Is this too a rape story.

bridget benton_things in my yard covered with ice2_cropped

Was it saying yes when my thighs clamped together so hard you left bruises prying them apart.

Was it saying yes when I cried out why are you doing this to me.

Was it saying yes that caused you to leave suddenly, wordlessly, while I still lay sprawled across the floor, skirt circling my waist and underwear dangling off one ankle.

Or that caused you to come back the following night, so late you knew I’d already be in bed.

Or to bring a friend with you, a pair of you now grinning on my porch, asking me to let you in. Despite the lateness. Despite me in my pajamas.

Was it yes when you propped yourself up on fists over me, saying I am going to do this now daring me finally unless you say no.

And when I turned my head to the side

when I thought it’s just a body, let it go

when I heard the pop in my head like the breaking of a piano wire and

it was just a body and

I had let it go and

when I whispered okay

was that saying no.

photo credit: Bridget Benton

“Is this too a rape story.” is part of an ongoing memory project.
Additional installments can be found here.

10 thoughts on “Is this too a rape story.

  1. Working, as I do, in the “Heartland” of America and with the varied segments of demographics it presents, I’m sad to announce that there are hhhuuuugggge groupings of paternalistic, misogynistic and entitled men. They populate the hundreds and thousands of towns so small that people describe where they live by counties. I’m not attempting to be elitist but rather a dispassionate observer of these phenomena. I’m even sadder to announce that these groupings (herds? covens??) of men are supported and enabled by women who have been brainwashed into thinking that this is somehow good or normal and to be expected. The discussions you’re having in this and other, similar venues have no chance in hell of penetrating such mental and emotional blindness. These are the “Trump-ers”! Scares me to death.


    1. True, the arguments I make and the perspectives I raise will never make an iota of difference to the committed misogynists, sexists, rapists, rape culture apologists — or any of their enablers. I am not even trying to reach them.

      So why do I bother?

      To borrow from Ta-Nehisi Coates [speaking in a vastly different context, but about the same basic problem]: “The point is not to change the thinking of the active sexist. (Highly unlikely.) The point is to force the passive sexist to take responsibility for his own thoughts.” Keeping THAT goal in mind, I feel far more sanguine about making some headway.

      Besides, the only alternative is passive submission to the status quo. Been there, done that, got that tshirt — the fit of which I found realllly not to my liking.

      source, if you’re curious:

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh, and also? That phenomenon you’re describing is not limited to the Heartland — and it scares me spitless too. ❤

      'S why I try to keep focused on what _can_ be achieved, and not on the mountains that feel hopeless to scale.


  2. With such deeply personal and powerful posts like this one, “like” always feels inadequate: a word not strong enough or not the right reaction – but they do not give us any other options!

    I wish for a button that says “I see you. I hear you. Thank you.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alice, I am not sure what led you to my blog but I am so glad because I am incredibly moved by your writing. I relate to your above comment so much. I am so sorry for what happened to you and for the pain that inevitably stays with you long after, but please know that I am so inspired by the grace you show and your ability to use your experience to affect positive change in the world.


    1. Thank you for that feedback!
      My own version of “blogging is cheaper than therapy” is to use this platform as a means of finding and connecting with other people speaking out on issues that matter to me. I am looking forward to reading more of your work, as the Coming Soon starts to come. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I know you have said before that it doesn’t help for people to express anger at the rapist on your behalf, but I HATE this man. Can’t think cohesively enough to describe my loathing for him…


    1. And I appreciate that from you, sweetie! 🙂

      For me personally, at this distance in time, I find it more interesting and productive to think about this set of experiences with the question in mind: what needs to change so that fewer teenagers/young adults repeat these dynamics? Not just fewer victims–also fewer perpetrators. My own story (both as interpreted here, and as it “really” happened) involves a person who was, yes, a rapist and a predator, and who–I later learned–was working his way down something of a hit list of “still virgin” girls from our social group. Lucky me. But also, he was a messed-up 17yo kid carrying anger and pain of his own that I can’t purport to understand, some of which came out as an aggrieved entitlement to women’s bodies. I’ve got to ask myself, how do we change this part of the equation?

      The current public discussion around consent is a step in the right direction towards changing the social narratives that enable (and protect) this kind of behavior. But it’s only a step, and there is so much dismantling and rebuilding yet to do.


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