What I wrote about it is under the cut, and I'm going to write more about it, also under the cut.
Got to Donald’s building.
Climbed the stairs.
Let myself in.
Sat on the couch.
Did not move.
Half an hour later, Donald got home… he walked in, nodded at me, and set a pot on the stove. Looked at me again. Said, “… what happened?”
And for the first time, I said, “I was raped.”
Snapshots: Donald grabbing my knife, my Gil Hibben Double Shadow. Telling me we had to go to the hospital.
Walking. Taking the bridge over Maryland. Not talking. Arriving at the hospital. Writing on the ER sign-in sheet. Name: _____________. Reason for visit: Was just raped.
They apparently do not handle rapes at this hospital. You have to go to County General. But they pay for the taxi to get you there. Which is thoughtful, considering. And we get in the taxi, and we still do not talk.
The other hospital. Donald fetches me a Coke as we wait for the police and for the woman with the rape kit. And at this point, I star t really having to pee. But you can’t pee when you’ve just been raped. They need samples of his semen for DNA matching. I know this and, knowing it, do not pee. I hold his semen inside me, waiting. Not speaking. The police arrive and interrogate me, and I answer, using as few words as possible. The woman with the rape kit arrives, and I go in a little room and carefully undress, and she scrapes my insides out. She collects every particle that her tools are capable of collecting from my vagina. She swabs my anus, the corners of my mouth, my gums, even, with cotton swabs. Evidence. Everything is evidence: my fluids and his. In neat little packages, little Ziploc bags, the evidence of what has been done to me. She combs out my pubic hair with a very small comb, and takes every hair that isn’t mine.
He has even left evidence of himself in my hair. My wrists are chafed bloody. Likewise the corners of my mouth. And I feel like this isn’t all, that I’ll be finding evidence my whole life, in every dark corner. Like his violation of me will never really end. And the woman with the rape kit is delighted, she’s crowing, “Oh, honey, another hair! Oh, we’ve got him!” but I don’t want him. I want this not to be.
And it will never not be, now.
I reach for my shirt, and the woman with the rape kit forbids this: My clothing is now evidence, as well, to be folded into plastic bags, in case the pants have sperm on the leg of something. She has brought me clothes. Secondhand. Donated for this purpose. And she dresses me in yellow sweatpants and a green tank top. No bra. And no panties. The seam of the sweatpants hurts, because I hurt there; his saliva was not enough. And I thank any god that may be listening that I never got wet during this. And curse them for not giving me underwear.
It never goes away.
Time passes, a dozen years pass, and you forget birthdays, you forget phone numbers, you forget the faces and voices of people you thought you'd know forever.
But you never forget anything about that night. Not one little detail.
You never forget standing over paper as you undress in front of this stranger, second stranger tonight to see you naked, handing her your clothes so she can gently shake them out.
There is evidence of him all over you. That's why she has to do all of these things. His sweat. His skin. His pubic hair. He's marked you like a cat pissing on a wall. No amount of showering gets this off.
You keep looking at your wrists. They have been chafed bloody. You can't see your mouth, but you feel the edges of it stretched and torn.
You didn't fight. You didn't struggle. He didn't have to do that.
You sit very still as she combs out your hair. You try to stop shaking.
You focus on the blood on your wrists. You didn't fight, you didn't struggle; you went limp, which this stranger praises. They get off on the struggle. You didn't give him that.
But he hurt you anyway.
The world doesn't make sense. How can this have happened? How can you be in a hospital room holding a rapist's semen inside you? You just went for a walk. Just a short walk. And the world changed.
She swabs you everywhere.
Because he has been everywhere.
Twelve years later, you are actually totally okay; you have built a good life. You have even revisited the scene of the crime, and he no longer haunts you.
But that too-bright room where you undressed, where they collected the evidence of him. The stretched corners of your mouth. The blood on your wrists. That's still there.