While I have had the highest of highs with my lifelong friends at Dartmouth, I have also endured new lows. My experiences with sexual assault on campus have occupied my life. Gender-based violence at this institution is pervasive — some white and/or wealthy students use their status to inflict violence on Black women (like myself) and other students of marginalized identities. I still hold guilt, shame, and grief for my loss of personhood. I hope this piece orients incoming 25s in my healing process.
The virtue of birth is trauma in itself — the only instance where pure beauty and violence coexist.
My mother pushed me from the safety of her warm womb and into fluorescence. I tried returning to the warmth, but I got lost in your facade and found safety in a vast void. I assure myself that your violations were on my volition, so this vacancy is where I grieve for my loss of body and sound. I mourn for my mother and my mother’s mothers, as they bore a daughter who lost herself by seeking rescue in a White false fluorescence. I cannot breathe here in this vacuum. I would like to sleep. This coat of blackness is opaque and forgiving like you were, so when I think of you holding me, I wish to not wake up. My mind cannot decide if you touching me is a dream or a nightmare — either way, I did not give you permission to enter me. Invasion. I open my mouth in this hollow core and wail until my vocal chords corrode, but my mother cannot hear me. She cannot push me out this time. I mourn what the sound of my voice used to be. My arms hoist me up from the darkness, but I am too heavy. A blanket of thick black begins enveloping me. It assures me that freedom lies in unconsciousness and what I cannot see. Its pressure is the weight of your chest on mine, and my ribs crack in euphony. Virtue or vice?
The Dartmouth Radical