The Stories We Tell About Sexual Assault — And The Stories We Don’t

Aaden Friday
The Establishment
Published in
7 min readApr 15, 2016

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flickr/Emily Dunne (image has been altered)

We tell ourselves stories so we may endure, so we can get through, or so we can cope with what we don’t want to remember. But the body remembers all; it remembers every sensation — the crash of clenched fist against gut, the warmth of a body in our arms, the dolor of being pushed away. It remembers what shouldn’t have been and what could have been. Each touch, each moment, becomes a story we tell so that we can prevail.

There are stories we expect to hear about attempted rape.

Several years ago, I worked on an American cruise line as a server in Hawaii. I had a small crush on the man who managed the buffet where I had occasional breakfast shifts. We saw each other sparingly and flirted for a few weeks; he made going into work at five in the morning less grueling. One evening, during an overnight port in Maui, we ran into each other unexpectedly. We talked and laughed without the pressure of being on duty, or adhering to protocol, and on the way back to the ship, he held my hand.

It was what I had daydreamed about while clearing tables and greeting guests, when my eyes would catch his and his face lit up. And it felt exactly as I’d hoped it would — until we went back to the ship together and he tried to rape me, despite my defiant and vocal objections.

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Aaden Friday
The Establishment

Writer, artist, & fundamentalist Christian school survivor. They live in Philly with their partner, two Shorkies, & one disgruntled cat.