What precisely is the statute of limitations on childhood sexual assaul..." /> Loose Lips: On Telling - Mutha Magazine


Published on November 21st, 2017 | by Rebecca Fish Ewan


Loose Lips: On Telling

What precisely is the statute of limitations on childhood sexual assault? “It was forty years ago.” No, for me it was forty-four. Forty-four years ago, when a man lay with his face between my 12-year-old legs to “get me off.” No, wait, it was forty-eight years ago, when a shoe salesman brought me into the back room for a piece of candy, sat me on his lap, stuck his hand under my shirt, caressed my bare chest and asked me “does this feel good.” Before I left he held out a bowl of candy. I picked the red wax lips set on the top of the pile. Red lips. Loose lips. Sink ships.

Only people who have never been molested as children think forty years is plenty of time to erase a man’s pedophilic violations. Only people who have no children. Love no children. In fact, only people who hate children would declare forty years beyond the limit to hold a man accountable for violating a child.

I was thirty-seven when I had my first child. It had been twenty-three years since I was so hungry I had agreed to let a man lick my vagina in exchange for a bowl of soup. A whole twenty-three years. Surely, I should have forgiven and forgotten by then. Leave it to a woman to hang onto things. Besides, it had been the seventies. Peace, love and broken couches and all that. Can’t blame a man for getting in on the action. And there is the fact of the soup. He gave me something in return. By twelve, I ought to have known the rules of the free market economy. The art of the deal.

When I became a mother, all men became potential pedophiles and then worked their way out of this position of distrust through their actions. Or not. I didn’t want my daughter to be the one in the one-in-four statistic. I wanted her to be one of the three. One woman out of four will be sexually assaulted by the time she turns eighteen. Sometimes it’s just a kiss. Or a touch. Or a lick. Sometimes the girls are fat or unattractive, so they ought to feel lucky any man looks their way. Sometimes they wear dresses and we all know how easy it is to reach a hand up a dress. They’re asking for it, really. Practically begging in the way they say nothing as men triple their weight and height, men old enough to be their dad or grandpa, tell them to lie back. Tell them it will feel so good. As they force themselves onto, into, against the girls, they like to ask: “Does it feel good?” How kind of them to ask. See, these men are really compassionate, caring men. They should all be senators.

Artwork from the author’s memoir, forthcoming from Books by Hippocampus. “Rebecca Fish Ewan’s illustrated coming-of-age memoir By the Forces of Gravity is told through drawings and free verse. Set in early-1970s Berkeley, California, Rebecca’s story reflects on a childhood friendship cut short by tragedy. In an era of laissez-faire parenting, Rebecca drops out of elementary school and takes up residence in a kids commune—no parents allowed!—and we follow her, bestie Luna, and their hippie cohorts as they search for love, acceptance, and cosmic truths. Full of adventure and heartache, By the Forces of Gravity promises to pull you in.”

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About the Author

Rebecca Fish Ewan, founder of Plankton Press (where small is big enough), creates Tiny Joys & GRAPH(feeties) zines. Rebecca has degrees in math, landscape architecture and creative writing and is a writer/poet/cartoonist. She teaches in The Design School at Arizona State University and lives with her family in Tempe. Her work has appeared in Brevity, Femme Fotale, Punctuate, Survivor Zine, Under the Gum Tree and Hip Mama. She has two CNF books, A Land Between and By the Forces of Gravity,  a memoir (forthcoming June 2018 Books by Hippocampus) of cartoons and verse.  Find Rebecca on social media: @rfishewan

One Response to Loose Lips: On Telling

  1. Pingback: Rebecca Fish Ewan Published in Mutha Magazine | Books by Hippocampus

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