Last Friday at school, a boy walked up behind my daughter, put his hand on her shoulder and said, “Did you know that 99% of all rapes begin with some kind of casual contact?”
Pause for a moment. Let it sink in.
The hand on her shoulder. The word “rape” mouthed so casually. Her surprise. Her attempt to brush it off. The snide look on his face. The boys in the background, snickering or pretending not to hear. The utter absence of allies or adults. The snide look on his face. The hand on her shoulder.
This is not the first time this boy has harassed my daughter. Ever since the beginning of the year, this boy has been making verbal jabs in her direction. When she participates in classroom discussion, he derides her. He says mean, untrue things about her to his friends. He comments on what she’s wearing and now, even when it’s warm, she won’t wear shorts or a tank top. The teachers know, the counselors know, and they say it’s all under control.
We’re talking about a girl who sleeps with stuffed animals, who thinks that the worst words a person can say are “stupid” and “hate,” who still halfway believes in Santa Claus, a girl who doesn’t really know exactly what rape is and certainly doesn’t understand why. “What’s a prostitute?” She asked me one day. “Today, he called me a prostitute.” She is completely baffled by his animosity but she doesn’t want to get him in trouble. She no longer feels safe at school. She is 11 years old.
I won’t describe to you the dark places where my mind has gone since Friday. I could tell you but I won’t, because it’s just too twisted. I feel toxic from the poison churning inside me. I can’t sleep because I can’t stop thinking about it.
I don’t know what I’m going to do on Monday, but I’m going to do it with everything I have. I feel like a boxer sitting in the corner, flexing my muscles, waiting for the bell to ring.
Please excuse the fact that this post is unlike all my others. It does not exactly jibe with the usual one of my blog, but I couldn’t hold it in.
What would you do?
To see an update on this post, click here.