Just like I had done before, I skipped the sugar pills in the birth control pack to avoid having a period. I punished you; I shamed you. Instead of seeing my time of the month as sacred and beautiful, or, at the very least, completely normal, I just skipped it all together. I never allowed you to learn your cycles or find your rhythms. It was easier that way.
I saw things in my past relationships that I’d never seen before. I realized men had claimed a subtle ownership over me. It was an unspoken transaction, a power dynamic that discreetly entitled them to my compliance and affection, an undercurrent that I don’t think any of us perceived at the time. In defying social norms, I’d actually just been reinforcing them.
Hunched over the toilet, I rock back and forth in excruciating pain. I use the contraction timer I have at births. My contractions are two minutes apart, hard and fast, and they last around one minute each. I am sweaty and naked in the pitch black, silently crying between breaths.
We had to kiss. I saw it heading toward me like a comet, an inevitable atmospheric rupture. Something big was coming. All I could do was wait. Tarek started out as a friend. He was
Is sex consensual if one person participates but doesn’t feel safe and secure?
I may have forgiven him, but I’d never forgiven myself. I’d never dealt with the shame and the guilt that was, quite literally, buried in the deepest depths of me.
“What took her so long? Why didn’t she just leave? She had it coming for being so stupid.”
It was the first time that I had realized that what happened wasn’t okay. It was the first time I said the word, rape.