Testimony, Part X


Do you wonder if the people who assaulted you ever think about it?

Do you wonder if the people who assaulted you ever think about it?

I do.

I picture Generic Music Dude, who assaulted me when I was sleeping, after we’d broken up, and I wonder if fear ever clutches his fucking heart—if what he did haunts him the way it still haunts me. I wonder if he worries that I’ll show up in the city I ceded to him—he works at the arts organization I used to!—and I will tell everyone what he’s capable of, and how he responded afterwards. (He asked, “are you sure you’re not thinking of that time I hugged you for a too-long time?”)

I picture Generic Camp Dude, who tricked me into going on a date with him when he was my boss (“They’re filming a movie after-hours at our camp. A bunch of us are going!”) and then groped me while he stuck his tongue too far into my mouth. He made a joke about how he’d have to get someone else to do my job evaluation while I dissociated for the first time in my life.

Do you ever think about how you’re lucky only to have one of these stories, or two, or three? How it could have been much worse? Do you try, and fail, to count your blessings—that they stopped, that you stopped them, that your tendency towards fight, or flight, or freeze, saved you from Generic Other Consequence?

Do you wonder why people listen sympathetically until the story’s antagonist is no longer an open secret or a blind item—until we name them? And then, and then.

I am not sure what justice would look like for me. (Is justice why we testify?)

What I think I would like is abstract: I would like to know that Generic Music Dude and Generic Camp Dude carry around the weight of what they did the way that I carry around the weight of what they did. I would like to occupy in their hearts a small territory of fear, the way they occupy, in mine, a tight small fist of anger.

What I think I would like is concrete: I would like to enter a room in [Ceded City] and not be carrying a secret. I would like all of my old friends and acquaintances to know exactly what happened between him and I. I would like him to carry this into those rooms. I would like to be able to remember the last name of my old camp boss and I would like to look him up and I would like to know if he is still working with teenagers. Sometimes I forget about him for a year or two and then I remember—I know I am not the only one.

I do not want to keep testifying for public consumption.

I do not want us to have to keep testifying for public consumption.

This essay is published as part of the No Comment project.

More Writing from the No Comment Project

No Comment by Alessandra Naccarato
Erase and Rewind by Meghan Bell
White house, where some family lived upstairs by Chelene Knight
Loyalty and Violence by Ruth Daniell
Burning Bridges by Joelle Barron
Penknife by Ellie Sawatzky
for play by Kayla Czaga
back, cover by Elaine Corden
Sex Work Solidarity as Healing by Amber Dawn
I Was Once That Girl by Jen Sookfong Lee
On Receiving Bad News by Mallory Tater
The Disappearing Woman by Leah Horlick
Boys Will Be Boys by Dina Del Bucchia
Nicomekl River by Claire Matthews
Knowing Better by Anonymous
Monster by Mikiko Galpin
Reframing the Montréal Massacre by Maureen Bradley
Testimony, Part X by Anonymous
Broken Heart Emoji, Crystal Ball Emoji, Stars Emoji by Kyla Jamieson
Bits by Carleigh Baker
Metamorphosis 6: 401-674: A Paraphrase in Still Pictures by Annick MacAskill
black pearls by Jónína Kirton
Not Yet by Juliane Okot Bitek
Sei Turni (6 spells for #CanLit) by Amber Dawn


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