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  • Lindsay S. Wheeler

Don't Go

“Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. And every 8 minutes, that victim is a child. Meanwhile, only 6 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison.” “Just another victim” has become an unfortunate part of everyday dialogues in this society. The problem is perpetuated by a dangerous culture of victim blaming and a law system favoring those in positions of power. Victims, drowned by low self-worth and inadequate care, face mental health challenges after sexual assault at a proportionally high rate.

Please note that this may be triggering if you are adversely affected by accounts of sexual violence.

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Don’t go just because it hurts to be someone else’s science experiment

To be the forgotten garbage of someone who is done using you

Don’t go because no one looked for you

Because it cut you just deep enough to leave a wound that would go unnoticed

Because you were made nothing that night

Don’t go, even if it hurts to stay

Don’t go because sometimes it feels easier to go than to stay

Because you feel like an unimportant part of someone else’s story

Because you were a lab rat tossed in someone else’s cage

Because your stomach still aches when you see floral wallpaper

Or because you know what $17 Sex Panther cologne and total apathy smell like when they mix

Don’t go because you were a kid forced to be a grownup

Or because you are now a grownup forced to be a kid

Because you never wanted to smell Sex Panther cologne again

But now you can’t smell anything else

Don’t go because you were someone else’s science experiment before you knew what gravity was

Don’t go at the thought of dried blood on a bed or the sight of dried blood on a sleeve

Don’t go because cutting deeper only makes you hurt more

Don’t go because of his big fake smile or the ice cream you threw up after he gave it to you at 7-Eleven

Don’t go because he said “you’re a good girl” and “good girls get ice cream”

You were a “good girl” that night and so you also got butterfly kisses and pats on the head

Don’t go because he minimized you to just a girl with a parent who didn’t know how to be a parent

Because he believed if he patted you on the head like a good girl, what happened after wouldn’t be as bad

Because he believed you would tell yourself you wanted it

Because he believed that a “favor” wouldn’t count as a crime

Don’t go because some guy at the gas station didn’t have the guts to help you even though he saw the way you gripped the arm rest

Because he knew your late night drive might end in bloodshot, wide open eyes that couldn’t blink; a perfectly good body that couldn’t move

Don’t go because he saw you and did nothing

Don’t go because of the sunrise that made you think your worst night was over

Or the ones that still remind you it will never be over

Don’t go because you can’t help but feel scared at dusk now

Because hope became loss on that eerie mountain trail

Because relief became self-loathing when you were left on the driveway you learned to ride a bike on years before

Don’t go because of someone else’s mistake

You are not just someone else’s mistake

Don’t go because someone broken broke you too

Because of burst capillaries in your eyes and bruises on your neck

Because you will never feel completely safe in your body

Because you can shower for an hour and still feel dirty

Don’t go because you were someone else’s science experiment

Before you read the chapter on “cause and effect”

Don’t go because you are still living the “effect”

Don’t go until you write on paper that you are not to blame

Until you write it however many times it takes to actually believe it

I am still writing

Don’t go



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