I’m Dani Kelley,

and I do lots of things.

In which I realize how bad my assault was.

Trigger warning: description of sexual assault.

Sometimes I downplay my college assault, because even in my life being pulled backwards into a man’s lap while he uses my breasts as handles and smells my hair and kisses my jaw isn’t nearly as bad as other experiences I and others have had.

But then a Twitter friend was talking about Cecily McMillan, who was just found guilty of 2nd degree assault for fighting back when a police officer sexually assaulted her and left a hand-shaped bruise on her breast. As my friend said, “Think about how hard you’d have to grab someone’s breast to leave a bruise.”

And all my breath left me and I just kind of went, “Oh.”

When my college attacker grabbed me, I couldn’t fight out of his grip. And when I got home that night and undressed for bed…one of my breasts was black and blue. I couldn’t sleep on my stomach for a few nights. But I still told myself that it wasn’t a big deal, that I was being dramatic.

Oh.

Maybe I should stop gaslighting myself.

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