Today is 19 years since the one rape I know the date of.
I was 19.
It was brutal.
I will never forget the pain of my vagina being torn and ripped, of his weight on top me, of his hands around my throat, of struggling for breath, of being terrified for my life.
And I will never forget the moment of realisation….. That this had happened before. This was rape. And it was familiar to me. I knew this feeling.
I will not forget crawling under the tables in the barn to hide, not daring to sleep, until the sun came up.
Then getting up and going to work, with scratches and bruises on my body and blood stains in my underwear.
Vomiting in the bathroom before I started my shift.
And all of that was bad but what came next was worse.
I will not forget how desperately alone and isolated I felt. Or how once they all knew, they treated me as a problem to be dealt with, a frustrating inconvenience.
I will not forget coming home to silence and emptiness and the bright, harsh glare of the endless mid summer sun.
I will not forget the hug I did not get from my mother, or my father, or my sister. The compassion I was not shown by my friends.
The assumption that I would not want to talk about it, that I would be ok.
I will not forget feeling so incredibly alone and hopeless that I tried to take my own life.
I will not forget.
Everyone else has.
I will not.
I’ve taken this job buttering toast and setting out tea
for old ladies with blue tinged hair and hand-knitted cardigans,
as they rest between groceries and the shuffle home.
These half-baked afternoons in my blue striped apron
I can still feel my face forced flat
into the rainproof canvas and the heat of the tall grass which wept beneath me.
They call me “dear”, but they don’t know.
And I smile as sweetly as the strawberry jam I am loading onto these scones
and sweep up the crumbs from around their feet.
I wanted to sweep myself away
but I just carried on toasting teacakes
and scrubbing dishes with my burnt and bleeding hands.