Rape Culture Memoirs

we have all heard Mr. Hyde wreaks havoc at night,

but no one warned us the true monster was always Dr. Jekyll.

he will rip consent from you the same way he will rip off your favorite shirt, like unwrapping a gift that wasn’t meant for him, stolen and shaking.

the scariest twist is that Dr. Jekyll sees himself as the good guy. he got all A’s in high school, including his top marks in sexual assault. because we may as well teach rape in schools now the way we glorify and justify our fathers and sons like gods.

we cultivate a society that excuses their “locker room banter”, even though we know that their voices will steal our voices from our throats, because Dr. Jekyll needs a bigger platform to be heard over all the screaming.

as if the desperate cries of women were ever more than an anecdote, anyway.

‘don’t you know she’s somebody’s mother?’ ‘somebody’s daughter?’ we have to specify which women don’t deserve brutal violation, based on their relationship to men, not based on their humanity.

we were all taught to look out for the monsters. didn’t we forget to tell our young women that these monsters look a lot like the football team and our friends fathers and greek letters and the sharp rows of teeth we call misogyny?

you can’t pretend the monsters are far away when even your father wouldn’t protect you if you weren’t his own.

‘boys will be boys.’ ‘what were you wearing.’ ‘god i’m so tired of all these rape poems.’

SO AM I.

i’m sick of hearing each new friend i make tell me their own story of sexual assault. i’m sick of feeling my fingers clutching my keys between my knuckles as i walk to my car at night. i’m sick of seeing presidential candidates praising rape culture on every news outlet and watching my neighbors defending him,

as if they have never known what it is to love and be afraid for a woman in this world.

instead of teaching our men how not to rape women, we have been teaching our baby girls how to not get raped. men are taught all their lives to take what they think they deserve,

and we acted shocked when they took our tongues as tribute the moment they decided they didn’t really belong to us.

hearing the lines blurring and bleeding over the radio in the grocery store, forced to relive trauma in public while everybody sings along.

because rape is the national pastime.

and women are the unwilling sacrifice.