During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, “Not for Ourselves Alone” is running a special series called 30 Days of Bodyshaming, designed to give a voice to the many different experiences of girls and women. This series will feature guest posts by professors, writers, a nutritionist, a cartoonist, young girls, and mothers. Gut wrenching and honest, these stories are presented in an attempt to bring about a deeper understanding of the plight of girls and women as we make our way in world that, for us, is hostile at its best and violent at its worst.
Out of Body Experience
by Faith Rice
(I was once told that men make the best monsters)
My mind wonders how I let him lure me here.
My nose remembers the smell of the boy
who left me because I wouldn’t give him my virginity.
My lips remember being forcefully kissed
my tongue remembers running from his
Under the covers while my aunt and uncle
were in the next room,
Unable to hear my hands pushing against his chest.
My ears remember hearing heavy breathing
between my asking, no, telling him to stop.
They remember hearing my shirt buttons
hitting the floor, cloth ripping,
My neck remembers having hands wrapped
Around them like a Christmas bow, perfectly placed.
My back remembers being
Pinned to a wall, a bed, an elevator, a floor.
They always get you when you’re alone.
My breasts remembers feeling the chills from the
Air, then the cold of the concrete wall,
then the cold from his mouth.
Yes, it was cold.
My hips remember hands going past them
To get to my ass, then my pants buttons
Just let me put it in.
Men always want something, nights are never free.
My stomach remembers exerting all of its muscles
From screaming, from breathing, from fear.
My vagina remembers wincing, from dreadful
I can’t let him get there.
My arms remember being tired, strong enough to stall,
Too weak to keep stalling, to keep fighting.
My hands fight, move, flutter, hit, pull,
push, block, move, look for a way out.
My elbows hurt from hitting against the hard place.
The thighs squeeze together to keep him from getting in,
Because if he does….it’s over.
There’s no safe…..only safer.
My calves try to reach up far enough to aid my arms,
My hands, my thighs in blocking his hands, his penis.
My knees try to find his pelvis, his stomach,
any place that will give me leverage.
My feet swing, kick, slip, slide, try to get a grip
So I can get from under him.
My body remembers but I forget…
What it’s like to be able to claim something
as my own.
Faith Rice, Book Group Leader
Ms. Rice is a spoken word poet, playwright, independent instructor, and director. She has won awards in visual arts, open mic competitions, talent shows, and youth leadership and violence prevention. She has also co-written and directed a live hip-hopera, I Cry, and a play based on the biography of Blair Holt. In 2008, she founded a spoken word organization called Verbatim which has currently evolved into its sister organization West Side School for the Desperate. In 2011 she became a national poet and spokesperson for STRYVE Network, an organization that is dedicated to increasing awareness of youth violence. Faith graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Poetry at Columbia College Chicago in 2010 and received her Masters of Science in Child Development in 2013. After Completing two years as a Teach for America Corps Member, she is currently pursuing her poetry and being a youth advocate full time.