You Have the Right to Remain Silent in the Face of #METOO
I have a scar on my left forearm in the shape of a flat-head screwdriver. It was my punishment for saying no — my forever reminder of a guy I wouldn’t let have me. I can’t even remember his name. Isn’t that stupid? What I remember is the boy who branded me in his honor, because he was dared.
Right across the street from my house, after I got off the bus from school, this boy took a lighter to a screwdriver until it was red, and grabbed my arm.
I didn’t tell anyone until this year what that boy did to me, and I didn’t say his name.
I don’t have to. That’s my right.
The burning of my arm wasn’t sexual in nature, but the motivation behind it was. And so were the relentless phone calls my father fielded from a guy screaming that he owned me and demanding his right to speak to me. He felt I belonged to him — even though I’d never so much as stood within the same ten foot space, mostly because I was too afraid to run away — because he liked me. He would not take no for an answer.
I’m pretty sure I begged my father not to call the police, because I was more afraid of what would happen to me if he did. Or maybe that’s the story I made up in my mind because my father never suggested that as an option. I honestly don’t remember. What I do remember is that I stayed in my house like a captive for a whole week so that he would forget about me and move on, and that’s what happened.
And so I was branded in this small way, for the rest of my life, as a reminder of what happens when you’re fourteen years old and decide to reject the advances of a high school boy.
It was not the first or last time I was assaulted, but comparatively, it’s the most minor incident I can recall. Being branded forever on my forearm with a piping hot screwdriver is the least damaging, embarrassing incident I can think of, and that makes me sick. I wrote an entire post about some of the more intrusive and invasive experiences last week, and then decided I’m not ready to publish it.