blood-moon photo

When They Ask What I Was Wearing

Trigger warning: sexual assault

Did my tank top and jean shorts look like an invitation?

Did my muffled cries somehow sound like permission?

When I drink too much, sometimes I talk in my sleep. Did I accidentally say yes?

Or were you focused more on what you wanted from me than getting my consent?

You are the reason I jump at high fives, the reason I stop breathing when someone puts their arm around me.

You are the reason I don’t say my prayers before I go to sleep, because the last time that I prayed that If I shall die before I wake, Lord knows it was much more than my soul that you took.

I never wanted to tell my story; I never wanted pity or half-hearted sorrys.

It has been months and I still don’t remember most of that night. But I remember you begging me not to tell anyone what you did. I remember walking back inside with my makeup all over my face, begging my friends to leave with me. I remember your faces, I remember your names, I remember the screams and the fighting, I remember the bruises and the blood. I remember being pulled from a totaled car on the side of a highway, trying to escape you, just wanting to go home and shower. Escaping what happened to my friends and I that night.

For six damn months, I have kept this buried. I’ve been too afraid to tell anyone, too scared to talk about it even with my friends who were there. We pretend that night didn’t happen, like maybe if we don’t talk about it, it’s almost as if it never happened. I haven’t been ready to tell my side of the story because I don’t think I could handle it when they ask: What were you wearing? How much did you have to drink?