woman eye

She knew she was pushing her luck walking to her car alone after class. Her best friend—who usually walked with her—was home sick. She stuck to the well-lit parts of the street. It didn’t matter.

She couldn’t believe it. After everything he’d said about women, minorities, the disabled, and grabbing women by their pussies, he was elected.

She wasn’t wearing headphones, as that would have been too dangerous. Still, she somehow missed his steps behind her. Her first indication about what was about to happen was a dirty, smelly glove placed over her mouth. She was dragged backwards into a bush. She couldn’t believe the pain of the branches. How did she even feel that knowing what was happening?

She was depressed for months after the election. She felt better the day she marched but, since then, he’d already showed his hand. He doesn’t care about anyone but old, white men. The things he says at rallies are horrendous.

She screamed when he took his hand off her mouth for a second to unzip his pants. He punched her in the jaw. She couldn’t believe she was still conscious, as the pain was unlike anything she’d experienced before. After being sexually abused when she was young, she couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that this was even happening. “Lightning does strike twice,” she thought. “I’ll never be the same.”

She was getting flack for talking about her displeasure at work. “Get over it,” a bunch of the guys (and even some women) would tell her. “Hillary sucked anyway.” She couldn’t believe that they were supporting a man who had been talking of nothing but bans and walls, putting the fear of God into everyone about anyone who wasn’t like them.

She wasn’t going down without a fight. She tried to remember what she learned in her self-defense classes. She knew she should try and get him in the nose with the heel of her hand but he had both of those pinned. She kneed him in the groin. He groaned loudly and lifted himself up off her just a little bit. She tried to budge but he was furious now. He banged her head on the pavement. Things went dark.

She sat crying at her desk over the death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville. Her last post had been, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” That’s exactly how she felt. The President said there was “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.” She wanted to punch something really f*cking hard. The fire within her had started to burn, and all she could feel was unmitigated rage.

She came to, and he was inside her. He was violating her in the most personal way—the way she’d hoped would only be by someone she loved. She had just started dating someone, too, and they hadn’t even slept together yet. She had been proud of that, and he was patient. But here she was. She could tell her back was bleeding from being pounded on the pavement. She thought about screaming again but decided it was almost over anyway. A lot of things were over for her. She held still and smelled his terrible, alcohol-fueled breath. She knew she would never forget that smell.

She sat at her new boyfriend’s house and listened as others complained about the “idiots” who were taking a knee, saying, “Why don’t they just STFU and play football?” Was this the world she lived in now? She hated herself for not saying anything.

She was floating outside of herself now. After what seemed like hours, he “finished” inside her. She knew a part of her—if not all of her—had died right at that moment, even if she did live. Which she realized now was probably still in his sweaty, disgusting hands. She wasn’t sure she cared what he did next.

She sat watching the news transfixed by the news that Manafort and Papadopoulos had gone down. She got the tiniest glimmer of hope for women and for anyone who had ever been marginalized in any way. Weeks later, she realized nothing had changed.

She couldn’t believe it. After telling her he knew where she lived and would kill her if she went to the police, he got up, zipped up his pants, wiped the sweat off his brow, replaced his fallen hat, spit just next to her head, and then he did something that she couldn’t believe. He smiled. And then he left. She laid there for maybe 10 minutes after, not even caring that she was leaving herself open to the possibility that she could be attacked again on that dark night. “Get up,” she thought to herself. “Go to the police.” Instead, she lied there and began singing a song to herself. It was a song that her grandma used to sing to her when she was little. “Am I losing my mind?” she wondered. “This too shall pass,” her grandma would always say. She knew this would never pass. She kept singing.

She read about all the sexual assault accusations against the President, and wondered why this was swept under the rug. Why was he immune? As a survivor of sexual abuse when she was younger, this infuriated her. She picked a fight with her boyfriend later for no reason. She went to bed feeling terrible.

She must have passed out. She awoke to a group of people standing over her. One of them had covered her naked lower half with his jacket. A few of them were crying. One was on the phone describing the scene to 9-1-1. Was she still singing? She wasn’t sure anymore.

She listened to Dr. Ford’s testimony. She knew she shouldn’t. It had only been a week since she was attacked. Her head still ached and it hurt to urinate. She cried as she listened. She cried even more as everyone talked about how credible she was afterwards. Even the President said so. “This is it,” she thought. “The tide is finally turning.”

She was wrong. 

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