The Consent Workshop Sleep Was My Escape (TW)
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I was not the perfect victim. I get slut-shamed to this very day, because I was not your good girl with the long skirts. I am constantly told I must have asked for it, that I didn’t fight back enough. I froze.

Olohije Oyakhire 

They didn’t understand my reaction to this violence. Sexual Violence, a term I have come to prefer saying in place of the four letter word that means I have been tainted. My soul was darkened by that morning and I don’t think I can ever be free.

He is coming back.

I still see him in my dreams, his tall frame and leather jacket against the blue walls with the movie posters. The difference though, between my incessant dreaming and reality is that I get to escape in my dreams. I get to muster enough strength to run away. I get to wake up and laugh an insecure laugh. In reality, my life was ruined in the worst possible way.

Sleeping became my escape. Staying in a unconscious state made me feel safe. His sentence was coming closer to an end, and sleep, my coping mechanism, began to fail me. I kept dreaming about that morning. How did 7 years go by so fast? and why was 7 years deemed enough penance for destroying my reality and invading my dreams?

I’d stopped going to Starbucks since that morning, it was were we met. I wanted to erase all memories of him like in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind. My mind is now a black hole of negative thoughts. I was tired. I still am exhausted. I am tired of being afraid that he will be back for me. I was not safe. I am not safe. It’s worse now, because in my sleep I am not free of him, or that night.

For seven years the triggers have been random. I once cried at the mall after having spotted a man wearing an identical shirt. I cry on the 23rd of June. It is the day I died, it is the day he killed me.

“Are you ready to release your juices?”

I said NO countless times. I said NO to his crass question that I should not have had to respond to. I tried to hold on to the lavender sheets on the bed, to hold on to who I was before that morning. I was helpless. I still am. I am not free in reality, now I am not free in my dreams. Why does he get to stay alive when he killed me?

He’ll be back and he’ll kill me again. But not if I beat him to it.

NB: This is a work of fiction. It is meant to depict the possible realities of survivors in the face of lax punishments on predators, by justice systems in most countries.

Images: Peter/Flickr

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