“A Rape in Six Parts”

Alex Helm


woman’s intuition

i knew what happened when her car was here

but she was not

 

i knew what happened when a friend called

asking where she was

but wouldn’t give me specifics

 

i knew what happened when i texted her mom

and she replied that they picked her up last night

and thanks for checking on her

 

i knew what happened when she finally answered my texts

asking if i could get her clothes from the bathroom

the police would be there soon to get them

 

authority

when the officer came

i was shaking

i handed him the bag

bra, shirt, underwear

 

it took everything in me not to yell

“take care of her, please!”

“don’t let another one get away!”

“do not, for one second, blame her!”

 

the boyfriend

when she told her boyfriend he said

“how could you do this to me?”

 

yes

 

how could she ask for a monster to

pin her down

knees against her chest

tear off her clothes

rip her skin

bite to draw blood

leave her purple along her chest and over her hips

scratch her

claw her

rape her

 

how could she ask for a monster to

scare her so bad she was afraid to leave for hours

trapped in his cold snare until 2 am

when she could finally break free, broken

 

she broke up with him

and to this day

he believes he was the one who was wronged

 

university relations

i wish i was surprised

but i’m not

another university has failed its female students yet again

 

she said he did it

they called him in

he said he didn’t

case closed

 

no punishment

no further discussion

another rapist walks free

 

and people don’t understand why a woman won’t press charges

 

it’s my fault

everyday i blame myself

for not saying something

for rushing off to work

when my stomach knew that

maybe she shouldn’t go study

with a guy she just met

at his apartment

 

the blaming

you don’t think people you know would actually blame the victim

until they do

 

why did she go there?

was it a date? didn’t she have a boyfriend?

was she cheating on him?

doesn’t she know better than to go over to some guy’s place she just met?

they were just studying? really, though?

why didn’t she press charges?

she’s just letting him get away with it

if it were me, i wouldn’t do nothing

he’s just going to do it again now

she is kind of slutty, though

Poetry Arrangement by Alex Helm