Part One: A Guidebook to Finding Love After Sexual Violence

14 Jun

When you tell him

About the scars that your body holds

The scars that he cannot see

But you fear he can feel

When you allow him to come into you

You anticipate his reaction

Knowing that maybe his attraction to you

Will break under the weight

Of the stories you have to tell in order to feel safe

In moments like those


If his attraction is threadbare and superficial it will surely break

Your mama will tell you that it’s better off that it did

Because he didn’t like you for you anyways

But warns you to keep your stories to yourself for longer

Because at 27 and single you can’t be scaring them men away

You try to act brave and shake it off

But there are still nights that you cry

Fists clenched and body rigid

Angry that after healing from the trauma of multiple rapes

You will have to carry the weight of the stories into each new beginning

In order to feel safe


The actions of men have imposed themselves on your tongue

And every time you use your voice

Tongue lifted in spite of strain

You are the strongest you’ve ever been

You speak of darkness, birth it into light, and are resurrected again


You have learned that you have to state

That you are not telling these stories

For their apologies for crimes they did not commit

I’m sorry

I’m sorry

I’m sorry that they did that to you…

You have no room in your pockets for anymore apologies

That is not why you have to tell these stories


When these men, some who truly are good men,

Hear of your harsh realities

You have learned to tell them

That showing their outrage and anger

Through cuss clouds and fury

Demanding names

            Demanding details

Demands that you find yourself victim again

And has more to do with their own emotional well being

Rather than yours


Some will want to handle you more carefully after that

Scared that a strong embrace or a slap on the ass

Will break you

Some will want to try to piece you together

And try to find their own redemption in loving you past and through your stories

You have learned to remind them

That you are not broken, will not break,

Because you have found the strength to rebuild yourself

By yourself

For yourself


You have seen avalanches of stars

Fall from the eyes of men

In these moments

When they take you from the status of goddess

And deem you victim

You have placed enough stars in your own night’s sky

To no longer fear the darkness

When they fall from a lover’s eye


Sometimes you telling your stories

Feels more like reciting facts from a war

You have heard of long ago

You begin to wonder if you are dangerously detached

Or if you have just worked that god damn hard on healing yourself


There are no guidebooks on how to navigate moments like these

After the incidents

After the PTSD

When you’re trying to find real love

While the geography of your vagina

Still exhibits the scars of a war torn territory


How do you find peace


you will forever have to face

moments like these?


You find it

in the same strength

that gives voice to story

that got you out of bed the mornings after

that kept you alive, kept you breathing

you find it in the moment you realized

you went through the whole god damn process

from victim, to survivor, to thriver

you are no longer victim, no longer survivor

and as cheezy as it is, you revel in the transition to thriver


You are the beauty of every constellation in the nights sky

Find peace girl,

find peace woman

in the knowledge that you are equal parts goddess, queen, and divine

and that is something

no on can ever take from you nor deny you.



Helen K

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