What Were You Wearing?

There are a few chapters in my book Fly, Fly Away that have been kicking my creative butt for far too long. Disseminating over 17 years of trauma to the mind, body, heart and spirit takes a lot of work to dig through. It is my intent to write my story as a novel, rather than a biography. Showing, rather than just telling draws on a completely different level of creativity. Here I share just a bit about a sexual assault in high-school and the big aha that came out of it.

In his supposed brilliance as a leader, the principal reported the incident to the local police, thinking that perhaps a legal threat would help me clean up my act and straighten my wayward ways. To my frightful demise, my parents were involved, they were the last people I wanted to have know about this.

A police officer, along with my parents, were called to the school after school hours. The uniformed officer met with my parents and I separate from Dan and his family. They had heard of Dan from his home precinct, but he was new to this part of the valley. The officer, my parents and I sat at a picnic table at the front of the main high-school building.

“I understand you had an altercation with a boy at school today,” he began as he pulled out his notebook, “Tell me, what were you wearing?”

“What was I wearing? What does that have to do with anything?” I blurted, shocked at the absurdity of his question.

“Well, you know that boys don’t act the way this young man did unless they feel provoked. We’ve found that when girls act or dress in a way that makes boys think they have permission that boys sometimes get over-excited. You must have done something to warrant his behavior. I’m asking you again, what were you wearing?”  

Now I finally got it! I finally understood what my father had said all those years ago about how girls wearing pants made boys think things. And I finally understood why in Girl’s Class they put so much emphasis on modesty, keeping our bodies covered, and not adorning ourselves. While it wasn’t said in so many words it became apparent that girls were held responsible for boy’s irresponsible behavior. My baby-blue long sleeved, modest neckline sweater with sweet little yellow and pink flowers was apparently too much for Dan to resist and he had to rip it off me. I knew I had done nothing to deserve what Dan had done to me. Why couldn’t this officer understand?

“Well, what were you wearing?”

“I was wearing my favorite sweater. It was light-blue with long sleeves and a high-neck and it had little flowers on it. It’s wasn’t even a tight sweater and now it’s ruined. I’m a nice girl, I promise.”

“Did you taunt him in some way, flirt with him or give me him a tease? You know how girls are.”

“No, I wouldn’t ever do that. I hate him. I hate his guts!”

 “Well, you must have done something to provoke this young man. I will meet with him next. You are free to go.”

What became really clear after looking back at this and other incidences of assault by boys at school, was the long-held belief that girls are the cause of boys sins. Is is such a long-held, unconscious belief that it goes all the way back to the story of Adam and Eve.

It is time for us as humanity to grow up, see the ridiculousness in the belief that women are the cause of the fall of men, and hold ourselves each accountable for our own actions, rather than placing blame elsewhere.

Until next time, Be Fearless & Free!

Victoria Reynolds Signature

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