Your Body Doesn’t Belong To The Man Who Raped You

Aaron Mello

To the six year old,
Your body doesn’t belong to the man who raped you.
I wish I whispered this to you when you were told you were playing a game.
I wish I said it when his hands traced the contours of a body you didn’t understand.
I wish I said it every time you lost yourself to the dark room which reeked with the stench of cigarettes.
I wish I said it when you fumbled for words to describe a penis, because that part of the human anatomy was never named.
I wish I said it when you did not anticipate how the baggage of patriarchy would shift from your heart to your shoulders, slowing seeping into the your muscles, spreading through the blood – and there was no vaccine ever created to fight this infectious disease. I wish I screamed out loud that it wasn’t your fault.

To the eight year old,
Your body does not belong to the man who raped you.
You did not have to hate skirts and shorts because it made your ugly, impure skin vulnerable to the world again.
Your body wasn’t created for being looked at.

To the 12 year old,
Your body does not belong to the man who raped you.
You did not have to feel apologetic for not being a son.
You did not have to trade yourself to become the deeply flawed notions of masculinity that were shoved down your throat.
Your body was not a divine offering that had to adhere to a sexuality unaware of its own subjectivities – constantly trying to hide blisters and bruises that marred the imperfect curves and edges of your being.

To the 15 year old,
Your body doesn’t belong to the man who raped you.
You did not need to pity party your “inability” to give sex in a relationship,
You did not have to become an emotional anchor to compensate for your physical self.
You did not need to be obligated to an object of your desire for the men you fell for.

To the 19 year old,
Your body does not belong to the man who raped you.
You did not have to feel guilty to break off an abusive relationship.
You did not have to spend your entire teenage to realize you did not owe a man sex.

To the 22 year old,
Your body does not belong to the man who raped you.
You did not have to beat yourself up for not being to get over it.
You did not have to beat yourself up for feeling too much, thinking too much, expressing too much, giving too much, or just existing too much.

II

I still only wish I could brush away your anxiety and pull off the fabricated layers of shame and embarrassment you sulk under.
I wish I could tell you stories about the person beneath the skin you so desperately try to hide.
I wish I could draw maps over your body, revealing all the hidden treasures in parts that expose themselves to the sun.
I wish I could help you travel you being, showing you all the beauty in the fragile of your rugged curves.
I wish I could help you stand naked in front of the mirror, stripping your body of all the names it has called itself.
I wish I could blind your eyes to colors, letting you see the transparent of your skin. I wish I could help you feel the brittle of your bones and the strength in your soul.

But, for now,
All I can do is scream out loud. Till my lungs hurt, and my heart aches, and my limbs incapacitate, and I lay down, face to the floor, the burden of my body on my bare back, and scream. Once again.

It wasn’t your fault.
Your body doesn’t belong to the man who raped you. TC mark

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