…it’s because he likes you.
I’ve heard these words a few times in my life. I also lost my father at 13. I blame no one but myself for what shaped me into the cautious woman I am. The fist fighter. The one that’s a bit too loud, or says too much. I want you to know about me, because I don’t want anyone to ever be me. Without the family I have, I would be a different person. I was shaped by events in my life, but always lifted by those around me. Some are not as blessed, their stories are tangled webs they’ve never been able to unweave. After subjecting myself to one situation or another, I found my path and ran down it, but I am here now because I need you to help the future.
I ask you to never teach your kids the phrase, it’s because he likes you. Or she. If you’re saying that, you’re perpetuating behavior abusive to your child. And below, I will share some stories. And they will make you uncomfortable. And they are raw and revealing and this post is not edited and my husband nor mother has ever seen it. And it could be ugly. But after seeing this:
It’s not my fault. I can say that it’s not my fault.
Because you got the Zima and I got drunk. I was underage. Maybe I didn’t say “no” because I couldn’t. You stopped me with hands other than my own. Pinned high above my head that was frantically shaking. You didn’t even kiss me- you knew I would bite- but you smiled after.
You’re so pretty.
Broken and torn. My body was never the same. It was never mine again.
Because you were mad I went out with my friends. I said I was sorry. I called you. We spoke. You said to have fun. You said it was OK. You were waiting for me, because you had no plans on that Friday night. And then you got me flowers. You came back again and again, and I asked you to stop. Our teeth left impressions on fists. Blood sprayed like tie-dye on the concrete. We argued until the police were called. They knocked. You told me not to answer the door.
You fucking did this.
You practically spit words in my face, then you kissed it, holding my cheeks hard.
Because I didn’t know many people on your team. But you liked me. And you held my hand at the party. And I sipped those drinks because everyone else did and they were OK, but then I wasn’t. And you were behind me pushing my face into vomit. …and if it wasn’t for a teammate of yours, I would have stayed there ’til morning. I’m sure. I can remember the shower and wearing clothes too big for me. And falling asleep in my own bed. And I was safe. But you didn’t bring me there. Because if you liked me you wouldn’t do these things. Would you?
And if we love our daughters, we won’t teach them that he likes us because he pushes us. Or calls us names. Or puts gum in our hair. Or because boys are boys.
Because it’s not my fault. It was my gateway drug. Because it kept happening time and time again. Because the common denominator was me. It was my fault. I was a good victim. But he likes me, I reasoned.
Because if he likes you, he will tell you so. He will hold your hand, and kiss the thin, smooth skin that covers your knuckles. He will tell you the things he likes best, his favorite memories, his hopes for the future. He will stroke your hair and dry your eyes. He will not raise a fist or force himself on you. Because wanting to have power over you is not love. Not ever.
Our bodies are not a cars parked in a shady part of town. Our bodies are not the front door left open. Our bodies are humans. Be human. #NeverYourFault