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  • I can remember the rape
    it's imprinted
    a snapshot
    I can remember the layout of the room
    I can remember what I wore that day..
    my favorite skirt kept for evidence..my shoes too
    I can remember the door and the lock and the chain
    I can remember almost getting out
    I remember the sound of my hair ripping from my head
    I can remember how his hand first went to my mouth to silence my screams
    and then covered my nose as well...
    it was so hard to breathe
    I remember his knees on my chest
    I heard my ribs give way, but I didn't feel it
    I heard how hard he was breathing while he fumbled with his belt...
    I remember knowing when I looked into his eyes that he was not going to stop
    his face so dark I thought I might die

    I took and passed a lie detector test
    I testified before the grand jury
    I was stalked by a private investigator
    high school friends were asked about my past

    I was a hippie chick...
    I lived in a communal house...
    I had lived in a tepee
    and a hammock on the beach

    The DA was very sorry but you know...
    but you know
    I wasn't a virgin...
    not a very good case
    it would be hard to get a juries sympathy
    hippies you know
    it had been decided to charge the rapist for breaking my bones
    but not for putting his penis inside of me
    no rape charge for him
    maybe my NO really wasn't a NO?

    I remember walking down the street after the DA had delivered his verdict blinded by tears...
    I remember feeling devalued
    I remember feeling shame
    in that moment I was ashamed
    I'd been devalued...
    what was wrong with me?

    I didn't talk about my rape
    I didn't want you to know
    I'd been devalued
    there was something wrong with me

    Most women who have been raped don't talk
    we've seen the look
    and the unspoken questions
    the silent wondering what we did to cause it..
    and I even understand
    we want to believe that if we just don't do what she did we are somehow safe
    we don't want to believe that we live in a rape culture...
    a world where rape is a weapon of war
    that women and children are collateral damage
    that we teach our girls how not to be raped
    rather than our boys not to rape

    After years of mostly silence I was invited to join a Courage to Heal group...
    a women who had been sexually assaulted group
    there were 12 of us
    all survivors
    all imprinted
    we were a tribe
    we talked
    and listened
    told our stories
    for nine weeks
    we cried our tears
    and let go our anger
    and our fear and shame
    our hurt
    we held each other
    we laughed
    we loved
    WE TALKED
    we were safe

    I talk
    I carry the snapshot
    I'll show it to you
    I want a world without rape
    rape hurts for a long time
    the wound is deep
    it breaks our bones
    it isn't sex or love or lust
    it's violent and scary and hurts
    it shouldn't be our secret

    We are your mothers and sisters and grandmothers and aunts
    wives and lovers...
    your friends
    your children
    speak for us
    for each other
    for women and little girls
    and let us talk
    listen
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