The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

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The Devil You Know…

…often isn’t the prince you thought they were.
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Merrick Foote

You are a princess.

Unlike the rest, you don’t rely on animals to keep you company or a fairy godmother to make you a gown. You hold your own in a way that makes you strong, but also vulnerable. 

You don’t need a magic mirror to tell you you’re beautiful, everyone else already does that for you. Although, like other princesses, you have always dreamed of a Prince Charming to come and save you from your tower, to sweep you off your feet and to take you far away from here. That’s all you’ve ever wanted: to get out of here. From the town that has torn you apart; from the people in it that have done nothing but build you up and break you right back down: the town that has a maddening grip on your innocence and shows no signs of relenting. 

I figured because it didn’t happen in a dark alley with a big, scary man, then it didn’t happen to me. 

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There is such a stigma behind abuse.

It’s abstract, really. You don’t know what it’s like until you’ve experienced it for yourself. Even then, you are constantly at war with your mind trying to determine if what you went through is valid. The answer? A cold shrug from people who have been through the same thing or people who haven’t. Sharp shivers as the words, “you could’ve done this,” or “why didn’t you do that,” run down your arms and legs. The unsettling solution to your problem that seems never ending is as follows: it’s your fault and there’s nothing you can do.

It happened so fast I can’t even remember every detail.

It felt like an eternity. An eternity that replays every time I try to fall asleep.

The most intimidating part about abuse or assault isn’t that the perpetrator can sometimes be known or often loved. They will chew you up and spit you out, just to remain above you; to establish once again they are superior, they are stronger, they will continue to keep you silent. 

They will say you can’t hurt them—and you can’t. Not the way they hurt you. 

They will make you feel small. 

They will call you selfish. 

They will say you wanted this. 

We’re taught how to avoid abuse from happening, but never taught how to heal from it when it does happen. Never taught how to acknowledge the pain and feel it all at once. Never taught how to dismiss it when the wound reopens six months later. 

Maybe you are the exact opposite. The quiet boy that people see but don’t really know. Longing for a princess to sweep off her feet. Maybe you found her, maybe she hurt you. Maybe you’re the one people call for advice, but when you’re the one on the other end no one answers. 

Abuse is really just a game played between one person and a winner. Because the winner always wins. It comes in many different shapes and sizes, but there is always one common goal: power and to be dominant over your partner, friend or teacher. Whether it is physical, emotional, sexual or anything between, it is not love. It is not being protected or taken care of, it is being an object to someone you used to dream about when you were small. It is trying to squeeze your foot into a slipper that just does not fit, shattering it into a million pieces. 

We are taught to admire people: the untouchables. We’re taught to look up to them, not to fear them. So why do we fear them anyway? What are we supposed to do when an untouchable touches us? How do we reclaim our lives and bodies and build them back up like we were never touched? Like we were never hurt? Who is supposed to save us when there is no knight in shining armor; when Prince Charming is the reason we need saving? 

But you are the princess in this story; princesses are never hurt like this, right? So why were you? Why is anyone?  Every single person should be considered untouchable. This only ever happens in the movies; what do you mean it happened to you? 

Society perpetuates a ride-or-die mindset.

You feel guilty for walking away. You feel pressured from everyone around you to leave, while at the same time others are saying to ride the wave and to wait it out because it’s just a storm passing through. They don’t see it like you do: Prince Charming and the devil being the same person. Holding you and then hurting you.

Regardless if you are an untouchable; thinking you have earned your protection from the monsters under your bed and Prince Charming waiting at the bottom of your tower; it doesn’t make you protected. Protection should be a given. Love should be respect. 

It’s walking down the hallways every day, seeing the same people as yesterday, but in a different light. Wondering if they have felt this pain, too. If it was their Prince Charming, a neighbor or a family member. It’s a lonely feeling. It’s a lot of heart pounding and shaky hands. It is seeing this person and feeling your feet melt in your shoes, as if you could just seep through the floor. 

Isn’t this what you wanted? To be loved.

Isn’t this what you wanted? For someone to finally see you. 

Isn’t this what you wanted? 

No. Not this way. 

It is a beautiful thing to survive something so hideous.

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About the Contributors
Mollie Wagner, Sports Media Managing Editor
Mollie Wagner is a junior and this is her second year on staff. She plays on the varsity softball team and her favorite color is yellow.
Merrick Foote, Editor-In-Chief
Merrick Foote is a senior and this is his third year on staff. He is the Editor-in-Chief. His favorite quote is: "If you never admit you're wrong, you're never wrong."
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