WARNING: My post contains sensitive themes (think Steubenville and Halifax[Rehtaeh Parsons]). Some swearing is also included.
I (Ermisenda) need to communicate and express my utter disappointment in our world at the moment with these terrible events. Slut-shaming is NOT okay, victim-blaming is NOT okay. The only REASON for rape is the RAPIST. Not clothes, not alcohol, not the way you talk, or the way you act.
I urge people to join in, comment with your paragraph of fiction to accompany the image. It doesn’t have to follow my story or reflect the same themes. It can be a poem or in a different language (provide a translation please ). Anyone who wants to join in, is welcome. This photograph will be reblogged under Ermisenda on tumblr and added to the Picture it & Write gallery on Facebook and Pinterest.
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Slam! Someone smashed their hand against a locker, sending a reverberation through the hallway. I flinched, turning my head to investigate. Two 18-year olds boys were harassing a 17-year old girl from my year.
I wasn’t sure what to believe as of late. There had been rumours that last night’s party had lost control. I had been planning to go to this party but ended up opting out. There were too many assignments I wanted to finish.
The boys were whispering, malicious and dirty things were flying from their mouths. I couldn’t quite grasp the words. The girl cowered. People had been talking about some ‘sexy’ stuff that had gone down.
My friend Janine whispered into my ear as we watched, “she was so shit-faced drunk last night. She ended up sleeping with like four different guys. At one point I think she had two guys at once. Such a slut. One of them even had a girlfriend.”
One of the boys ran his fingers down the girl’s back, causing her to move away. This didn’t look like something she was happy about. My blood was beginning to boil.
“What the fuck is your problem? Leave her the fuck alone.” I hoped my generous use of swearing would ward the guys off. I wasn’t a particularly intimidating girl. My hair lay weak and limp on my head, like my arms by my sides.
“She likes it.” One of the boys snickered.
“No, she doesn’t.” I looked over at her, she was averting her eyes.
“I even have photos of her smiling with–“
I grabbed his phone and smashed it against the ground. I wasn’t sure what was coming over me but the anger was too much to contain. Fury flashed behind his eyes. His hand raised suddenly but his friend pulled it back for him.
“Rot in hell,” I spat.
Pulling the girl away, I stormed off in the other direction, ignoring the ‘Whore’ stickers on her locker. Janine, horrified, didn’t follow. Gossiping whispers filled the hallway, boys and girls scrunched their noses at the sight of the girl.
Away from the lockers and beneath a tree in the school yard, I turned her to face me. Tears were streaming down her face. Choking on her tears, she struggled to speak.
“No– No– No-one. I have no-one. And no-one b–believes me.”
“Believes what?” I asked. I was sick of misogynistic guys in my school blaming girls when they didn’t want the responsibility. I hated the bitching disease everyone was adamant on spreading. I hated that promiscuous girls were sluts but guys were studs.
“I d–didn’t know. I was p–passed out. I w–woke up with…my–my clothes…” she broke into uncontrollable sobs.
I had never cared much for this girl. I didn’t even remember her name. Guilt stabbed me in the gut. A living breathing human being was before me, in such suffering and grief, and I couldn’t even utter her name in comfort. I wasn’t sure what to do.
Her phone beeped. I couldn’t help but look at the screen with her. A text message from Sarah, a former friend, stating ‘You shouldn’t have gotten so drunk. Everyone thinks you’re a whore.’
The tears cascaded once more from the girl’s face. I shook my head firmly.
“No,” my voice didn’t waver. “It’s not your fault. They,” I hissed, “shouldn’t have touched you.”
I didn’t care if people could see us. I didn’t care about the rumours that started after. I became the ‘whore’s friend’ and I couldn’t care less. She had been exiled from her peers for a wrong that others had done to her. I had heard the stories on the news. This girl was in danger of committing suicide.
My humanity kicked in, I cared about her. I wanted to get back at these scumbags. Both the perpetrators and the judgmental gossipers. I was about to tell her that she would have to change her phone number. If she wanted to use the internet, she would have to make a new name. That she would have to remove her Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. But I didn’t do it just now. This crying mess needed something else, something any ostracised person would need.
I reached out and touched her shoulder. She leaped into me with a hug and clung on as if her life depended on it.
– Ermisenda Alvarez
P.S. I hate to think that someone in desperate need of company and humanity has ever crossed Ermilia and was hesitant to talk. I urge anyone who just wants to chat to send me an email or add me on Facebook. You are not alone. I care about you.
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