Ladies, you will be eleven the first time a boy tries to kiss you and you will wonder if it’s normal to be this nervous. you will regret it within the hour because society has taught you that you are worth nothing more than your purity. you will feel dirty and disgusting and spend the next hour trying to scrub the trace of him from your lips.
Ladies, you will be fifteen the first time a boy asks you out. maybe you will fall in love. maybe you won’t. all you know is it feels wrong when his hands wander to places they shouldn’t. you will get nervous because you have been taught that only sluts will give in but only prudes won’t. he will try to get what he wants and you will not find the strength to fight him off. you will ask him to stop through your tears and he will tell you “you don’t know how to have fun.” you will remember his words and you will remember that, in this world, it doesn’t matter what you want, all that matters is that boys have their fun.
Ladies, you will be nineteen the first time a boy is just a little too drunk. he will not stop even when you ask him to. he will whisper in your ear and it will make you want to throw up your dinner. he will break every inch of you he touches and he will leave you to pick up your own pieces. he will not listen because he does not care. the words “no” and “stop” have failed you again and you will start wonder if they mean anything anymore.
Ladies, you will be twenty-two the first time a boy you thought you loved leaves you broken after he has had his fun. you will remember all that matters is boys having their fun but it feels wrong that you have to feel so shattered inside. your friends will tell you it doesn’t matter because you were already dating and you will begin to believe them.
Ladies, you will be twenty-four the first time you realize you may never be safe. you will realize nothing in this world is protecting you from your biggest fear. you will live your life with everyone telling you “not all men” but that’s not what you remember. you remember rubbing your skin until you bleed because maybe then you wouldn’t feel his touch on you. you remember burning your clothes and cutting your hair because maybe then his scent wouldn’t follow you. you remember the man who struck up a perfectly regular conversation with you yesterday but for some reason you were uncomfortable, you were scared. you remember walking through a dark alley last week with pepper spray in your hand. you remember your daddy who told you never to walk alone when you were thirteen. you remember your uncle telling you to be careful because “you never know what a man will do” when you were sixteen. you remember being taught to fear men. you remember being taught they will do terrible things if they had the chance. then you remember the same people who taught you these things expect you to “give the guy a chance.”"