I burnt the remains of my outfit from that night.
I loved that skirt. My grandmother gave it to me.
But it reeks of the wine bar I met you in.
It also feels vaguely like the gravel road you slammed me into— The alley was wet, it had just stopped raining.
Hence the bar and the booze.
There are stains that even the deepest dry clean can’t remove. A couple of tears too.
All human error—some were yours, mostly mine.
Equal rights, same respect bullshit.
Feminism has made me too trusting.
I will not assume that simply because you are male that you will make me a statistic—but you did.
She pushed, he pulled. No, not pulled, yanked.
(I remember he yanked me towards him.)
And at inches away, she couldn’t claw his eyes out.
Your arms need more reach to build the momentum. Tight skirts leave no room to run, yet they tear quite easily. Like your skin.
His hand muffled her mouth, she tore at his fingers with her teeth. She broke his skin too.
But my wound was far bloodier.
He was draining me.
Every push up he pushed in to me pushed the life out of me. I couldn’t fight anymore.
I am a weak woman and he is a strong man—
at least that’s what the fresh bruises on my forearms
and inner thighs keep telling me.
Now here comes the blame game:
I don’t blame the alcohol, not entirely anyway.
I don’t blame myself…correction: I try not to blame myself.
I blame Sam—and the bartender, I blame him too.
Alcohol doesn’t pour itself.
I blame the gender binary that society automatically files us into when we are born.
I blame the parade of pink wallpaper, stationary, and crib sets that will signify my sex.
I blame the fire trucks and Lego sets and nunchucks that Sam was force fed by TV commercials, his father, and his friends.
I blame the unnatural peer pressure to display our masculinity or femininity with symbols
That puberty presents at age 13,
For boys, to bully, to tease, to play rough
For girls, to become a peacock and display yourself to attract a mate.
I blame the biological need women have to emotionally attach themselves to a partner and procreate.
While men are instinctively programmed to only make deposits.
What type of environment produces men to assault?
I will lock, deadbolt and triple check
The door to my mental cage and stronghold
And never go to any bar again,
For fear that the next stranger to offer to buy me a drink May attempt to offer my next outfit to the alleyway gods.
I may never come out.