They wanted you to apologize
to the boy who was filmed
raping your unconscious fourteen-year-old body;
said the case had to be dismissed.
And it was.
It was. Despite the confession, the rape kit,
the video passed around your high school,
the grandson of the state representative
is attending college, tweeting unrepentant
about how all women want the D.
Two years later, after you have tried twice to die,
I see your story; Anonymous swearing justice,
people saying you wanted it,
that small-town girls are just sluts,
even the fourteen-year-olds, younger than the sister
I left in my own tiny county.
I am forced to remember: the scalding looks
shot across the aisles of my Baptist church
(the first place he ever spoke to me,
twenty-seven years of experience
leveled against a misplaced thirteen-year-old);
the woman who lectured me on taking responsibility
for my own actions, that it was a mistake,
one he would suffer for more than I would.
The pastor telling my parents
that his family needed the support more,
as if that explained why he sat
on their side of the courtroom while I sat
on mine, staring at the brown of his head,
listening to gray-haired deacons testify
that he was a good man, understanding the implication:
I was not a good girl, making a big deal out of nothing,
how could it be rape I never said no
to anything he asked of me except my little sister --
then I said I would kill him
if he touched her.
It’s been eight years.
I still can’t say “I was raped”
without adding “It was only statutory,”
but for us, the girls and women and boys and men
who daily swallow the words
I write in first-person,
add my shaking hands and voice to yours
because none of us should have to live
wondering what we did
to be blamed for this.