“When Your Rapist Friends You On Facebook” by Birdie Turner

February 16, 2016

You see the red indicator over the image of two heads in the right hand corner and you put your cursor over it and click. You inhale slightly and your pulse quickens when you see the name and his piercing green eyes that you will never, ever, forget.

You realize it’s been fourteen years since that night you awoke to find a cock in your ass, a man’s full weight against your back.

After all, it’s not rape if you never said no, right? It’s not rape if you were incapacitated by alcohol and lost control. It’s not what he would call rape because you wore that little pink halter top that showed the curves of your shoulders, how they ran from your soft neck, the color highlighting your moisturized, tanned skin, and the sun-bleached hair on your arms. It’s not rape if you wore daisy-dukes because it was summer, and it was hot, but your skin was cool, tempting him, your calf muscles proof of the high-heeled shoes you occasionally wore, but not that night, no, that night you wore sandals that showed your pink toenail polish, the silver ring on your second toe on your right foot, a silver chain-link ankle bracelet daintily hung below your tattoo of the smiling sun in yellow, green, red, and orange. It’s not rape because you wore no bra to hold your nipples tucked under a mound of padded fabric and you had a belly button piercing that you dared to share. It wasn’t rape because no one witnessed—what he did, felt what you felt when you woke up from your alcohol-induced daze to find a large object stuck in an orifice for exit-only functions, only knowing it hurt, it hurt so bad. It’s not rape if there’s no egg to fertilize, if the cum is wasted in shit, if the act is only practice for the rape he commits five years later that is bloody, brutal, proves he’s masochistic, and lands him in the state pen for ten years only so he can be released for good behavior three years early and get on social media to friend long-lost buddies.

Later, after you have processed the event in your own head, you tell your best friend over a glass of wine: My rapist friended me on Facebook, because you have learned that women need to lean on each other during these tribulations, because camaraderie brings you solace, because you learned that secrets will kill you, because sometimes silence is worse than what you imagine death to be. She inhales sharply and asks more as an expression of mortification than as an actual question: Why, why would he do such a thing? And you meet her horrified gaze evenly and you answer because you think she deserves one, that the question is valid and should probably be revisited more than once, you answer because the question is age-old and has probably been asked more than either of you would like to admit. You answer: Because it wasn’t rape to him.

 

Birdie_DrawingBirdie Turner has an MA from the University of South Dakota. She currently attends Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in the MFA program for Fiction. Her poetry and prose has been published in Diverse Voices Quarterly, HeadStuff.org, Blotterature, and elsewhere. Birdie currently is revising her first novel as she begins work on the second.

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