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The Absence of No Does Not Mean Yes

The Absence of No Does Not Mean Yes

A Poem by Cierra

This is a trigger warning for sexual assault content. It's something I've been thinking about for a long time and if my story can help anyone at all, then it's worth putting it out there.

I am a female identified person. I am 24 years old.
I have been raped one time.
I have been sexually assaulted more times than I can count on one hand.
I have been sexually harassed more times than I can remember.
When I was seventeen, I was harassed by a 50 year old friend of the family when I was staying at their home for the afternoon. He talked to me about how hot I was, kissed my neck and pressed his finger to his lips to silence me.
When I was eighteen, I was raped by the boy who lived down the street when we went for a walk down the nature trail. We sat down on the trail and began making out. He unbuttoned my pants and I pushed his hand away and told him no. He stuck his hand in my pants anyway.
When I was nineteen, I was assaulted by a boy I had just met in the park we went to while getting to know one another. He tried to kiss me several time after I rejected him. After a few failed tries, he pushed me on my back, climbed on top of me and began to kiss my lips and my neck down to my chest.
When I was twenty, I was given so much alcohol that I could no longer stand on my own. I was so afraid of getting assaulted again that the only thing I remember is begging my friends not to let me go home with the guy who was making out with me.
When I was twenty-one, I was given so much alcohol that I could not remember how to get home from the park I was led to by the guy who had given me the drinks. I don't remember the walk there, I don't remember how I got home. I only remember telling him no, over and over again.
When I was twenty-two, I was dancing with a guy at a queer club in celebration of New Years. One hour into the New Year, my body was pressed so hard against his that I could not move or push away from him.
When I was twenty-three, I was told that I looked like a porn star while having a drink with an old friend.
On my twenty-fourth birthday, I was drunk at a gay bar with my friends when a guy asks me to make out with him. We start to make out and he asks me to feel his dick. I tell him no and he grabs my hand and presses it against his crotch. I tell him I need to leave and he grabs me by the a*s and pulls me closer to him.
Each time someone makes an inappropriate comment about my body, I feel exposed and vulnerable. Every time someone brushes my breast or smacks my a*s, I feel humiliated and afraid. When someone slows down their car to stare at me or catcalls me from their window, I remember every single one of these instances.
In a lot of these situations, alcohol was involved. But alcohol does not harass people. Alcohol does not assault people. Alcohol does not rape people.
Just because I like to go out, just because I like to drink, just because I like to wear shorts and tank tops in the summer does not mean that I want to be harassed or assaulted.
Next time before you yell something out of your window or hit on the drunk girl at the bar or stare at someone's body, remember this. Remember how painful these experiences are and how common they are. I should not have been harassed/assaulted every year since I turned seventeen. But boys will be boys, right? Rape culture doesn't exist because obviously I was asking for it. Before you subject someone to this kind of treatment, ask yourself: Does this person really want this to happen? Chances are, the answer is no, even if they don't say it.

© 2017 Cierra

Author's Note

I am open to questions but any inappropriate content will be flagged and ignored.

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Added on September 9, 2017
Last Updated on September 9, 2017
Tags: sexual assault, rape culture



Bloomington, IN

I like to narrate things in my head using different voices and accents. I like to leave people guessing. I like listening to classical music and imagining things that will never be reality. Writing i.. more..

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