Poetic Perspectives: “I Did Not Survive You”

An anonymous sexual assault survivor statement revives the Poetic Perspectives column, originally inaugurated by Mikayah Parsons ’24, which allows students to discuss often difficult topics through a poetic medium.

Poetic Perspectives: “I Did Not Survive You”
In the revival of the Poetic Perspectives column, an anonymous survivor writes about their experience of sexual assault. Photo courtesy of Menaylion.

Should I call myself a victim or a survivor?

I did not survive you.  

Still can’t enter Val, would rather go in debt to buy groceries I can’t afford to avoid you.

Sidestep you on the sidewalk

Treat you like glass that I look through.

Hard to believe I ever trusted you.

I was robbed of more than a kiss

When you got me drunk

And pulled me into you.

I thought I wasn’t allowed

To feel the pain you put me through

The havoc that you wreaked on all the love I had for you.

Called yourself a friend, but why did you

Force yourself on me


No matter what I’d say or do?

I am tired of feeling silenced

Like I cannot place blame on you

For looking at my body

And deciding it belonged to you.

I blamed the institution but I should be blaming you.

You’d have me blame myself

And tell me I came onto you.

I didn’t want to say all this

‘Cause I’m a girls’ girl,

And aren’t you too?

And at the end of the day,

The media would have you believe,

That this is not what girls do.

But no matter how many men I hate

Or times I sympathize with you,

I never feel quite safe in my body

And that’s in part because of you.

The sad thing is

I once knew a boy

Who did the same thing to me, too.

Bisexual, fluid,

No matter how I label myself,

The truth is,

I don’t trust anyone anymore

To treat my body like more than a score.

I suffer constant paranoia

And live a miserable life.

And I cannot tell you how much

I don’t want to fight.

But I have to.

I am not the first or last

Black woman that will suffer

At the hands of a society

That sees class, gender, and skin color

As signposts for property,

Criminality, and labor,

At the hands of a society,

That has decided it hates her.

I don’t hate you.

I just wish you knew,

I feel like

I did not survive you.