3.

When do you tell a date you’ve been raped? Do you mention it when they grab your thigh under the table after the first beer? I can feel intent. Did their hand squeeze the skin hard enough to leave a red mark? Did they linger, hold your thigh in their hand for a few seconds? Or was it a grazing? A playful gesture because they saw your short skirt and your dewy leg with small accidental “i-just-shaved-in-a-hurry” knicks?

When do you tell a partner you’ve been raped? Before you tell them you love them? In a drunken 4 a.m. text after you saw an ex abuser at your favorite bar? When you start crying because they initiate sex when you’re too drunk and tired to really reciprocate?

I’ve put myself in a position to start that conversation early. Maybe they see this blog. Maybe they hear my voice in a piece about sexual assault on the radio. Maybe they add me on Facebook and see my vodka soda fueled rants about rapists in punk bands. Maybe it’s because I brought up Amber Heard on the first date. (I did that once, on a date at Caliente, and the person across the table from me stroked his beard and confidently says, “I think she was probably making it up. They both sound crazy.”)

There have been a few that stay after I tell them. They nod, they hug me, they wipe dried green snot and tears from my face, but at the same time, there is a sterility that wasn’t there before. I am an experiment. A victim. A walking statistic that says once this happens to us once, it will happen to us again.

Depending on the person, there could also be an unearthed evil. They hear my story and think my pain will translate into unabashed wild, rough group sex. They hear my story and think my pain means “let me ask you if I can hit you in the face before I do it.”

I am never the one you will fall in love with. I am good enough to stay out with until 3 a.m. I am good enough to stay in bed with because “I have the best ass you’ve ever seen.” I am good enough to give you the fun you think you deserve. I am good enough because I am 24 and don’t want to get married. I am good enough to fuel your drug habit. I am good enough to fuel your violence. I am good enough to fuel your ego.

I find someone I’m comfortable with and convince myself they’re my soulmate because they asked me about ____ before doing it to me.

It all stops when they realize I can’t relax. That I’m not fun anymore because all I can do is cry and whine and defend myself. The magic wears off. All that’s left is my perfect ass and my uncontrollable emotions. I am a complicated problem. I am a woman with no chill. I am an inconvenient victim.

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