One more shower, just one more.
The water is hot. I need it to burn.
Trash is everywhere.
What is that smell?
What is he doing?
Oh God, no. No. No.
My brain keeps saying it,
but nothing will come out.
The memory is blurry.
The water is hotter now.
Must wipe away the scents.
The smell of the garbage.
The smell of the dumpster.
The smell of the alley.
Must wash away him.
More soap. Need more soap.
These sheets are tainted.
I cannot sleep in them. I won’t.
We are in bed, like very night.
I just want to go to sleep.
He keeps rubbing up behind me.
I say “no, I’m tired. I have a headache.”
He says, “come on baby, don’t you love me?”
He moves. no. No. NO. I said No.
“I love you,” he says.
Tear the sheets off the bed.
Must wash them.
Throw away these panties.
Notice the comforter. Wash that too.
See the photos next to the bed.
Rip them apart.
Must rid this room of it.
Must rid myself of this dirty feeling.
But I love him.
We are dirty. We are tainted. We had it coming.
We are unclean. We are whores. We were drunk.
Must clean ourselves. Must leave.
Must say goodbye.
It happened. So now what?
time to clean.
Rape is one of the most ignored topics because no one knows what to say. Know one knows what to feel. Victims feel blame because we have a rape culture that places blame on the victim. We have a rape culture that perpetuates the rapist’s good qualities and potential, rather than emphasizing the crime. As a victim myself, when I saw the one-word prompt ‘clean’ – I knew that I wanted to address this topic. There is a part of the victim that will never be clean again. There are rooms, places, towns, states that will never be clean again because of what happened there.
We must destroy rape culture by addressing it in bold, honest, brutal, revealing, and vulnerable ways. The rapist must no longer be perpetuated by his potential but brought down for his dirty crime. We must resist a leader who calls admission of sexual harassment ‘locker room talk.’
Speak. Be vulnerable. Resist.