CW: This essay discusses sexual assault. If you or someone you know has been assaulted, find help and the resources you need by calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673, or visit www.RAINN.org.
By Whitney Bell
I wish I could forget his scent.
When I moved there the air smelled of salt and thick heat. Citrus sometimes, beer others, the dichotomies of fresh and clean, smoke and sweat, coconut lime. Perfect for an adventure seeker.
Live music poured out of bars, boats floated out for sunset sails, restaurants served the catch of the day, crab legs, lobster tails.
I got a job by the beach waiting tables, and rented a cute little bungalow with a front yard jungle. I read by day, drank wine by night, sang karaoke, and danced. Met new people.
I can’t tell you why I trusted him, other than I trusted people. He reminded me of my friends back home. Friends I’d slept next to and always been safe.
I can’t tell you why I hung out after the bar closed, other than I worked second shift, drank until 2am, and that was my lifestyle, the after-party.
I can tell you I didn’t know about boundaries. I was new in town and lonely. But where I was from, inviting someone over wasn’t a sexual invitation. Continue Reading…