she has been raped.