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I’ve been catcalled since I was 12 or 13 years old. I became a woman before my friends, and men don’t discriminate based on age when they know they’re safe yelling from the windows of their trucks. I could count those instances as the beginning of my story, but I don’t really think I saw men as a danger until my second year of college.
I attended a party not long after summer break. I had spent my summer at home with my family where I worked out every day, ate well, and felt really confident about myself for the first time ever. I was ready to start my new year on a positive note and have fun being single for the first time in my adult life. So when I was invited to a party early in the year, I attended.
A few beers in I was drunk. I had no tolerance, and my anxiety at being out made me drink one or two more than I should have. I began talking to a man who was roughly seven or eight years older than me. He was a mutual friend whom my group of friends seemed to respect. He went to our college and was a talented guitar player. No one had said I should look out for him. I don’t even remember what we talked about but he kissed me, and we went back to my place.
It was my first apartment ever. A tiny Boston apartment with no living room, a kitchen with boxy black and white tile floors, a small bathroom with a window into an alley, and two bedrooms separated by a narrow hallway. I was still waiting for my Ikea furniture to show up and therefore my room was adorned with blankets on the floor and an open suitcase.
We began making out. Somewhere in this short time, he told me I’m beautiful, and that I’m “pure” because I’ve only ever had one boyfriend.
Red flags began rising as he started kissing me too roughly and grasping at me too tightly. I told him he’s hurting me.
At this point, he took a brief step back, as if assessing the situation. Apparently, he concluded that I couldn’t ACTUALLY mean he’s hurting me despite my fearful demeanor and inability to look him in the eye.
He returned to kissing me, only this time he squeezed my waist tighter and bit my lip — hard. I started to panic because my movements away only seemed to make him tighten his grip.
Pushing back, all I could say to him was “Stop! It really hurts!”
There was one more forceful kiss from him and I moved backward — shrank to the floor — unsure of what to do.
You would think it would end there, but the next thing I knew, he was pulling his pants down to voluntarily showcase himself to me. He compared himself to a horse. It all happened so fast that my inexperienced, 19-year-old, and at this point, panicked sober brain, didn’t know how to react.
I told him to pull his pants up — that I wasn’t going to have sex with him — I’m not — “No, I’m not going to.”
“You should leave.”
“The T, (The Boston Subway), has stopped running by now. I can’t get home.”
“Take a taxi then, but go.”
“I don’t have money for a taxi.”
“I’ll pay for it — I don’t care.”
“No no…I’ll go in the morning when the T is running.”
He laid down on the floor, and not knowing what to do, I laid down as far from him as I could. I’d lost control of my own bedroom, in my very first apartment, before I even had furniture in it.
I woke up a few hours later, hoping to find that he had taken it upon himself to leave — only to find that his form was still sleeping beside me.
My stomach sick, my sides sore from his grip, I rushed to the bathroom.
When I returned, he was awake and I told him, once again, to leave.
He told me I need lemonade because I’m not feeling well. I told him to leave — again.
I returned to the bathroom. My roommate had awoken by then and had come down the hallway to investigate.
I told her what happened and stayed in the bathroom. From my small refuge, I heard her speaking to him, followed by heavy footsteps and some unintelligible yell as the front door slammed shut.
I went back to my tainted bedroom — glanced at the bruises beginning to appear on my sides in the shape of his hands — and I just laid back down on the floor.
Why on earth have I told you this story? Not to depress you. Not to make you feel sorry for me — definitely not that. I’m just ready to talk about it. If there’s a time to start talking about these situations, it’s right now while the world is receptive to it.
I let myself be a victim of my narrative longer than I should have and I’m giving my stories to you now (all of them). Despite that situation and the ones to follow it, I feel empowered and want to spread that feeling.
I’m now 26 years old, living with my best friend and soulmate, and doing work that is immensely important to me because you’re important to me, and your experiences are valid. #ThisIsForYou
If you would like to submit your story for consideration, email Christine Harazim at [email protected] All stories on this page will be written from a first-person perspective.
You have the option of remaining anonymous.