To the man who hit me,
I’m a fighter. I’m a survivor. I’m a strong woman. But in those few minutes you destroyed those three characteristics; you pushed them aside and forced me to be something I never thought I would be, weak.
You wanted to be a “man” so when I didn’t agree with you, you needed to prove yourself. I didn’t think my “no” would hit your ego so hard, and frankly I’m glad it did; I saw your true colors in that moment.
Your anger could be seen in your eyes from miles away, but only I could feel it. Your hand left a print where you gripped me on my forearm. When you held me in place like that, I didn’t think it would escalate from there, but it did. I unhooked your hand finger by finger and pushed you away. I remember yelling “Don’t touch me” at you so loud that the couple people around us heard me over the music and stopped. Obviously, that made you even more mad at me. When I turned around and began walking away I thought everything was over; I dealt with it and I was going to enjoy what was left of my night, but it didn’t happen that way. You didn’t let it happen that way.
A step away from the dance floor, and I felt that grip again, only this time it was tighter. Chills raced down my back, because as much as I hate to admit it, I was really scared. With the amount of force you pulled me back, I lost my balance and my mind went blank. I normally can gauge situations and know how to act and respond, but in that very moment, I was numb. The girls near us standing with solo cups realized what was going on and began whispering; they didn’t think of interfering, and the girl with the boyfriend, didn’t think of telling him to help me. In the few seconds you were staring at me furiously, I looked around for my friends; I would have yelled out their names, but I knew they wouldn’t have heard me.
I grabbed your wrist and tried to pull you off again. Your strength was something I’ve never felt before. And then it happened. Something I never thought would happen, especially to me, but it did. I had seen it in PSAs and movies, but never in person, let alone felt it.
It happened so fast; before I knew it I was holding the right side of my face and guys were rushing you down. I remember gradually getting on the ground and feeling the bodies around me making sure I was okay. There was some yelling in the background for a bit, and then you were kicked out. Someone brought over ice and kept saying, “You’re okay. Don’t worry”. I could here people screaming “How you gonna hit a girl, bro?” and “Get out of here!” outside, because for the first time that night, the music wasn’t playing. I wish the music hadn’t stopped so I didn’t hear everyone’s worries and whispers clearly. I normally love attention, but it was the last thing I wanted at that time.
My friends found me and took me home. I took off my make-up, changed out of my clothes, and crawled into bed; and that was the end of my night. I still wonder what will happen if I see you around campus one day, or maybe at another party; I wonder if you even remember. I need you to know that you didn’t leave a physical mark on me; no bruise or anything, but you left a different kind of mark. You’ve changed me.
Now, before I go out on a weekend night I have doubts, I can’t help but look around for you at a party, and when someone gets too close to me I unknowingly jump back a little. So, I hope you’re proud. We all want to leave a mark in this world, but you haven’t; instead you’ve left a mark on me.
The girl with your handprint