Before you hear my story,
you will have already determined
whether I am worthy of your sympathy.
You’ll want to know what I was wearing,
what I said,
or if I had anything to drink.
You’ll want to know if I smiled.
Did I flirt?
Why did I go to the party in the first place?
Your micro-aggressions will sound like questions so you don’t have to say the words, “You asked for it.”
You’ll critique my coming forward as another conspiracy against the black man.
For proof, you’ll require pictures of him on top of me and voice recordings of me saying no …
You’ll need to see the tears,
and vaginal bruising,
all as a sign of my truth.
You will send me interesting articles
about how to walk in pairs while on campus
and reminders to park my car where there is ample lighting.
You will offer self-defense classes,
so I can learn how to fight back the next time I’m attacked,
almost as if you know there will be a next time.
You’ll convene an assembly
and inform the students about violence on campus.
You’ll remind the women to be extra vigilant and to dress with class,
nothing low-cut and nothing too short.
We all know there is proof
that women who cover themselves respect themselves,
and women who respect themselves force others to respect them,
thus eliminating them from the pool of women who deserve to be raped.
I, on the other hand, chose to wear those tight jeans and formfitting V-neck sweater.
You will get angry when I question why you prefer to regulate my dress rather than police your sons’ behavior.
You will be incensed when I suggest you prefer to control my wine intake rather than talk to your sons about rape.
You will sit in silence
when I ask you what you will say to your daughters.