The first time passes for an accident. Just passerby in a crowd.
The second time is on purpose.
A definite pat on my buttocks. And a slew of grinning teens behind me.
They even have the nerve to look me in the eye. Yet I’m the one to shield my gaze, avert my glance with compunction and hurry away.
It happens again, another time, a different boy – one that I thought I knew. This time a slap.
Enough. I report it. I report them both. I identify them by their pictures in a yearbook.
All the kids – my friends – come to me one by one, wondering why I reported those boys? They didn’t mean any harm.
My peers shame me. They lose respect for me. I spend the rest of my school lunches alone. But no one touches me again.
My voice claimed me and I rose to meet it.
I used my voice. For the girls before and after me who wouldn’t.