Read this daring tale of sexual assault and one woman’s rise above it and the power to turn it into beauty.
I guess the truth should be told now. The weight of my actions have ricochet others to make better decisions. I should have stopped it. My should haves mean nothing now. If I could go back and change it I would, isn’t that what we all say when we have lost everything? It should have stopped there. My story is only mine to tell so bear with me. My name is Jessie Shantè and this is my story.
My mother had just just died from breast cancer and here I was about to lose my second mother, my grandmother, Tea to a rare cancer. They said her body was producing the cancer so it was hard to rid. The long wait in the hospital after countless doctors said her cancer only had a five year survival rate with treatment. I stayed there in that hospital.
In walks the nurse.
“Ma’am can I get you anything?” She asked.
“No, I’m fine for now.” I replied.
“Are you sure?” She insisted.
“I will let you know if I do.” I replied.
I didn’t want anything because I was physically and emotionally drained. Each day, more tests and more surgeries had to be ordered. I was losing the only person I ever trusted. Later that night, the nurse’s aide walked in to check Tea’s vitals. His glance towards me was innocent.
“I see you’re still up again.” He said.
“You know me, I have to keep working.” I replied.
“Step outside for a minute.”
“I really can’t. I need to be here with mom. I can’t miss any moment.”
“Don’t you need a blanket for that couch?”
The couch was like sitting on leather seats of your Ford car in the summer heat. I knew I needed that blanket. I didn’t feel like sticking to the furniture. I agreed. How stupid of me? We walked down the hall to the supply closet and he pulled me in.
“I can’t stop thinking of you. I don’t know you but I know I want you.”
“You don’t even know me. How can you want me when you don’t even know my name?” I asked.
I looked down at his hand to do my single in the city check. Sure enough he was married.
“You’re married.” I said.
“I know but I want you.”
I looked down at his I.d. “Nathaniel, I can’t do this with you. That’s not the woman I am.”
I left and went back to the room. Late in the night, Nate came in and pulled my pants down. Sneaking around the room so mama Tea wouldn’t wake up, he pulled my panties to the side and went as deep as he could from behind. I tried pushing him away from me but he grabbed my hand and held it behind my back. The deeper he went, the wetter I became. The wetter I became, the more pissed off I got. Why would he do this to me? He’s married! Fuck! When he released, he pulled up his pants, put his hand under the hand sanitizer dispenser and left the room. Tears fell down my eyes. The now hospital that was about to surround me with death was now the prison I lived in. Each day brought news to no avail. Each night brought him. Tell, they said. Speak up, I could hear. I didn’t want to distraught my dying grandma in her hospital bed. I didn’t want to cause a scene. For a minute, I had peace when they told me that Tea could go home. I was happy. Her levels were equalizing. I didn’t have to worry about him again. He started reaching out to me. Here goes the unsolicited explicit pictures. He had stolen a piece of me. I wanted it back. Married or not. Life seemed to be getting back on track. My business was just beginning to rise above just breaking even. I had booked engagements across the country but that stolen piece was still out there. Then that dreaded call came from the home health aide.
“Ms. Jessie, we’re taking Tea back to the hospital. Something isn’t right.”
“They’re going to have to run some tests. She was coughing up blood.” Annette said.
“I’m on my way.”
I could have done so many things but this is the only connection to my mother that I have. My pain had to take a backseat. I arrived at the hospital.
“Tea Jackson?” I asked.
“Your relation to the patient?” The nurse asked.
“I’m her granddaughter and power of attorney.” I replied.
“Right this way.” She said as she escorted me to the room.
It was another room but same floor. I had to take deep breaths during shift change. My pulse had sped up wondering if he was working tonight. I never asked about him. He was working on another floor. I thought I was safe. He found me. Every day a doctor would bring news not worthy to say and every night for thirty minutes of his shift he’d hide deep inside me. I could never just go to sleep. My ass couldn’t be facing the door. The more I fought, the cravings he had for me increased. Timid to speak up and stop it, I gave in. I decided to tap in to what I was feeling. When Tea would need to get cleaned up I would use the bathroom down the hall. He’d follow me. He was consumed by me.
“Jessie, let me in!”
“Are you following me? Go away!”
“I need you!”
“You need the aura but you don’t need me.”
“C’mon Jessie, unlock the door.”
I had contemplated this over and over in my head. I was going to take back me! I unlocked the door and stepped behind it. Nate walked in and rushed towards me and kissed me. We were like magnets. We’re not supposed to be close. The hardest thing is pulling away. He tilted my neck and started biting it softly. He turned me around and inserted himself. I told myself I was taking back my power. Was I really? The secret rendezvous all over that hospital was pushing us closer. A friend of mine came to visit. She spoke up but they said since I initiated the recent meet up then I was at fault. Where was the help when I didn’t want his touch? Here we are craving each other and no good to one another. Tea’s health kept declining. What was I doing? Fucking the nurse’s aide. Our room was across from the coffee pot. I got up and made coffee. He stood right behind me groping my ass. I just kept telling myself to let go. If my grandmother would succumb to her fate then I would be free. The more I would pray to keep her; the more I’d stay in prison. My freedom or her life. I just knew I had to stop this. Then the final straw came. Late that night, Nate was there waiting for every nurse to disperse to some patient’s room but mine. He eased in my room as soon as I was drifting off to sleep. Tea was out like a light after those meds. We enjoyed each other in our jacked up mess. His head drifted to my center. Eyes rolled back, I covered my mouth. His assault turned into rage. We left and did it once more in the dark prayer room. It was like getting busy on the church’s altar. I felt ashamed. Deep breaths and panting, I heard rapid response over the intercom. They were headed to Tea’s room. I jumped up and rushed there. She wanted to speak to me alone. I walked in the room.
“You can’t die on me, Tea!”
“Baby, you got to cut ties.” She said between breaths.
“What do you mean?”
“I know suga, I know. You need to let go to live. I miss Henry. He’s been waiting for me.”
“I don’t want you to die!” I cried.
“Let go to fly, dear.”
“Baby, go get my purse.”
I turned around and walked to the closet. I grabbed the purse.
“What do you need in here?” I asked turning around.
I was too late. She had died. I wanted to fight her cold body but she knew. Once again she covered me, this time with her life. Leaving, I felt relieved. For the first time in a year I was free. I didn’t know what that was until now.
Fast-forward back to the present day. I was speaking to the women of Withholding the Power empowerment conference.
“That’s my story. In assault cases, each one varies. Each person has a back story. Some just need to let go. Like my grandma Tea told me, Let go to fly. We as women have to learn to let go of our pain. It does us no good to harbor it. I decided to share it. I should have wrote a book about it and rose above it that way. When you are going through it, the pain is always severe. Rapid response is always on standby when you feel like dying in your chains or should I say, your pain. Why call a code when I can let go? We just need to let go. What other way can you channel your pain? Books? Speaking? Volunteering? In order to live you must let go. That’s my time and I thank you for having me here. ” I spoke.
At the end of my story, the audience was in tears. The standing ovation I never saw coming flooded the auditorium.
“Freedom is only freeing when you let go.”
This tale was a fictional short. We all have either been assaulted or know someone who has. We cannot hold on to the pain and the triggers. Turn your pain into your Freedom Papers. We are all destined to be free. Fly now!
If you have been assaulted please call 911 or the hotline!
Sexual Assault Hotline
Available 24 hours everyday
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