United States
30° 25' 59.5416" N, 97° 36' 2.0844" W

John Dominique once said,

“You cannot kill truth. You cannot kill justice.

You cannot kill what we are fighting for”


I begin peeling off a layer of the mask that once covered my wounds

Starting with the meticulously rehearsed smile hung high on my face

Revealing anger, torment, loneliness, vulnerability

I had ignored the brewing storm of frustration in my head

Just as they said to.


on moving on.



on healing yourself,


they told me.

What about working on justice?

What about having control over my own body?

That didn’t matter. Not to them.

Because somehow they had come to the conclusion

That rules could be broken

By the man that held her down by the neck and told her not to scream

By the friend that said she needed a reason to say no

By the boyfriend that never made her comfortable enough to say stop

By the father that said sex was the only way to prove she really loved him

By the teacher that pretended to care

By the neighbor that threatened to tell

By the doctor that was only supposed to do a checkup

By the brother that held a knife to her throat and told her the pain would be over soon

By the same man that others said,


‘would never do such a thing.’

Because somehow suffocating the cries of violated women

is the best way to solve a problem no one wants to hear about.

Because those I once trusted put a limit on the amount of pain I was allowed to feel.

They focused on the amount of skin I was showing

The way I had my hair up

The way I talked,


and smiled.

They asked me if I was drunk,

or high,

or alone.

As if wearing a low cut shirt was an invitation

A bottle of beer sign of consent

As if the way I walked made me deserve what he did

As if the amount of makeup I wore determined the amount of damage he was allowed to do

As if the time of day made any god damn difference

As if teaching girls to hide themselves from the world gets rid of the problem.


Silencing the suppressed was easier for them than standing up for what was right.

Funny how it all works, isn’t it?

Funny, like a rape joke?

People with power play by the book as long as it’s written in their favor.

They fight only the battles they have no chance at losing

They practice hardening their hearts while preaching about compassion and persistence

They are afraid of the risks that need to be taken to achieve justice

They have more interest in protecting their reputation than their people

But even a dog remains untamed until it is taught the word no.


So why are men any different?


Why do we not teach our boys

That women are not objects

That they have a right to their bodies

That relationships do not validate perverse actions

That no does not need a reason to follow behind it

That they can no longer hide behind excuses

That they cannot force someone to do something they do not want to do,




The mask others forced onto my face

Was but a futile attempt to suppress the reality.


That is not who I am.

I will not stay silent.

I am not a coward.

I refuse to kill truth.

I peel away the last bit of my mask,

It’s about time I revealed m
y scars.


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