by Debra Handler
It was a wondrous night. A beach party like no other, brimful of strong energy and powerful magic.
I left the dancers, leaping and stamping in loose ease among the palm trees, and wandered onto the shore. I moved to some bushes for a nature call.
The moon, the stars, the rocks and the ocean called me further. The music and lights grew fainter. I found a comfortable rock and sat down for a smoke. As I took in the smoke, I felt this fire mix with joy: I was energized and content
Oops! En garde, male approaching. My senses grew wary in a familiar reaction. He asked for a light. With cautious hand, I extended matches. He grabbed my arm, he grabbed my waist "Sex sex I want to make sex sex with you," he demanded.
"No! I don't want! I have my period. I have another man. I don't want" I babbled feebly; it took some moments to believe this was really happening to me. Finally, I believed, and my strength and rage gathered quickly.
There on the rocks, under the dimming full moon, we fought I howled and I punched and I pushed and I kicked. I fought. He screamed, "Sex sex I want to make sex sex with you." I screamed, "I hate you! I don't want! I hate you!"
I had a crazy idea. too, remnant of earlier visions. I thought my attacker and I were brother and sister. I told him so, I told him no sex because it would be like incest, unclean and taboo. We fought.
Finally, with the moon down and darkness everywhere, I held him. I lay back on a shelf of rocks and I held him pressed tightly to me. He could not wiggle or move in my grip. He seemed pacified. We slept or passed out for a few minutes.
I woke dream-filled, still holding. The eastern sky was getting lighter. With relief, I saw that dawn was coming. In the growing light, I could see the party, I could even see the dancers.
I stood us up, the young man who wanted sex sex, and me, who didn't. I pushed - followed him over the rocks back to the sand, passing the cigarette sitting-rock. At the shore, he tried former once more, weakly. I pushed him away, strongly. He walked away, away from me and away from the party.
I shuffled over the sand, back to the dancers. I was dazed. My bones felt empty. I felt at peace, too, and tall. I joined the dancers. I too swayed and stamped, leaped and moved. I felt light and pure, and I danced a prayer for positive space.
I was not certain anything had happened out there on the rocks. Not until I found my trousers ripped, my legs scratched and my body suddenly strong with new muscles did I believe, again.
Debra Handler lives in Montreal. Many encounters with aggression have stirred a determination to work with women to create change. Debra teaches ACTION, a women's self-defense course, and volunteers at a feminist abortion clinic.