Words From A Father
(Trigger warnings: this post contains non-graphic descriptions of sexual assault)
Innocent ears hear paternal warnings to protect the body against the insatiable. My father tells stories of defenseless girls who fall into alcohol's snare and make targets of themselves with promiscuous attire. They’re distant and accusatory, like a parable made to warn the masses. The blame is misplaced on the victim but I still take heed. A single word which petrifies freely tumbles out of my father’s lips; he doesn’t realize how it terrifies his daughter.
The room was dark, but I could still see your eyes. There was a certain draw in the obscurity and in the way we hadn’t truly seen each other all night. It hid my flaws and enabled my body’s willingness to give to someone I didn’t know, but my heart and my mind didn’t want to share anything. They also didn’t ask; they weren’t ready for someone new. As you hovered over me, we were touching but not feeling. Neither of us came for an embrace. That much was clear from your fast gaze and my aloof mind.
In rebellion, the fairy lights’ dim glow fabricated intimacy, and purity came from the ivory sheets. The unchaste intent on our minds was a clear contrast, but my heart was susceptible to delusion by the atmosphere. I don’t know where your thoughts were, but we were clearly in two different places. I allowed myself to trust you like I had trusted the one before you. In my naivete and reminiscing, I trusted you would ask before taking. In your impulses, you assumed to claim what was spread before you. That was the distance between us. This miscommunication materialized as silence in the room. That quiet overtook me, and when you entered I said nothing despite the intrusion. Despite the tumbling frenzy racing to my lips. My heart cried but my body didn’t. I don’t know if my voice was lost as it travelled the gap to you, or if your ears were protected with a wall of ignorance, or worst, if it was my own indecision and weakness. I guess I was one of those
From my father’s stories. He has a lot of them. He warned that the eyes and hands of unrestrained boys constitute the hunting grounds which I, and many others, willingly enter. He constantly told me and warned me and told me and exerted his voice and his authority and
Visits to me became more and more frequent. After you finished that night, I remember how my conscious switched from nothing into being. The music you chose for our lullaby mocked my ears with lyrics I listened to with the one I missed. I cuddled into you, trying to ignore that my neck craned and cramped because we didn’t fit together. My heart contorted to match, or at least it tried to. It desperately fought the possibility that what occured hadn’t been what it wanted. If it wasn’t, the would mean all my firsts were taken in silence or manipulation. My mind thought I was too strong and smart for that.
So we became friends. I let it happen again and again. I was in conflict with myself. I didn’t want it, but I wanted something. I wanted exploration and endearment, but I didn’t want it like that. I didn’t know how to stop. The clarity of self I esteemed proved its fragility, and in my oblivion I thought I saw sunshine in your brown eyes.
I wondered if you cared about me, if your gaze above me turned tender. You never said it, but I was hopeful based off of your
Speak louder than words, but I did neither. It wasn’t a fight. I’m not a hero or a survivor because my body didn’t have the strength to defend. I just submitted to his will in silence too many times to count. The lines are blurred; were your actions even wrong?
The narrative I have is lost in world saturated with dismal stories. There’s an exceeding amount far worse and subjected on women whose lives don’t hold the same privilege as mine. So, please undermine and belittle and bury my voice deeper because I’m bandwagoning and what happened to me wasn’t that bad. The anger I hold is regret and desecration. These mild emotions allow me to refute vengeful actions against him and strive for forgiveness. My voice isn’t strong enough to join the rallies of the crowd. I apologize for fixating over such a small occurrence.
But, before it’s said that his actions
“Aren’t his fault”
You should know I said no. Not the first time or the second or many times after that. It was when unsaid no’s crowded and suffocated my breath the final night we met in bed. Your fingers grabbed at the soft barrier over my heart, so I moved your hands off my body and I distanced our frames. I said not today, I’m working, and you’re tired, go to sleep. I said no. I travelled the distance for our thoughts to meet but you remained unrooted. That was the last time I allowed you to touch me. When I told you I didn’t want to meet with you again, your nonchalance struck me as you simply said
“You should have said”
Something could have been done to lock that word inside my father’s mouth. Maybe if it never left, the action couldn’t run free. My ears aren’t innocent anymore and neither is my body. The word has lost its capacity to intimidate. My words still haven’t found their way to emerge from my lips. My mind is intimidated by the repercussions and aware of an audience who tells me I’m grasping for attention. But explain, why would he have not listened to me when I said
One truly understands why I feel the way I feel. I’m not mad at you. I want to be friends, still. We’re both human and we exist outside of a victim and villain dichotomy. I need to remind myself I’m learning and that it’s strong to grow from mistakes. Hopefully one day after I accept how emotional distress causes my body pain, I’ll be able to stop diminishing the scars that’ve been made. But, I’m okay now, except for that fact that even my gentle lover’s lips can scare me. So I tell him I feel safe but really I’m reminding myself that I am.
Months later I heard that you were asked to leave a party because you raped a girl. I don’t know if it was me or someone new. I’m sorry that happened to you. It’s not what you deserve. But then again, this is not what I deserve, and it is for your actions that you should be the most
~ Words From A Father
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