“Are you okay?”

he whispered.

He let go of my hand and moved it to my stomach.

“Are you okay?”

I was 14 and watching a movie with friends, sitting next to him. I couldn’t figure out why he was asking me that. But yeah, I was fine, thanks for asking? The movie kept playing and his hand moved lower.

“Are you okay?”

He wasn’t clear enough and I didn’t understand what he was doing until his hand slid into my underwear.

I didn’t want this. I wanted to watch a movie with my friends and sit with him and hold his hand. I didn’t want his hand touching me anywhere else, but before I could stop it, he was already there.

“Are you okay?”

My brain finally caught up with what was happening and I was able to say no and move his hand.

He thought he was asking for permission to get into my pants. Except, he wasn’t. He was violating me and asking me if I was okay with it while it was happening. And it all happened so quickly that I couldn’t process what was going on fast enough to respond.

I told my girlfriends what happened later that night and they congratulated me for “getting some” but I didn’t feel like I “got any” and I couldn’t shake the feeling that something about this encounter was wrong. I told myself it was just because he liked me and this is what happens and I should be proud of it.

It was years later when I was able to understand what I felt that night. I felt violated and shame and guilt. I blamed myself. Well, he did ask me if I was okay. It was my fault for not saying no any sooner than I did. I still have to remind myself that’s not the case.

This act, which still seems so small, was a defining moment of my teenage years. It taught me that a guy can move on you suddenly, even in a safe space when you’re surrounded by people you trust, and that the shock from that can temporarily paralyze you while things are happening to your body that you didn’t ask for.

“Are you okay?”

No.

2018-08-08T11:02:22+00:00