Throughout April, Rest for Resistance is proud to feature writing by LGBTQ+ people of color for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The following content shares graphic details of sexual violence and abuse.
25. Her young eyes scanned me up and down, taking in my skinny jeans and crop top. “I’m not fast like you were, Jah.”
Immortalized forever in my mind. See, this young girl meant no harm. I’ve heard this child’s mother tell her not to be too fast. Black girls learn to internalize sexism from a very young age.
9. He touched me in that sacred place. I felt ashamed. I couldn’t even put a name to my pussy. It felt like my vagina wasn’t mine at that time. He owned it and me. He forced me to swallow him down. I took the blame. My soul was maimed and I was chained.
“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” he said, while he suffocated me. “Keep it a secret between you and me. Don’t tell nobody, Lani.”
“Ok… Ok! …” I gave up!
“I CAN’T BREATHE!”
Everything went BLACK in an instance. I desperately struggled to move.
But... time…. it... ssslowed... to... a………………. crawl. Stuck in the Matrix. Pinned down. By force. By memories. Held back. By trauma. By violence.
“You stupid, Black bitch.”
I took on his voice. I’m never good enough. Not skinny enough. Not pretty enough. Not cool enough. I was never enough.
I was too... much. Too big. Too tall. Too Black. Too slow. Too odd.
16. My mother yanked my oversized t-shirt back up. It kept slipping off my broad light brown shoulder. She glared at the Black short shorts that exposed my fat thighs that I was only allowed to wear in the house. “Fast!”
I swallowed the shame my big breasts made me feel. My body was wrong.
12. I heard my friend’s mama talking on the phone. “I just don’t think it’d be good for Jahlani to be around our daughter anymore. She’s a bad influence.”
I choked the tears back, my abaya’s thick, Black fabric swallowing me.
14. Sitting at the bus stop, waiting to go to school. Old, African man with a fucking child in the backseat pulls his rape van along the side of the road. “You look tasty,” he tells me.
I swallow vomit. “I’m 14,” I tell him. “I’m only 14.”
He ignores my words, eyeing my body up and down. “I would like to marry you one day.”
Relief rushes through my veins. The bus has arrived. I run onto the Black pavement. I can escape this crusty ass negro.
24. It hurt. It hurt. It hurt. It hurt. Ripped open. Wounds laid upon my flesh. I pampered myself. I drew a bath. I scrubbed my skin with Black soap. I lit an incense and a joint. I laid back. I was alive. Even though I didn’t want to be.
25. A grown, Black woman posits a question to my mother while looking at my nude colored fishnet leggings, “What would you do if your daughter grew up and told you she wanted to be a prostitute?”
She laughed, big and loud! and she was beautiful.
25. My younger brother sneered, completely disgusted when he saw my big, Black dildo after he invaded my space by going through my drawers. He once masturbated with the door open late at night. Yet he called me a dirty whore. Time flashed before my eyes. Time herself. Bitch nigga. Before I knew it I popped him once in the jaw.
Infinity and Beyond. They are all afraid. Of Black women owning their sexuality. Of women owning their own bodies. Of women owning themselves because then they will be powerless over us. They scared of our pussies and dicks and everything in between but I ain’t scared. I ain’t never gon be scared. I’ll continue to put in work to assure that I will always be free.
25. Here. Now. At Maghrib, I stare at the pink orange sunset fading into the distant, dark sky and I see immense beauty. I see that same beauty reflected in me. My skin is brown from that big, bright sun. My kinky, curly hair is pink like that sunset. The Universe has shown Herself to me. She’s blessed me with the freedom to embrace all love and all compassion for myself.
I know that I am good enough. I am whole. I am beautiful as I am. I am love as I am. I look in the mirror and see the spark in my deep brown eyes that reflects all the love I feel in my heart. I’ve come Black to Peace. Black to Power. Black to Love.
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A Black person is illustrated neck-up with short pink hair. They are wearing round glasses with flip-up sunglasses. The lenses of the sunglass part read "Black 2" and "Love" with a small pink heart. Behind them is a sky with blue fading to maroon. Large palm leaves cover the background."
About Jahlani Smothers-Pugh:
When I was a 9 month old baby my mama took me to class with her at Fisk. I grabbed the pen from her and wrote. That was the first time my pen touched a page and I haven’t stopped since.
I’m an artist and a star going with the flow of the universe. I also have a passion for activism in my community and the world at large.
Follow me on instagram @jahstmequeen and twitter at @jahstme.
About Dominique Lane:
Dom is a Black queer non binary person of color studying character design in the Bay Area but with roots in Boston, MA. They are planning to use my art to create representation for young children of color.