Let’s hear it for the girl who sits at an empty table in a crowded room by herself, her headphones a clear sign she doesn’t want to interact with anything outside of the screen in front of her. She lets her guard down because what’s going to happen when there are people around? What happens is this; a strange older boy invites himself to sit next to her and talk, takes her silence as the answer he wants to hear for every question he may ask. The weight of his hand on her inner thigh is unbearable, the words he whispers unspeakable, the memories of what he will do next unforgettable, his actions unexcusable.
Let’s hear it for the girl who is brave, much braver than most because she told someone. She didn’t sit in silence, she fought for justice. She had to relive her trauma time after time because every cop, counselor, friend, and principal needed to know every detail, every word, every touch. She finds herself walking to her car on her own, but she is followed by an older boy who used to be a friend. This boy looks so much like the one who now haunts her memory, but he’s a friend so she attempts to talk to him. He refuses to leave her alone until she tells him what’s wrong, what happened, and before she can say a word there is a tongue in her mouth that is not her own.
Let’s hear it for the girl who is having a panic attack right now because her boyfriend is pressuring her into sex even though he knows that not two weeks ago she was being assaulted by a stranger on her way home. She is shaking, trembling as he tells her it’s okay, that he loves her, that he’ll replace the bad memories with good ones. She stays silent as his touch is polluted with the thought of a strangers hands and of something firm in pressed against her thigh that she hopes is a knife, because that would be less painful.
Let’s hear it for the girls who have to face their attackers everyday because they are her teacher, her father, her uncle, her neighbor, her friend. Let’s hear it for the girls who are not virgins but have never made love. Let’s hear it for the girls who are called sluts simply because they have a bust that can not be concealed by even the bulkiest of sweatshirts. Let’s hear it for the girls who suffer in silence, the girls who have no choice to get help because they are without a voice. Let’s hear it for the girls who will never get justice because the pain they went through was intolerable, so painful that they ended their own life because some jerk took their silence as free entry. How is silence an answer to questions about a girls personal issues? How does silence mean the answer someone is looking for?
Are you a virgin? Silence. So no.
Are you single? Silence. So yes.
Wanna play a game, sweet stuff? Silence. I’ll take that as a yes.
Let’s hear it for the girls who are ready to speak out and end this silence. Let’s hear it for the girls who are tired of being seen and not heard, it is the time to shout and make a scene. No more shouting ‘fire’, let it be known that our silence is not consent.