Skip to main content


my journey into and out of the arms of an abuser

by Jessica Yaffa & Dave Franco

I danced. He stared.

Of course, he danced too, but it was merely so he could watch me twirling in the lights that synchronized to the pulsating techno music beating against the body like sonic booms. It’s the only kind of music they played at Hi, Society, where the lights would nearly shut off altogether only to be dashed by strobes of shocking blues and greens. It added a little peekaboo to what was already a game of cat and mouse. I bathed in the lights, the bass that passed through my body and in his hungry stare. He was really nice, nice enough to buy me a couple of drinks and carry on a perfectly lovely conversation, as lovely as one can get screaming over the music. He wasn’t aggressive, just turned on. He was one more guy who couldn’t resist the smile that would start small, and then slowly grow across my face, igniting my eyes. My left shoulder moved ever-so-slightly forward and my chin would drop down so I was always looking up at him. It was as good as gold.

He would advance and touch me soon, they always did. He would grab me around the waste at my invitation—an invitation that began when I would pull my hair up to the top of my head and fan my neck with the other hand. And there we would dance, arms around me, from behind, perhaps a little kiss to my neck. This particular guy was definitely coming home with me this night, no ifs, ands or buts about it. I knew them like books.

But of course, this being the first night together, he wasn’t going to get what he came for. He was going to get what I came for. It worked the same with all of them. They were going to get some loving, but just as much as assured me that they would call—and they always called again. On the second date, however, they got the pleasure of my body in full, glorious gallops over the dunes of my bed sheets. It was exactly how I planned it. The cast and catch and subsequent sex felt good to me. It made me feel strong and in control. I laughed out loud and loved recklessly, deep into the night. I kept nothing from them, other than the fact that I was likely the saddest, emptiest girl on the face of the planet.