I wish I knew the words to express what I’m feeling beyond tears
Beyond feelings of betrayal, abandonment, inadequacy,
Silencio que la memoria va a hablar:
I usually remember in Spanish
My uncle, he said that those things were normal and done to little kids,
“It will make you pretty and I will play with you”
So I let him dive into me because I believed that in order to be loved I had to let men hurt me,
And I saw my father beat my mother unconscious several times, but “he loved her”
So I learned that pain, invasion, abuse was a normal part of love
It has taken me years, broken relationships, years of putting up with abusive elders, friends and partners
And I remember that the only thing, the only place I felt safe was in bed, next to my teddy bear.
This man reminds me of my uncle,
This has not been the first time we’ve seen each other,
But it’s never been like this
I asked him to stop, this time I didn’t have to be in pain, I didn’t have to be hurt, I didn’t have to do what I didn’t wish to do, my body is my political space, my spiritual temple and I decide who will worship in my body
In my temple
And I don’t need to hurt in order to be loved
So he decided to go forward and violate our bow of consent
Decided his pleasure was more important than my well being than my ability to write poetry, my endless debates about activism, the love I have for my mother, the times I lay on the ground in worship as I ring the prayer bell, waking up early to go to work, singing in the shower, going out to random restaurants with my best friend, smiling, he decided I was not worthy enough of safety, and he felt entitled to me, my health, my consent, my body.
I confronted him, he responded with indifference and anger.
I went to the hospital, felt silly asking for a **** kit, and sat in a room for over an hour. I felt exposed, vulnerable, opened, disrespected. Like the goats in ritual offerings, I felt lifeless, I felt broken.
Days before the incident I went to a second hand store and I remember spending about 15 minutes looking at stuffed animals, thinking about how I haven’t gotten one in years, yet I have given a couple to guys I’ve gone on dates with… I haven’t gotten a rose in years, I thought, or a teddy bear, something to make me feel safe.
The victims advocate walked in the room and gave me a teddy bear, isn’t it funny how the universe works?
It has taken me years to learn that love is not the same thing as abuse, that I do not need to compromise my well being in order to be loved or feel accepted, that I love my body and each inch of it because it’s the one I got and I need no one’s validation but mine, that pleasure should always be mutual and that I refuse to be with someone who does not find me attractive, ****, and worthy of respect.
I want to thank my closest friends and family who have hugged me, cried with me, held my hand and guided me through this incident, I love you and I promise you this will only make me stronger.
Friends, never be ashamed, afraid or embarrassed to bring your attacker to justice, for you are worthy of love, respect and no one has the right to violate your body, your desires, your boundaries, your humanity.
Consent is beautiful.