No Means No
Michelle Black, Monday, August 16, 2010
I woke up early. It was the first day of school, and the first day I would have to see Jason Trevino since the party. He'd been hunting for me ever since my week in the Naked in School Program. He finally caught up to me at a party to celebrate the end of the school year. I tasted something funny in my drink, and woke up underneath him. I'd managed to get a DNA sample, but Trevino insisted it was consensual, and the cops believed him. After all, I had been drinking. Mom and Jeff, my stepdad, had offered to move back to Nitrate City or let me switch to the regular public school, but I turned them down. For one thing, I didn't want to give him the satisfaction, and I at least knew I had a support network at McGovern.
I picked Shane up, and he held my hand as we walked into the school, escorted by about half the soccer team. I got to my first class and sat down. I glanced over at the spot where we had stripped everyday that week we were in The Program. Nobody would be stripping there anymore; the state legislature closed the loophole that let charter schools implement NIS over the summer. Actually it was right before Trevino got me. Nobody said anything about what had happened over the summer as we walked to class. I don't know if it was because of the soccer players surrounding me, out of sensitivity, or because people just hadn't heard.
I had lucked out and got the same lunch as Shane. We sat together at a table in the courtyard.
"How's it going?" Shane asked, placing his hand on top of mine.
"Good, all my classes are going ok and no one's said anything."
"I heard physics is supposed to be a ball-buster."
"Yeah, maybe I'll get a study group together."
"That'd be a good way to meet people."
"Mmm-hmm." I hadn't made very many friends here, outside of the soccer team and their girlfriends. I'd spent the school year since being in the Program looking over my shoulder for Trevino and most of the summer hiding in my room.
I looked over at the cheerleaders, who were doing one of their routines in the middle of the courtyard.
"What the fuck is that about?"
"They do this every year," Shane explained, "it's supposed to get people pepped up for the football season."
I snorted derisively "Any chance of that ever happening."
"I doubt it, I think what happened to you was the last straw for a lot of people."
"You and Molly weren't the only ones. You were just the only ones brave enough to come forward."
"Not that it did us much good."
He sighed heavily, "Yeah."
We both looked down at our food. After a minute I scooted over next to Shane and he put his arm around me. For some reason I felt safe whenever he touched me.
Our silence was broken by one of the cheerleaders, who had walked over to our table.
"Don't forget to come out Friday September 3 to support your fighting hawks in their first home game of the season! Whoooo!" She waved her pom-poms around and bounced off.
"Fucking bitch," Shane muttered.
I didn't say anything. The girl had given me an idea. I ruminated on it the rest of the day and explained it to Shane on the way home. Shane Bush
Michelle's plan needed other girls who had been raped by Trevino. Molly Alvarado said she might be able to make it back and I'd found two others who were willing to come forward. I went ahead and called Mrs. Joseph. After the state made The Program illegal, she had moved to Austin to work for some lobbying organization, but I still had her number.
She answered the phone, "Shane? I'm surprised to hear from you."
I explained Michelle's plan to her.
"That sounds like a good idea, buy you'll probably want to hire a lawyer ahead of time. The Texas Women's Law Center specializes in this type of case, let me give you their number. Also, would it help if I showed up?"
"Yeah, we want as many people there as possible."
"In that case, I'll see if anyone else from my office wants to come."
I went ahead and dialed the number she'd given me.
"Texas Women's Law Center, this is Sherry, how may I help you?"
I explained our situation and got put on the line with Connie Simon, the center's director for rape cases. I explained our situation again.
"I see, well to start with you'll need a lawyer on retainer and it would probably be a good idea to send a media specialist down to give you guys some pointers before the shit hits the fan. When did you say this was planned for?"