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​Author: Anonymous Middlebury College Student

I’ve tried to tell a story for a long time. Maybe I want to share... or maybe I’m just trying to make sense.


words after words, I never found a story that worked.


conclusions never arrived.


narratives weren’t drawn.


so I’m giving you some of the phrases instead.


you find the story.



Spring, senior year of high school:



a presenter comes to my first period class


something about sexual assault


and one sentence sticks in my head:


“If it is not a YES it is a NO.”


I overhear my boyfriend behind me, joking with his friends: “No means yes, and yes means anal…”


I laugh--automatically




What if I were raped?



I imagine a dark alley, a gang of ferocious men, and then… damn… Confident Me comes zooming in.



I smile as I imagine how I would beat the shit out of anyone who tried to even touch me.



I am prepared for the dark alley.



Senior Prom:



Sometime during the night, a penis enters my vagina.


“don’t” I say



His penis is removed.


he responds, “But, I just want you so bad” (more kisses)


within 10 minuets it re enters.



“no… or at least wear a condom…"


again the penis enters,


but my hymen doesn’t break.



So, I’m still a virgin. Right? I wasn’t raped, right?


There was no dark alley, right?






I look up the definite, distinct, textbook clear definition of rape:



Rape: Verb: the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.



There was no physical force.


So, according to the dictionary, it wasn’t rape, right?


Even if I never said yes?



Spring 2013:



I again look up the definition of rape.


I think about dark alleys.


I look up more definitions:


Three stick in my mind:



Definition: Noun: the act of making definite, distinct, or clear; defining.

Black and white, got it.



Power: Noun: Possession of control, authority, or influence over others.

so the ability to set definitions?



Rape: Verb: t̶h̶e̶ u̶n̶l̶a̶w̶f̶u̶l̶ c̶o̶m̶p̶e̶l̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ o̶f̶ a̶ p̶e̶r̶s̶o̶n̶ t̶h̶r̶o̶u̶g̶h̶ p̶h̶y̶s̶i̶c̶a̶l̶ f̶o̶r̶c̶e̶ o̶r̶ d̶u̶r̶e̶s̶s̶ t̶o̶ h̶a̶v̶e̶ s̶e̶x̶u̶a̶l̶ i̶n̶t̶e̶r̶c̶o̶u̶r̶s̶e̶.



Rape doesn’t start with a penis entering a vagina. It starts with a definition.



Who’s setting my definitions?



October 2013:



friday, saturday, sunday monday,


all that kept me from the worst day of my life


a small group of tourists held up, robbed, violated



four days difference and that would have been me



me, two girls and a guy traveling alone.


I won’t say no to a gun at my head



skinny and white and young.



if only people whistled at my personality.


But they don’t.



four days.



November 2013:



Walking down a dark alley.



A guy grabs my ass.



I turn around and throw a punch... but he’s already gone.



I’m infuriated,


not at being harassed,



but because I couldn’t return his touch with a touch of my own.



Spring 2014:



Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m totally down for a hot, random one night stands.


And, I’m still not quite sure if I’m interested, but the way you move when you dance is hot. I’d be down to try that out. Plus, it’s late.




Wait. I don’t care how sexy your deep Colombian Spanish sounds,


I don’t dig you pushing my head down towards your dick.



Could this happen somewhere other than a doorway?


Have you even looked at my face?


Did you tell me your name?



I’m not having fun.



I tell you, but you don’t stop.


I don’t want this. I clarify. Softly.



In my head, screaming, I draft a better response:


When I say NO, it’s not because I’m prude, or have a boyfriend, or am my period, or not drunk enough.






it’s because you’re not FUCKING good enough.



Trust me,



I’m not leading you on.



I’m trying you out.



And if I wanna stop at second base,



That’s not my problem.



It’s yours.



You’re not delicate, rough, fit, smart, kind, attractive, funny... good enough.



It’s not me, it’s you.



The words don’t make it out my lips.



He finishes.


I leave.


I walk home.


Was that rape?


Why didn’t I say no…




Why didn’t I throw him off.


Punch his face.


walk out the door.


His words were sweet.



Was that rape?



Or was I just not strong enough?



Who’s setting my definitions?




In a dark alley (ish?) place 10 minutes later:



A girl cries on a street corner.


she slaps his face


he throws her to the ground,


and tells me how she’s locaaa.



she trembles.



I wish my five am, approaching hungover, spanish


would make sentences from half of what I’m thinking.



Fall 2014:



IHH Submission deadline: November 5th



I sit, trying to find a story


The curser: blinks blinks blinks


The page, still empty



a group of girls studying gossips loudly.


I try and ignore them, but start catching words.



situation reversed.






is it though?




That’s still not right,


yeah, but you didn’t have a boyfriend.



I zone out and go to the bathroom.


I return.


one is in tears.




It doesn’t happen in dark alleys.



it happens here. 

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