I said no and you said yes

I said no and you said yes

The first time was before I can remember

adults do not have dominion over children’s souls

but that’s what happens when you touch a child and cause her to be unwhole

the second time was in nursery school so I suppose your foray of my body had begun

as I emulated what was done

in the back of a toy caravan with my pretend boyfriend and he liked it a lot

made me feel dirty though, I did not know what that meant at the time

seeded a doubt in the core of my person, like a rod of copper slowly turning green

the third time I lay face down on a dirty carpet and three boys played marbles across my back

they got the idea from a porno mag their father hadn’t hidden very well

and their kid sister watched from the doorway, and I told her with my eyes, go to your room or you will be next

I said no and you said yes

it became as normal as something bad can be, I wanted to see her, so I had to cross the gauntlet and you were the gatekeeper

nobody believes you when it is easier to disbelieve and go on thinking respectable people don’t lie

you taught me to hate games shows as they were our background noise

and grandma would come in laughing and I’d see the guilt in her eyes

sacrifice the daughter, sacrifice the child, sweep the dirt underneath the bruises of generations

at nine I fell in love for the first time with a boy who wiggled above me but he of all, respected my desire to be unmolested and we hung upside down from the monkey puzzle tree holding hands

I said no and you said yes

James Brown was your name like the singer, and you didn’t take no for an answer

you climbed my bunk bed and pulled down your pants and if the door bell hadn’t rung you would have got your way

I wonder who came after me and if they were saved by the bell?

I said no and you said yes

yes yes yes you know you want this

no no no I really don’t

but you asked for it, you tempted me, you flirted, you caused me to have a hard-on, this is YOUR FAULT

I kissed a boy in the garages outside school and it felt dirty and wrong because it reminded me of what others had done

before I made decisions of my own

I said no and you said yes

I felt guilty about touching myself because of the Jahovah witnesses and the Mormons and the teacher who stapled my confession together and said we won’t talk of it

when I tried to tell her, this is what happened to me

and you didn’t feel guilty about playing yatzee and karatee on your father’s bed with the nylon sheets and the little bobbles they made when you made a tent and put your fingers in

and you didn’t feel badly when you lied and said you would only touch and instead you went too far and before I knew you were pinning me against a table

I said no and you said yes

children who are violated don’t always know what’s best for them

they are broken and they are scattered and they are stomped on and they hate how they look when the light is on

but they want to fit in and they want to be normal and sometimes in trying they get it all wrong

the neighbor told my parents; your little girl is using bad words and teaching my boys how to curse

and I said fucking hell what does it matter?

but it did, it mattered a lot, to stay in the confine of childhood and not grow up

because growing up meant it was real and you had to deal with it and whilst you were a child

nobody believed it could happen anyway so you could pretend it did not

I said no and you said yes

yes yes yes I know you want to

no no no I really don’t

and my second boyfriend said he wouldn’t go too far

but he did and he did and he did

and I ran through the streets holding myself up and I shouted to the trees that had fallen because of the high wind

why do people pretend? because I didn’t understand and it was a language impenetrable

but I was not … impenetrable

I was just a place of conquer

I wanted to find a lock and keep myself closed

but they kept battering down the door one after the other

because patterns are sometimes all we have to show

for the cycle of abuse

I said no and you said yes

the last time was in a public street

dragged off and soon the roads diminished and the woods were thick

he moved like a silver fish cutting his way into my secrets

I lay staring at the knife

he told me, I won’t cut you if you are nice

I was very, very nice

no no no

yes yes yes

the policeman said; I have to ask, it’s my job, did you want to have sex with this homeless man?

and I pulled up my torn skirt and my ripped hose and my shredded blouse and my dismembered bra and my bloody underwear and I said

if you can even ask that question

you will not recognize justice if it comes

no no no

I said no and you said yes

the last time and the first time and all the rest

when children become girls, become women, become less

than the worth that is owed them

yes yes yes !


46 thoughts on “I said no and you said yes

  1. What’s all the more disheartening is that there are hundreds, thousands of these instances in varying degrees and almost little to nothing gets done.

    The strength of this, the raw pain, etc… speaks on its own.

  2. I hate that any of it has to be said. Your writing of it, your pursuit regarding awareness is unwavering. Opening the eyes of others, you do this effortlessly.

  3. This is heartbreaking. ☹️ And a sad reality for too many young girls and women.

  4. I agree that it shouldn’t have to be said, wouldn’t it be great if a world existed where no person was disrespected like this? But as it is almost the polar opposite and there are still decriers. What outrages me is how many say things like ‘get over it’ – and this often from other women. Idiocy. We shouldn’t perpetuate this acceptance we should be the voice against it. Thank you for appreciating my efforts πŸ™‚ xo

  5. I agree. Hateful words beautifully woven to enlighten. Stunning poem though made me feel sick too ..

  6. Stunning writing. Horrendous subject and so brave for you to tackle it this way. I felt it. I recognised so much from it. Sadly.

    Lovely lovely writing style πŸŒΈπŸ’«

  7. Candice, we all love you not only because you let us feel your emotions, but because every word coming from you conjures so many things. You are forever an inspiration for me and many more writers. Please never forget that you matter, not only to me, but to the world.

  8. And how damned are we who continue to look away because looking where we are going is “too hard” however you wield your words, Warrioress, it is with skill, and grace and determination to bring the light in…even when the windows have been taped shut.

    I love you. ❀

  9. Love you candy girl
    And no matter how many religious judge or say hurtful things, just know God does not judge like a human, he loves and understands.
    You are incredibly strong sister
    Soft hugs candy girl

  10. Sorry I didn’t come read more often. Life has been… I’m not sure how best to describe it. Crap comes to mind. Hectic does too. I guess somewhere in between?
    Thank you for your words. Thank you for your strength, for managing to express this horror so beautifully.

  11. I liked this, even though i don’t like the actual theme as nobody shoukd have to go through that lack of consent and ferling of powerlessness. You had some very powerful words. Thank you for sharing

  12. Shame … not on the woman, nor the little girl, but the whole world, that whispers yet looks the other way. Is love enough heal this wound? πŸ’•

  13. This evokes both sadness & anger in me. We as a society too often turn a blind eye to the violation of our fellow humans. While others relish in committing them.

  14. So do I πŸ˜‰
    I’m glad every time I come read you, it helps me sort many things πŸ™‚
    Thank you again!

  15. Thank goodness wonderful, amazing women like you are finally having the courage to stand up now and say the words out loud about abuse and force. Unfortunately, children rarely can or are noticed. You are a champion and thank you for this love.

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