Keeping this as short and sweet as possible, not for the sake of curtailing a potential session of word vomit, but for the simple sake of simply sharing a small tragedy I don't often share, I want you to know: ME TOO. I still carry the police report I never filed. I was told they'd never find him. I believed the man in blue. The man whose uniform is the symbol of protection. I believed. Him. I believed a MAN. So, I didn't file the report. I had time to go back and file. But, yet, I still didn't file. They asked if I wanted to be "subjected" to a rape kit. I questioned, was my assault a rape? I pushed it out my head. I said no. The most unsure, yet sobering "no" I've uttered. And that was that. He left me, the man in blue, with a few final words that maybe how I was dressed was "suggestive." Apparently, a long pencil skirt and top with three quarter sleeves is a “suggestive” outfit. Guess you learn something new every day. I wasn’t aware I was wearing an “enter” sign woven from a cotton blend. I was left aware that night. To this day, I haven't been back since. To the scene, of what the man in blue labeled an “incident” on the police report. I buried a piece of me there. For a long time. Never went back to dig it up. Take it back. I just left it there. First time, in a long time, when shame flooded my soul to point where my internal drowning was no longer painful, but only numbing. It was my fault. Or so, I allowed my mind to lead me to believe it true. My fault. MINE. Maybe if… It wouldn’t have mattered. My cotton blend said, “come in.” Should of wore polyester instead. Hardest part: telling my mom. I didn’t want her to worry. To be scared. That I couldn’t protect myself. I didn’t want her to think I was doing anything that warranted the outcome. Funny how the mind instantly goes to blaming one’s self for actions of others. Why? I wish I knew why our minds did that? WHY? Turns out, telling my mom was the first step to letting go and moving on. My friends rose a ruckus. For me. My mom did too. For me. At the time, I didn’t see it or feel it, but it all helped. It took some time. And God turned it. I finally wrote it about it. In a small way. Then I rose my own ruckus. For me. Nurtured my broken wings. I flew again. I was BETTER. Stronger. My story was my own again. My narrative. My life. MINE. The fault was his. The man the man in blue that said they’d never find him. The fault was also with the man in blue for allowing me to believe it was my fault because my outfit was “suggestive.” The fault was in the system. The fault with the structure of patriarchy. But even despite, all the fault, here and there, what mattered most was that I NO LONGER allowed it to control my narrative. I NO LONGER allowed them, men, to write my story. The pen was back in my hand. My word was mightier than sword. My first step towards freedom. Towards peace. I used to carry that police report in my wallet. I no longer carry it. I am learning to let go. To RECLAIM that piece of me I left behind. Finally. Again, it is taking time. But time is healing. I. Am. (Becoming) BETTER. Stronger. GREATER than it all. This is MY story.
Revised: 24 October 2017
— :: Post Rationalization(s) “But I won't let you control my narrative.” — Erica Silverman —