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we Re-member: Ajah (as told by Ajaj Yee)

 

Dear you,

 

I kept silent about that night. I thought by keeping silent I was protecting myself, but I was actually protecting you. I never thought a close friend who I confided in and trusted would hurt and humiliate me the way you did. I’ve tried so hard to push away the vivid memories of what took place in your dimly lit dorm room. The more I pushed away and ignored that night, the more I suffered from anxiety attacks, bottled-up anger, vivid nightmares, and countless tears. 

 

I want you to hear me; You need to hear me. This is how I move forward.

 

You said you needed to talk, that something was bothering you—so I went. You said you were hurting and needed a friend—so I stayed. I didn’t expect to be forced onto your lap within seconds of entering your room. Or to be groped so aggressively that I still feel your grip and the soreness. Or to be pushed to the floor on my stomach, straddled with your knees pressing my hands to my sides staring at the white wall, as you pulled my pants and underwear down to my ankles and molested me.

 

I thought you were done after you used my hand for your enjoyment, so I managed to get to my feet, pull my pants up and stumble to the door. I didn’t expect you to pick me up with one swoop under my legs and toss me on your bed. I didn’t expect myself to give up and let myself feel numb so I wouldn’t have to endure what was about to come next. 

 

I waited. I curled into a fetal position and waited for you to rape me.

 

 Do you know what it feels like to willingly put yourself in a position of harm just to avoid being harmed?  I had betrayed my myself and my body.

 

 I waited because I struggled to get away from you, to tell you to stop, to tell you no, to show you that I didn’t want it, but you didn’t stop, so I waited.

 

I waited, but you never came. I thought you had a change of heart, or realized your actions, but you were slumped in your vomit in the corner of the room near the door—so I left. I didn’t expect you to give me a measly sorry as the door closed behind me.

But you already know all that, or at least you should. 

 

What you don’t know is how long I spent scrubbing my body and my hand when I made it home to try to wash away your touch. What you don’t know is that I was raped by somebody else because I thought it was better to say nothing, than to say something and be blatantly ignored, like you did to me. How could I trust him? He was a stranger, and you were my friend. What you don’t know is that I suffer from PTSD and have to take sleeping aid to help me fall asleep. What you don’t know is that I started to drink for all the wrong reasons.

 

What you don’t know is that for two years I asked myself ‘why me?’ and ‘what did I do?’ I cried and repeated to myself ‘I didn’t do anything wrong,’ as if to convince myself of those words. It took me those two years to finally say, ‘I don’t blame myself.’

 

For years, I felt silly for feeling the need to thank you for not raping me that night. But I don’t thank you. I don’t thank you for taking advantage of me, I don’t thank you for molesting me, I don’t thank you for hurting me, I don’t thank you for taking my voice and my choice away, and I don’t thank you for putting me in a situation where I feel the need to say thank you. 

 

You preyed on me when I was vulnerable. You saw an opportunity, and you pounced. After that, I was so confused. At times I would miss our friendship—I missed the fun times. But then I’d remember—I’d always remember. Yet, I didn’t report you.

 

I didn’t report you because you were black. I didn’t report you because I didn’t want to be another person threatening the life and future of another black man. I didn’t report you because that wasn’t enough. And I didn’t report you because that wasn’t justice for me. Justice is this letter to you. 

 

Yours truly,

 

No Longer Suffering in Silence

 

 

By Ajah Yee