“Hurry up, bring her in here,” one of the voices whispered as they carried my limp body away from the crowded party. The DJ was still jamming, talking into the mic but I could hear the rush of laughter and feet kicking up the gym floor as hands grabbed at my body, pulling and picking apart my clothes.
“Shit, watch her head!”
“I got her, I got her,” another slurred voice let out with a laugh as the cold ground met my spine. I tried opening my eyes but to see nothing but bright lights like stars staring back at me, I had no way of knowing they were phones with the flash light on, recording everything. I just attempted to raise my hand, shaking my head from side to side and mumbling the word NO as I felt my panties coming down my thighs. Another hand gripped at my chin, pulling my lips apart while another grabbed at my hair to move it aside. Suddenly, I felt the violation of fingers, dirty fingernails scratching inside of me and pinching and pulling at my nips that somehow broke free.
What was happening?
Something knocked against my head causing my eyes to shoot open once again but the lights…The lights and the hungry smiles hovering over my face as the violation began. It was happening. A small part of me knew when my body slid up and down against the floor that I was being raped. I tried moving my head from side to side to fight back the intrusion of another man trying to come for my mouth. I could hear someone, a small voice pleading for this to stop. That it wasn’t right but the more I made a sound, the more anxious the men became. It was three of them with the rest waiting their turn.
Did anybody see me cry? Can they not see my tears? Can they not see I don’t want this? My body betrayed me and, in that moment, I wanted nothing to do with myself but to just die. All I could think about was kill me now as I screamed, kicked, and shouted in my head. Everything I wanted to say and do came off as limp, and lifeless in reality. Inviting and ready for the boys that took advantage.
“Darius!? Nigga hurry up! It’s my go!” Antwan hollered. “I’m the one that saw her first!”
“Aye, get her with my dick in her mouth!” Sean laughed with a drunken slur, “mouth full of nuts! HA!”
“Yall so damn nasty! I can’t believe she’s even letting yall do this!”
“Aye!? AYE! What’s going on?!”
I couldn’t quite recognize that voice but the way I felt everyone suddenly leave from the bright lights to the sneakers and heels scraping against the floor, I just laid there praying it was over. The voice was someone of authority, someone that was trusted at the school but I could never get his name…I couldn’t quite catch his name and even when I thought the nightmare was over with him carrying me out of harm’s way, it had only just begun.
I wanted to open my eyes again, but I couldn’t get past the lights and the music bumping through the walls. I could still hear the DJ so I was still at the party. I could only smell strong cologne and feel rough fingers pull and tug at my body with a harsh breath against my neck. I whimpered, and pleaded to go back to the room, to go home, but the voice admitted he was sorry, and apologized over and over in my ear with sincerity that I felt…sincerity that somehow brought comfort that this was okay while he violated me…I would be alright as long as I was with him…
Wake up Sierra…WAKE UP!
I suddenly gasped, feeling a brush of wind hit my face as I looked down in tears at my phone replaying the blurry video of me at the party. I was sexually assaulted eight years ago and it had spread all over social media in a matter of days, but back then, social media didn’t have the power it does now. Facebook did nothing but allow people to talk about the video and eventually forget about it as everyone moved on with their lives.
I shut my phone off, ignoring the old comments and looked over the bypass at the cars passing by below into the city. The bridge once stood as an old railroad route that now as just covered in graffiti and bottles where people came to hang out. I stood just on the edge with the plan that I was going to jump. This is why I was here. I had my note in my backpack, the three men I blamed it on, naming everyone I could recognize in that video, wanting to put the blame on them. All but the man, the teacher who assaulted me. I could never figure out who it was. It was as if my mind chose to block that part out in some sick way of protecting him. I wiped my face, and swiped at my nose with a sniff as I cleared my throat.
This is it. This was my last night on earth. I was ready to go because anything had to be better than being here, watching a girl I didn’t recognize get raped in the worst way, in front of everyone. In front of the world, and nothing was done about it.
My grandparents are the ones who raised me and I did my best to conceal all forms of social media away from them so they had no idea. The school swept it underneath the rug, deciding it was best not to have a big blow out scandal about it and offered me the chance to complete my courses online. Of course, those that assaulted me were allowed to walk freely to and from class and graduate. Police didn’t care. Not when one of the boys was well connected in Atlanta. They did everything to protect him and nothing for me, and I was done carrying this guilt. This weight.
I adjusted the straps on my bag and looked down again at the oncoming traffic, watching and waiting for a semi to pass by. Having prepared for this exact moment, I knew how I wanted to go and just as I took a deep breath, I heard someone softly clear their throat.
“If you’re planning on jumping, you should pick a different bridge.”
I turned around to see this woman, maybe around my age bent over as she dug into a small black tote bag. Her dark curls were wild as she wore light denim ripped around the jeans, showin