September 8, 2015

I Said No. He Didn’t Hear Me.

Flickr/Alessio Maffeis

I share this poem today because I can’t not share it anymore.

So many of us have had sexually violating experiences that don’t quite fit into any pre-defined category—so we don’t talk about them. The silence is dark and exhausting, and it weighs a ton.

When we’re ready, let’s speak up—loudly.

Let’s raise our voices and tell our stories and step into our gorgeous magnificence, becoming the vibrant, badass souls we are meant to be.

Here is my story. Here is my voice.

Today, I take back my power.


“No,” I said.

“This is moving way too fast,” I said.

It was our first and only date,

His hands roamed up and down the curves of my body, relentlessly.

“Come on, you obviously want it,” he said, kissing me with disgusting desperation.

“No,” I said, this time loudly, boldly.

But he didn’t hear me.

I was scared—he was twice my size,

So I gave into his passionate whims and pretended to enjoy his bold advances

Until afterwards—when I crumbled and fell apart, like a pearl necklace spilling onto the cold, tile floor.

“I think I was raped,” I told a friend that night over a glass of bubbly white wine, my eyes wide with terror.

But could it really be rape?

It seemed subtler, so much more confusing than that.

All I knew for sure was that I felt violated, shaky and nauseous.

I hated myself for what happened.

Was it my fault?

I had a bad, dark feeling when I met him—but I muted my intuition, not hearing the pangs of warning in my gut.

Days passed, and I cried rivers of frustrated tears, ’till I was empty and exhausted.

He sent me chocolates—Dove dark chocolates, my favorite.

It wasn’t a sweet gesture, because all sweetness has dissipated when he overpowered me

And pressured me

And scared me.

I had never felt so small, so helpless, so powerless, in my life.

He called repeatedly, leaving lots of confused voicemails, wondering why he hadn’t heard from me.

I got angry.

Angry enough to realize it wasn’t my fault.

Finally, I collected every drop of my courage and returned his calls.

Trembling furiously, voice shaking, stomach churning, tears forming in my eyes,

I told him I did not want to see him again.


I told him I was not okay with what happened between us.

At all.

“Why?” he said, completely clueless, clearly annoyed.

I really had to explain it to him?

I had to sit there and explain it to him?

He never even said sorry.

He just got irritated and told me I was overreacting—that I had it all wrong.

He thought that would make everything okay.

But it didn’t.

Because I said no.

And he heard me.

He just pretended not to.



Say No, Even After. 


Author: Sarah Harvey

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Alessio Maffeis

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