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Dear Coward

For the sake of this letter, I will refer to you as such because that is what you are. I will not give you the glory nor have I the strength to reveal your name.
You were visiting my college campus for your best friend’s birthday who coincidentally lived in the same apartment building as I. We only met by chance because of a mutual friend who I have been friends with since middle school. She trusted you and was excited to catch up after a long first semester away at college. The 3 of us met up at the concert my school was hosting. You were so nice and funny and easy going and you laughed at my jokes. Halfway through the concert I decided you were a good guy, I’ve always had guy friends and thought my judgment was good. You left before the concert was over to set up for the party and quickly extended an invitation to me and our other girlfriend who was about to get off form work.

My girlfriends and I hurried to get ready because the party was well underway and were excited for a good time. I couldn’t help but think how convenient it was that the party was just a floor below me and looked forward to it. Once we got there we quickly realized how drunk everyone already was and collectively decided “we needed to catch up” and so we did.

Eventually, the four of us ended up at my apartment. I remember crawling into my bed while my two girlfriends called their uber and couldn’t wait to close my eyes. I remember you so easily taking it upon yourself to get comfortable and nudged your way in next to me. I remember thinking nothing of it. We were all drunk and ready to be comfortable. I remember our mutual friend telling you to leave me alone, that I didn’t want to be bothered. Your reply “I’m leaving her alone, I’m just laying.” With them there I still felt safe. My guard was down. She made you walk the 2 of them down to their uber and as the three of you walked yourselvs out I heard her- and it haunts me still, “Don’t you come back up here and bother her”. My bedroom was closest to the front door and our front door didn’t have a lock per say but locked once closed and needed a fob to be reopened. Until the night I had always hated how inconvenient that was and often times when having gatherings if you gently didn’t allow it to close all the way you didn’t need a fob to get back in. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

As I heard you guys let yourselves out I dragged myself out of bed and to the bathroom where I immediately turn the water on so that it would get warm to wash that night’s make up and sweat off. I quickly undressed and was just rinsing the soap off when I heard the front door open. Assuming it was just one of my roommates getting home I carried on with my nightly routine- priding myself on the responsibility I still had in my current state.

Once all ready for bed, I left the bathroom to go back into the bedroom to throw on my jammies and noticed under my covers a human sized figured. Instantly I ran for the towel in my bathroom and nervously stuttered a “hello”. You popped your head out and I yelped, quickly telling you our friend would not be happy that you came back, that I was tired and ready for bed, that you should go back to your friends, that this was inappropriate. You wouldn’t move. I quickly grabbed the first clothes I could find- a large highschool varsity volleyball pull-over I was given as a gift when I was a senior and teal boy shorts that said “not a morning person” on the backside.

For months I told myself that’s where I went wrong. That I had initiated because of my clothing. That I had invited your efforts. I had asked for this. But you know that’s not true.

I told you that you needed to leave, but you refused saying that “we weren’t doing anything”. You thought you were being cheeky and cute, but your refusal was terrifying and absolute. I didn’t want to overreact or make you angry- remember you were still just a strangers and we had only met just hours before and you were such good friends with our friend. I went out to get water after again insisting you head back. I took my time. I drank exactly three glasses of water and refilled my cup again before heading into my room. You came into the kitchen while I refilled my glass and I thought that this was my chance to force you out. Before I could even open the front door you had already reached my bedroom door and closed it behind you and I followed wanting to believe that you were right. That nothing was going to happen.

When I made it around the corner back into my room you were already in my bed. When I went to put my water on my nightstand, you blind-sided me and pulled me down to you.

Do you remember how I strained my neck as you attempted to kiss my mouth? How I tried my hardest to dodge your disgusting, violent mouth? How when you bit my mouth in an effort to open it- already bruised by you it began to bleed? Do you remember how many times I asked you to stop? How I tried to twist and turn, but you continued to hold me down.

I remember your hot, alcohol breathe. How your eyes drooped with drunkenness, but your hands and grip never faltered. I remember in my flight or fight instincts kicking in and realizing I could either fight my way out or stop resisting and pray to anyone or thing that you would be done quickly.

I had given up. But you already felt that, didn’t you? Felt the body you stole for yourself that moments before strained against your might, go slack as it released to your manipulation. Its mouth open to let you think you had finally succeeded and robbed it a kiss. Your hands went to its waist and then under its waist band. That body began to plead with as much reason and calamity it could muster.

“I’m on my period,” in you dug”I forgot to take my pill”, again “I’m too drunk” its shorts begin to rip”You’re too drunk” pain and scratching. That body cried silent tears and stretched its neck as far away from your reach as it could afraid its tears would just anger you more. You tried to kiss that limp body and tried to move it into more appealing positions. The body remained limp.

Finally, you stopped. “okay, okay fine. don’t make it a thing.” The body slipped out from under you to face the wall, its back to you.

My shell of a body must’ve had been tense, did you ask yourself why? Was it not clear to you that you had taken what I had not offered? That my consent and body was not given to you? “Here let me rub your back”, you said and pushed me onto my stomach. That body in that moment was no longer mine.

You pushed its shirt up, but still was able to keep it bunched at my shoulders. “hey I like this palm tree” and traced the matching tattoo my body had gotten when it was my own with my two best friends. You didn’t even rub its back. Did you realize that? You instantly went to its backside “your ass is so nice”, I can’t telll you how many times you said it. “arch your back” and the body’s voice replied “no, please stop”. You pulled by its legs and edged it closer to the bottom of the bed slowly forcing a subtle arch to its back, your hand firmly pushed into its lower back. Again, you penetrated what remained. Again, the body voice pleaded “please stop”.

I thought I had given up when I let you think I was kissing you. But, this time I had truly given up.

I still until this day do not remember what all you did to me as you “rubbed my back”. But you do, don’t you? I hope you enjoyed yourself. I hope it was worth it. I hope you never touch a woman again. I can’t remember how I gained the upper hand or how much time had passed before you had lost control, but quickly with tears streaming down my face- did you see them? did you get a good look at my face? I remember yours- pushed you off of MY body, off MY bed, through MY door telling you I needed to sleep that our friend would not like this.

I literally pushed you through our front door. Do you remember how quickly I firmly closed that door that you so easily disrespected just as you had my body?
I sat there for 45 minutes, staring at it, pushing at it every few minutes to ensure it was really closed this time.

I slept on my bathroom floor that night and avoided my bed for almost 2 weeks.

I still until this day cannot look at that pullover. I threw away my shorts. I check the door 7 times before ever turning my back to it and retreating to my bedroom- even still.

That body is my own. It was never yours to take.

— Alyssa, age 20

1 comment

  • Alexis

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