In light of the recent mass sexual assault, sexual harassment, and assault cases near the end of 2017, I sit and listen to my peers curiosity about the sudden “trend”. I attend to their theories of disbelief as I feed my own. My views were similar to their own, until, I saw She’s Gotta Have It.
As I binge watch the Netflix Original in one sitting, I am impressed by the story of a black woman without the after taste of the male-interpretation. In her assault (2017), as light as it may appear, viewers witness a catalyst of negative emotions transformed to her bold, feminist, artistic release. Similarly, the catalyst of sexual assault cases on the media may be the eye-opener for the many women hiding behind their truths.
Speaking of truths, Nola Darling, I have to define “assault” for the readers. Specifically, “sexual assault”.
According to one of the oldest dictionaries of our time, Merriam-Webster, sexual assault is “illegal sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent or is inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent (as because of age or physical or mental incapacity)”.
“I’m not a freak, I’m not a sex addict, and I’m damn sure nobody’s property.” – Nola Darling
I can not help but to think back to the moment someone made my body less of my own and more of there’s. I did the most to assume it were my fault; the most to assume I evoked his desires for me and was the cause of “it” all; I did the most to pretend I was over thinking “it”; I did the most to pretend “it” never happened. But, “it” was not my fault, I did not evoke “it”, I did not over think “it”, and “it” did happen. It being rape, if I neglected to say.
As I reminiscence on the morning after, the feeling of throbbing pain below the belt, dazed by the only memory I posses, throbbed by the headache of a hangover, I cry. As he attests, “But, you” this “But, you” that, I cry. Tears drown my face as I force myself to believe him. I put the blame on me and failed to recognize my trauma. He belittled my womanhood and my entire being because he convinced me to believe my feelings of assault were due to my inability to maintain sobriety or my lusty appeal. As I consider his view of the night and his sudden detachment the morning after, I understood him but forgot to understand, ME!
Assailant, I am aware that you can not recognize the trauma I feel. I am assured you thought my drunkard appeal and rum-filled breath was a signal for “Green, Go”. Just as my boyfriend, I recognize your ignorance of the feelings provoked by sexual assault. While you presume your definition of rape is nothing more than a moment of belligerent passion, it was more than just sex. Although you believed it was nothing; although you discovered that I was freak, although you believed I was your property, you assaulted my belief in you, more importantly men who like you. Specifically men who know me.
As weeks go by and I distance myself, I failed to recognize the infliction. As months go by and I sit in a physicians office explaining my reason for being tested today, I failed to recognize my water-filled eyes. As a year go by and I am awakened to a familiar face in my love-bed but, absent-minded of the memory of the sex we had the night before, I failed to recognize my trauma. In all of these occasions, I brushed the reason as to why I was hurt.
But, I am not my assault. Just as Raqueletta Moss: “I , Shirley Dorsainvil,” will rise to the occasion and release “it”. I, Shirley Dorsainvil, recognizes, understands, and knows of my feelings of assault.
On this day, I rose to the occasion, in this post, that YOU are reading.
So, thank you Nola Darling for giving me the opportunity to release the energy and open my eyes to assault. Thanks for the tears because without it, I’d be in the eternal damnation of pretending I was not a victim; pretending that the abandoned and blurry night was not rape.
A series inspired by the pivotal character, Nola Darling, in She’s Gotta Have It.
Feature image: David Lee/Netflix, modified