She is the nightmare that wakes me, the nightmare that I am unable to put into words. She is a story I was told when I was a child, a story that I pretended not to know. She is every one of us who has ever felt this same fear in a dark moment when we are alone, any one of us who has run away from a shadow when we are walking alone late in the night. She is a woman confused and unsure if her no really meant no. She is a woman whose no was screamed aloud and ignored and a woman whose no was a half-whispered plea. She is the difference between the clicking of high-heeled shoes meaning powerful femininity and meaning that you cannot run away. She is every woman whose shadow caught her, who has suffered for her sex and has been ignored while she screams against what has happened to her. She is so many women, frightened into hiding, who should be shouting to be heard.
She is every daughter who learns, from the moment that she is born, that she must always be afraid if she is to stay safe. That she must carry her bag beneath her coat, that fighting only makes it worse, that she is the reason, that guilt belongs to her, that her skirt is too short, that she danced too close. That she is only a woman.
She is sex when it is gentle, when it is hard and fast and still right. She is sex when sex is rape. She is power and pleasure and orgasm, and she is pain and fear and panic. She is beauty and beautiful in her willingness and in her dissent. She is perfect and strong and brave and afraid.
We are all innocent because we did not know; we are all guilty because we refused to see. We have choices to make and choices that are made for us, without our consent or desire. We are constantly tested and we succeed, we are tested and we fail. We close our hearts and minds and we shut out the voices that have asked us to act. We fight and we are victorious, we fight and we fail, but we must fight. We hide and we are hidden, we hide and we are found but we should not have to hide anymore.
We are girls and women and truths and fiction immutable linked by our own admissions and lies.