She stands in line at the grocery store, in a sports bra and yoga pants. She had just been at the gym, and only stopped by to grab milk for her mother. She can feel each whisper float to her, sticking to the exposed skin that she wishes she could cover. A group of boys, no older than fifteen, let their gaze crawl hungrily up her body, but never look her in the eyes. She folds her body into her hands as a mother tells her staring children that she would “get what’s coming towards her.” She bites her lips and lets an apology slip from between them as a woman with a purple pixie cut tells her that she’s giving the wrong impression, and needs to protect herself from assault.
But she wasn’t wearing a sports bra and yoga pants when she was raped.
She can hardly stand the scratch of denim against her skin because of the night her favorite jeans were torn from her body, and she can’t really listen to her once-favorite artist because all she remembers is the sterile evidence bag that her concert tee was placed in, and every night the words of her best friend echo in her ears – “really? Just a t-shirt and jeans?”- because she was always taught to ask what the victim was wearing, even though as it turns out, it doesn’t really matter.
So her heart breaks, a little bit, for the girl who is being taught that her clothes define how she is treated by the world.
Her heart breaks, a little bit, for the woman with fantastic hair who believes that although she is entitled to self-expression, she must protect other women from expressing too much.
And her heart breaks, a little bit, for the people who are so offended by the expanse of her skin
that they console themselves by predicting her next rape.