he said / she said is not
good enough, hear me out, it’s not good
enough because the she said (or six said, or eight said) is the part that’s not enough. my virginity was stolen at 14 by a boyfriend who was trying to prove something. to himself, maybe, only, i thought at first, but no, because he told the whole school he’d nailed me. and that’s too bad, because the he said is so powerful, always, it was, it is, it’s so powerful. & he did nail me; that was true. and i was 14 and i thought we were just making out; that is also true. we were in his bed and then suddenly he was inside me and i was not okay and i was scared and when it was over he told me to go home and i went home and i wanted to cry but instead i got empty and alone.
i still think he told everyone because it proved something to everyone. i couldn’t deny it because i’m not a liar, i wasn’t then and i’m not now, all i could say was “it wasn’t what you think it was.”
and he dropped out and switched schools and was gone, just like that. and i stayed.
but no one would date me. boys bet the guys i liked money to wink at me in english class. boys called me slut when i walked in the room, and whore, and worse. boys wrote slut on my locker. boys whispered at me. boys confronted me in the hallway and asked me point-blank why i was such a slut. boys accused me of staring at them in the classrooms. boys called me at my home number and told me i should kill myself because no one wants to go out with a slut.
do you know why he said no when you asked him to the dance
you’re pretty, but if he went with you everyone would
think he’s just in it to get laid
girls stopped being my friend. and of course, sadly, some girls called me a slut. i started getting wonderfully high and found friends who didn’t listen to people inside the school, and that was so special. but it wasn’t easy to walk the hallways every day and know that no one believed what i said.
this was fifteen years ago this january. i don’t talk about it now because i found out then what happens when you talk about it. sex, abuse, power, having something held over you and out of your reach, even intangible, even just the threat that someone would destroy you if you ever told the truth.
women don’t tell their stories. it’s just the way it is. they don’t go to the police, or their friends, or their family. my story isn’t that terrible, in comparison to others, and i’ve only been stronger from that experience, but it’s an experience that should have been told, and should have been listened to & believed when i tried to she said.
when no one believed me there was a long time when i questioned whether it had even happened that way, or if i was remembering it correctly. that is the weight of the power we are talking about here; that’s how real it is. that is horrifying.
i am so proud and grateful that anyone comes forward to tell their own story, regardless of who they are talking about. and there are facts, of course, and there are liars everywhere, there is no honest gender, we all know that. but women can’t be believed, they wanted it, they went on the date, they got in the bed, they accepted the ride home, and sometimes they do regrettable things because of the fear of what will happen if they don’t. that’s how real it is.