I was six.
Just finished my first year of prep. Recovering from pneumonia. My grandmother had just passed away. From the photos, it appears I was wearing blue shorts that reached my knees and a black t-shirt. I’m wearing my favourite sandals – I wear them in every picture. I remember never wanting to take them off. I remember him taking them off me. I cried because I loved them. I cried because I didn’t understand. But I was okay, he was reassuring me. This is what happens when someone loves you and when you’ve been good. I was a good girl. I only got in trouble once in prep for throwing out my banana at lunch once because I wanted my icy pole. But apart from that, I was good. So that’s why this was happening. It’s too hot to wear clothes. The air conditioner is on and making a lot of noise. But it’s still hot. That’s why we have to take our clothes off you see. He’s going to make me feel better. Because I’m sad because my grandmother died. But I don’t feel better. I don’t like it. He’s making me upset. I’m crying. I’m crying. I’m staring. His hands. He moves a lot. Heavily. He’s heavy. I can’t breathe. There’s a fly in the room. Lands on me but I can’t move. It won’t get off me. He won’t get off me. Time’s up. I was a good girl. I get a pat on the head. It’s not too hot anymore. I can put my clothes back on. But it’s a secret. Because I have to be good. Otherwise I’ll get in trouble. I can’t be bad. I need to be good. I get to have some ice cream because I was good. I don’t even have to eat a banana first.
I was seven.
Same day. Same place. Same person. I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s been too long. I’m tired. I’m always sore. I cry a lot. I don’t talk to many people. I don’t have any friends. I am bullied a lot at school. I don’t understand. My legs are bigger than most girls at my school. Is that normal? Am I different? Does anyone else do this? Do other good girls do the same thing as me? I am tired. He says I’m allowed to sleep. I shouldn’t worry about him and just sleep. This will put me to sleep. But I cry. I can’t sleep. Maybe mum can help me. Maybe she can help me sleep easier if I tell her. But will I get in trouble? What if she says I’m not a good girl anymore?
I was 14.
Again? Really? It must be me. Can people tell? Everyone is looking at me. They know. My mum is yelling at me to get out of the shower. But I can’t. I’m not clean yet. I can’t get clean. It won’t come off. It never does. But I still want to be a good girl. I don’t want to cause drama. I shudder when he looks my way. No one else looks. No one else sees. Help. They ignore as they chat. Help. They laugh. I am crying again because no one understands. Do I tell? How can I get to the pharmacy? I’ll be in so much trouble. My stomach looks normal. I should be fine. I’m crying again. I always cry. A boy looked at me. I’m walking faster. My heart won’t stay in my chest. I’m crying.
I was 23.
Is this a joke? Why is in here? This place isn’t for boys? He’s violent. My jeans are tight. That’s what he tells me. I can’t breathe. I’m crying. Again. Always again. I can’t tell my boyfriend. I can’t tell anyone. I’m numb. My body becomes a shell. I wait. It’s over. He leaves. I leave. I smile. It’s empty. But no one can tell. They smile back. I cry. Everything goes black.