Written by Gabriela Camarena.
Graphic by Peyton Cabaniss.

Originally published as part of the Spring 2019 “Challenge” Issue.

**Content Warning: Sexual Assault**

I saw a woman on the news,

Her stance was bold and strong.

She spoke the words we know are true,

But still they say she’s wrong.

I saw a woman on the news,

Different than she before,

But strong and bold within their view,

Defiant to their roar.

I’ve heard this story once before,

My mother sobbing on the floor,

She knows why.

It was the dress,

Torn and stained and still a mess.

Another voice, her lips turned down,

It’s quiet and she is meek.

My eyes lingered for too long-

She stops and begins to weep.

They said it was the way I walked,

My heels were much too high,

I called my father and I talked,

“But, honey, he’s such a good guy.”

I stopped on the block,

I had a drink,

Just one was all it took.

My eyes fell heavy,

My legs grew weak,

I paused for a moment,

It was too late,

He’d asked the question,

I’d sealed my fate.

The lights went out,

My thoughts shut down,

I dared not make a sound.

I filed a report,

I faced the judge,

“Your sorrows did you drown?”

On that night I drank my weight,

But still I did not make the date,

His father begged my words to change,

“It was one mistake, he will be shamed.”

He was an athlete,

He was a scholar,

I was only my mother’s daughter,

“You knew his name, you placed the blame.”

I was only seeking fame.

My lips were red,

The odds were stacked,

It was the way that my hair fell down my back.

It wasn’t his fault,

They weren’t his hands,

He is an honest, God-fearing man.

I must be confused,

I must be mistaken,

But I know what is true of the night I was taken.

It wasn’t my hair,

My lips,

My dress,

It wasn’t the smell left on my breath,

I know at what cost I speak my truth,

Standing here within your view.

I did not deceive,

I did not ensnare,

I did not invite you with my stare.

Your life is ruined they cry for you,

They make their calls,

I’m in the news.

I am not strong,

I am not bold,

I am afraid and I feel small.

She stands and says me too.

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