By Isabella Olsson

How do you tell the truth?
When those words, heard out loud,

Are enough to bring back the pain,
To live it over and over again,

And the unending refrain is already stuck in your head,
But to speak it would be to make it all too real.

This way the hurt is contained,

A distant echo in the past,
And if you can forget it then maybe it never happened?


Maybe it never happened.

It’s your word against his

It’s a case with no witness

And of course he is innocent until proven guilty

So tell me: why should anyone believe the truth?

Attention-seeker, havoc-wreaker,

Your allegations ruin lives, your fabrications of a crime

That only a monster would commit

No human, with a heart and a pulse,

Could conceive of an act so illicit

Surely such a violation could only be the action of someone


And he is just a boy

Whose future you are trying to destroy.


To which you can only reply

Why is his future worth more than mine?

My future now marred by PTSD,

Where I cannot trust those who sleep beside me,

The feeling of invasion still not quite a memory.

So I will not apologise

For the boy who saw my body as his right.

Who heard a “no thank you” as playing hard to get

Who saw a short dress as an invitation

Let’s address the question of provocation –


How do you tell the truth when it’s your fucking fault?

When you were asking for it with that smile and that skirt.

When you’re a slut, a whore, a flirt

Stupid bitch let herself get hurt.

Too drunk to assert a “no”,

Unable to say “let go.”

Don’t you know you owe it?

He bought it with the glass you are holding and he will take his payment.

Keep your legs together next time if you want to save it.


What were you wearing?

Why weren’t you more careful?

How much did you drink?

Why didn’t you think?  

How do you tell the truth to a world that isn’t on your side?

A world that defends your offender?

A world that paints it as your shame, that makes it your burden,

That gives you the responsibility of protecting yourself

Against a threat it takes none in removing.


And if a tree falls in a forest with no one there to hear it,

If a girl cries out in the night and everyone feigns deafness,

How long must the silence last before we all forget this?