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Does it count? Does it count? Does it count? Does it count?

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A post shared by Lise Gravel (@lisegravel) on

Does it count?

When she’s eight years old, in the bath, and an older male relative walks in and watches her bathe. And she says “please leave” and she says “stop looking at me like that.” And his mom—her aunt—walks in and the girl tells her, “I don’t like him being in here,” and the aunt nervously laughs and shoos him out of the room saying, “Oh, he was just being a boy.”

Does it count?

When she’s 12 years old, navigating that space between childhood and adulthood, and the boys in her class have nicknames for her and all of her girlfriends based on the size of their developing breasts (“Dolly” for the really curvy ones). They spend their days snapping bra straps and leaving marks.

Does it count?

When she’s 16 years old, at one of her first parties, smoking a bit and drinking too much, and a boy she knows from school sits down next to her and tries to kiss her. She gets up to leave, but he reaches out and grabs her left arm and twists it so hard that her ears start to ring and tears spring to her eyes. And when he finally lets go, he is smiling.

Does it count?

When she’s 18 and watching a movie at a friend’s house, and a guy she barely knows follows her into the bathroom, locks the door, and starts kissing her neck. She tries to push him away, but she isn’t strong enough, and she says “no, no, no” while his hand makes its way up her shirt, and she doesn’t know what to do so she kisses him back a bit, while planning her escape, and then, by sheer luck, there is a knock at the door, and she is saved.

Does it count?

When she’s 19 and in mad love with a girl, and a guy she knows tells her that all he needs is one night “to make her straight again.”

Does it count?

When she’s 21, auditioning for a play, and the director asks her to sing and then to hike up her skirt a little, and then loudly proclaims, to everyone in the room, “Well, she can’t sing, but she’s got great legs.”

Does it count?

When she’s 22 walking home from class at dusk, and three guys start following her, whistling and cat-calling and saying things like, “Slow down hot stuff, where’s the fire?” She feels the fire in her legs, in her belly, in her head, and she starts walking faster, but they do too until one of them yells out “bitch!” so she drops her bag and starts to run.

Does it count?

When she’s 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24, dancing with friends at a bar, and a guy comes up and starts grinding her from behind and, at first, she goes along with it because, you know, “he’s just being a boy,” and it’s just for fun, right? But the song ends and she tries to get away but he won’t let her, he follows her, grabs her, and tries to grind again, so she says “stop it,” and he doesn’t, so she yells “stop it!” and he still doesn’t. Her friends notice that she’s in trouble so they rush to her side and all yell, “stop it!” and finally, finally, finally he backs off, and she is breathing hard and feels embarrassed and just wants to go home.

Does it count?

When she’s 25, posing for a group photograph with co-workers, and the one on her left—a man she barely knows —slowly lets his arm drop from her waist to her butt, and she says nothing because she’s not sure what to say. And when the photo has been taken, he gives her butt a squeeze and saunters away as though he owns her.

Does it count?

When she’s 26, opening a new store in a shopping mall and decides to treat herself to a facial, and the man giving her the facial—right there, in the middle of a crowded mall—starts rubbing himself on her leg, and she is so shocked that she freezes. She feels him getting harder and harder, and she just sits there, frozen in that chair, silently screaming while this man applies cream to her face and masturbates against her body.

Does it count?

When she’s 28 and engaged to a wonderful man, and another man—a casual acquaintance—sends her a text that reads: “I’ve been having dirty dreams about you.”

Does it count?

When she’s 30, taking a walk with her dog and her baby, and a construction worker yells at her from across the street, “Now, there’s a mom I’d like to fuck.”

Does it count? Does it count? Does it count? Does it count?

When does it start to count?

When she’s 31 and raped?

No.

It counts, when she’s eight.

It counts before she’s eight. It counts when she’s in her mother’s womb. It counts even before then, when she’s still a star in the sky and in her not-yet-mother’s eye.

It always counts, because she always counts.

She, you, me. We always count.

Let us remember this. Let us not be fooled into thinking we don’t, anymore. Let us not be shamed into silence, ever again.

We always count.

It always—always—counts.

~

~

~

Author: Vicki Rivard
Image: Instagram/f.d. soul (used with permission)
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis

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About Vicki Rivard

Vicki Rivard is a soul on a journey. Meditation keeps her strong. Love keeps her open. Chinese Medicine is her craft. Her heart is in the ocean. Connect with her at her website and on Instagram and follow her on Facebook.

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