Brave, Brave, Brave

The Book of Fellows

CW: Sexual assault and violence against women

“What is your favorite subject in school?” I was trying to make small talk, to not make her wonder if I pitied her, to keep her mind busy with something–anything–else while the attorney was out of the room. For the record, I don’t pity her. She is brave, she survived, and she found her voice somehow; I admire more than pity her.

It seemed odd to be talking about school. I could feel the tension, feel the awkwardness of my question. But it seemed less heavy than the silence. What are you supposed to ask a 12-year-old when she tells you she has been raped multiple times by a family member, by a man she thought she could trust?

I left the room to find a box of tissues. I grabbed a bottle of water for her and for her mother. I had not…

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