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By Emily Fishenden

Please note this piece comes with a trigger warning: sexual assault, panic attacks. If this piece raises any issues for you, please seek help by calling 1800 RESPECT or Lifeline 13 11 14.

Its 10pm and I’m drowning...

The pressure on my chest pushes so far down that I’m afraid my ribs will crack and pierce my lungs; water will seep into the space left in my body by the breath that won’t come. I close my eyes, my breath catches again. I close my eyes, hoping it will all go away. I can feel it all closing in on me, slowly tearing away at my sanity. I choke on my cries for help as I drown further beneath the weight.

I can feel your hand on my cheek and your lips on my neck.

I try to bring myself back to reality. Back to the safety of my room away from the gurgling, swimming back towards the watery light.

Your hands are gripping my thighs so tight I’m scared they’ll bruise. I feel your breath between my legs. I beg you to stop. You cover my mouth with one hand and pin my wrists above my head with the other.

“It’s my birthday. Just let me.”

I ask you to stop again. You squeeze my wrists tighter.

I can't fight it anymore. It’s your birthday, I should just let you.

I lay back and sink into the bed praying it will swallow me, pull me in and away from here, from you. It’s your birthday, I should just let you.

I call you hoping it will stop the downwards plunge. I call you to beg for a reason. But you don’t answer.

Your hands are on my breasts and I moan as I hold back tears.

I'm scared to fight back. I’m terrified to lose you.

It’s your birthday. So I’ll just let you.

The blood runs along my skin but I feel no pain. I scratch and dig praying that I will be able to feel anything real.

I burst through the surface, gasping, kicking. Frozen by the icy depths. Numbed. I can’t feel you touch me anymore.

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