I loved him.

His brown eyes and large hands

that held me too tight sometimes

His wanting that would turn me to stone

and the cold I felt when he held me – I loved him.

It wasn’t uncommon

when a loud and resounding ‘no’

clawed its way up my throat

but sound failed at my lips

my hands shaking too hard

to grasp the steering wheel of control

my mind reeling too fast

to differentiate right from wrong

and the only echo of refusal

screaming in my wide and frightened eyes

but left unnoticed

by lustful hands.

I kept telling myself I loved him

for far too long, I’m afraid

That I’d give anything to keep him happy

Little knowing, my dignity

and self respect

were part of the package.

In the last stages

of an abusive relationship

I fought to break free

And freedom I found

Too familiar with the fact that

refusal may have died at my lips

but demons were born within

In the deepest crevices of my being

they reached with dark hands

to claw at my sanity.


I was young and naïve and stupid

I didn’t know

What I should have known.

I never fully comprehended

the depth of sexual coercion

I never fully comprehended

that rape was not just forced

but it was also

what was happening to me

not until the unforgiving chains

of experience pulled at me

dragging me down

trapping me in the cynical darkness of my mind

blaming me for mistakes

I should have known better than to make

Engulfing me in a nothing

That spanned for months

A nothing that I did not know to fight

That did not want to


But regret is a piteous place to dwell in

And the pain from the past is also experience

Though scars run too deep

You must not forget, beauty flows endlessly

Though you were once preyed upon

By insipid vultures

You are strong

You are beautiful

And you will fight to break free

and it’s okay

To say no


It’s okay to refuse to be used

Or abused as a tool

As an object

You’ve got to know, you matter.

And no one’s going to make you

Any less than you are.


Originally published at Inappropriate Commas.