Bug’s Story: I Wanted to Ask Him How He Was

I shoved him off of my bed and was met with condescension.
“Are you trying to show me that you’re strong?”

I kept moving his hand away, and was met with a reply,
The beginning of cognitive dissonance,
“I won’t do anything without your permission.”

His hand accidentally grazing my bare belly while he was trying to hold me.
“Put it down, move your shirt back down.”

Sitting up still and vocally protesting.
“I won’t let you sleep tonight, I will miss you, stay by my side.”

Cradling his head in my lap, his tears making my leggings wet.
Sitting up, at eye level now, leaning nearer to me.

His head on my shoulder, my hand holding it in place.
If I keep it here, I won’t have to see his face and he will stay still.

Him trying to turn my head.
“Look at me, look at me. Just look at me”.
I fear I know what he will attempt if I turn to him with so little space in between us.

I begin to make deals.
“I will stay next to you for the next 15 minutes, then you will go to your bed to sleep.”

Ten minutes later, I am the one forcing my way out of his arms to go to the other bed.
He feels cheated out of his time and begins to shine light in my face.
He doesn’t want me to sleep just yet.

I am tired. It is quarter past midnight now. I just want to sleep.
He comes to me and holds me again. I make another deal.

“At half past 12, you will let me sleep and go to your bed.”
Ten minutes later, I am the one forcing my way out of his arms to go to the other bed.

I hear his complaints about being cheated out of more time, but he stays.
I don’t sleep. I keep my phone in my hand. I have my body turned to face him, so I can watch every move.

A mosquito buzzes in my ear. I check my phone.
3:00 am
I quietly release the net from above, tucking it into the sides of my mattress, hoping not to wake him.

Half asleep, half alert for the next two hours.
I sense movement, the man on the bed next to me is stirring.
I pretend to be asleep.

I am aware of his every move.
He goes and comes from the bathroom and begins to wake me.
I tell him to let me sleep.

He sits next to me while I’m still under my covers.
He pulls them down so he can hold me.
I sit upright and ignore him, playing on my phone.

For the next two hours, he doesn’t let me go.
My bus leaves in an hour.

He starts saying we should cancel my bus, I can take a later one.
I start breathing fast. I just want to get out.
The ticket isn’t just for the bus, it is now for my mental sanity.

In the few minutes before stepping out, he tries to hold me again.
My phone is playing music, and to prevent this unwanted advance I begin to dance.

I dance to prevent him touching me.
It doesn’t work.

I pull him up to dance with him.
This way, I am in control.
This is better than not being in control.

I am home safe.
I do not say anything to anyone.
I continue talking with him.
Everything seems back to normal.
After all, at least I wasn’t raped.

I wanted to reclaim the events.
I wanted to shift them into something not as sticky.
By making them invisible, they never happened.
I didn’t have to deal with any external damage.
The internal damage kept bubbling out.

I tell someone, they knock me into reality.
It was not ok. He hurt you. This is sexual assault.
I confront him and tell him exactly how I felt.
I hear his pathetic “sorry sorry sorry” and tell him never to speak to me again.

At last, I think about what happened.
I open up the jar of discomfort.
Inside, there is:

The feeling of your body being no longer your own.
The nights of nausea and chaos in your mind.
The ghost of your soul watching your body hunched over the toilet.

A thought that reappears without warning.
A feeling on your chest like someone is applying pressure, pushing down.
An urge to reach out and ask how he is doing.

Knowing you’ve spoken the truth,
Worrying you’ve ruined his life.
Cutting him out of your own.

Finally, a sense of anger.
First, anger at yourself.
Realizing the signs that could’ve prevented this from happening.
Realizing you see it because it is retrospective.

Then the blame shifts.
Anger at him, anger at society, anger at the way women are forced to deal with the trauma of events like this on their own.
They say we were raised to prevent things like this from happening, we should have known better.

We are made to feel like it was our fault.
We feel broken, tarnished, stained.
We feel like the girl we never wanted to become.

None of this is true.
We are strong, wise, and powerful beyond measure.
We heal, we love, we continue forward with grace.

We hope that society will change, and that boys will become men who respect rather than cross our boundaries. It is something we work towards by teaching and sharing our stories. We are not alone. #MeToo



When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.



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