You’re in fourth grade. You’re the first girl to reach the age of training bras and awkward curves. He walks up behind you and snaps your bra strap, creating a roar of laughter through the hallway. The sing song of prepubescent boys.
You’re ten years old. You’re walking your dog in the neighbourhood you know so well. A strange car appears. Your step quickens. You feel eyes on the back of your neck and your dog is pulling against the leash. Anxious. You push on and brush off the stare. The wheels on gravel follow until you hear the opening creak and closing clash of a car door. You see the man walking full speed at you. Your heart beats against your bones. Your dog begins to bark and thrash. You turn and run through the trees and you don’t look back.
You visit a friend in her secluded house. You talk about boys and all things innocent. Her dad says it’s time to go, but your friend must stay home. It’s just you and him in the deep dark snow. You look into his eyes and you know, this isn’t going to end well.
It’s the summer of your thirteenth year. You’re walking down the familiar streets of your small town. Safe. You glance up to see a friend of the family’s. He smiles and waves and then looks at the man sitting next to him, disgusted. He punches him in the arm. You walk up and greet them. His friend leers. You walk away. “She’s fucking thirteen. You kidding me?”
It’s the first day of high school. You’ve piled book on top of book until your arms shake beneath the weight. You turn toward your next class, but the school jocks smack the books out of your hands. You have to bend over to pick them up. Chuckles mask the comments about the attractiveness and inadequacies of your body.
You’re 18 and moving. Your advertisement of furniture for sale is listed in the local paper. A woman’s name and a phone number. It’s half past two in the afternoon when he calls. He tells you how rich he is. He starts to heavy breathe. He talks about sex. You panic. Dial tone. It’s ten o’clock at night, he calls again. And again. Until you call the police. He’s been recently discharged from the local mental hospital. He hasn’t been taking his medication. He chose you. “We will deal with him, miss, just don’t answer your phone.” Great. Now you can’t answer your own phone.
You’re walking through the shopping centre. Three men are following you. They linger in the corner of the shop as you call for help. “We’ll get her on the way back to the station. Can’t miss out on that lovely arse.”
You’re waiting on the platform at Earl’s Court. A man twice your age sits next to you. Too close. You ignore him and step aboard the train. He follows you. He leans over you. His spit falls aggressively on you. You pray his stop is before yours. He licks his lips as his eyes pan across you. He proposes to you. He doesn’t give up.
You’re waiting at a crosswalk, the light is red. A man walks up behind you. He grabs you and walks on. “That is not yours to touch.” A smirk forms across his face. “Try me.”
You’re on a night out with a friend in Brixton. A man shouts at you. He brings his fingers to his lips. You look disgusted, he gets angry. He grabs you, he presses his face on yours, his tongue against your cheek. You twist his arm and pin him to the ground.
Me too. Fuck you.