When you first got breasts, aged twelve. The winks, the “nice tits (it’s a compliment)”, the “show us your bra”. How far is too far? That man in Oxford Street who pushed you against a wall “for a feel”. No big deal. He liked the look of you, that’s all. Every blown kiss and catcall – a compliment. The one who wanked at you in an Islington park – it wasn’t even dark, broad daylight, but he was so blatant. The colleagues wanting to take you for a drink – “just one drink – we’ll all think you’re a lesbian if you don’t”. That time in someone’s car. The corridor squeeze, the accidentally brushed breasts, the ease with which they do it. That date where the kissing went too far, and you couldn’t make it stop – how he surprised you, the strength of him, his knee rising between your thighs, too determined to be shaken off, and you didn’t feel entitled to name it rape because he didn’t hit you, but the shame, to be so easily caught, the “my fault my fault” mantra you recited into your pillow for years. Enough tears. Enough silence. It was all of us but we never knew. Sisters, take my hands, we can say it together: me too me too me too.
Sarah Doyle is the Pre-Raphaelite Society’s Poet-in-Residence and recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway College. She has been published widely in magazines, journals and anthologies and she is co-author of Dreaming Spheres: Poems of the Solar System (PS Publishing, 2014).