Finally, I’ve mastered the courage to confront you, to tell my story, to reclaim my virginity. Let’s travel back to Winter Ball, Freshman year in High School.
Full of teen angst, your friends hatched a plan to skip the dance and go straight to your house to drink. Admittedly, I had a bit of a crush on you, so I acquiesced without putting up a fight.
When we arrived, five of us sat around your bedroom, taunting my friend, the virginal alcoholic, to take shot after shot.
Towards the end of the night you called me out of your room, took my hand and led the way to your bathroom. I followed you with minimal coaxing; I wanted you to kiss me. I wanted to kiss you back.
We started making out, and before I knew it you had my dress over my head and were tugging at my underwear. I coyly tried to keep my panties on using the muscles in my legs, but you eased them off — like you’d done it before.
Suddenly, you were jamming your fingers, tipped with ragged nails, into my previously un-penetrated privates. All I could do was to stand there in shock.
When you threw me up against the sink I was shaking my head and muttering, “No, no, no,” which was all I could muster through a drunken fog and that blackout terror. You had me pinned, and pretty soon it wasn’t just your hand in places uninvited.
I vaguely remember it hurting something awful and lasting too long. You said it would be over soon. Then you finished, zipped up and left the room.
My friends started banging on the door. I pulled myself together and managed to greet them with a smile.
I didn’t sleep that night, or the next. That whole weekend I was terrified of running into you in the halls on Monday.
Monday came quietly as I walked into the cafeteria, head down, my best guy friend ran up to head me off. You and all of the boys in our class were huddled around the nearest table, around your phone. You had taken a photo of me and were passing it around. You told everybody that we’d had sex.
I denied everything, but the damage had already been done. And because of that photo, because of your bragging, I got the reputation of being ‘fast’. You wouldn’t be the last to violate me during those early high school years; your friends would use me as target practice for their non-consensual advances until we graduated.
And all the while, I denied it, vehemently, voraciously. I denied it so often and for so long that it took me at least 10 years to remember that you had violated me at all.
The physical and psychological pain however, did not let me forget. Over the next few years, I would develop an excruciating case of endometriosis, the constant, stabbing pains around my ovaries a lingering reminder of that young 14-year-old, who had just wanted a kiss.
For 16 years, I’ve walked through life unsure if I am capable of protecting myself, of trusting others, or of trusting love. Now, I’m doing something about it.
This is my elegy for that battered 14-year-old girl. Today, I’m reclaiming the narrative, no longer a victim. I don’t hate you. You are a symptom, a rusty spoke in the wheel of misogyny. I don’t want your platitudes or your denial. I just want to be heard, by you, by God, for myself. Now I can protect myself.