A Harmless Little Game

By: Meli Raine

(Harmless Series #1)

Chapter 1

In the video I’m wearing three scarves. One around my waist as a bright, electric blue belt that cuts neatly through my white, A-line dress.

One around my pony tail, a vibrant purple that was supposed to be the “in” color that season. Maybe even the next season. I think I was trying to be ahead of the trends. I don’t really remember why I picked it.

Can’t we just say I liked it? Isn’t that enough?

And, finally, one around my neck, a red scarf the color of pinched skin and flushed fever. The color of arousal.

The color of pain.

When I got dressed that morning I didn’t know. Couldn’t know.

I had no idea three fashion accessories would be used to tie me up so a group of “friends” could assault me. It was as impossible as thinking that my morning coffee mug would be used to bash in my skull, or that my purse would be used to choke me. That just doesn’t happen. Shouldn’t happen.

Boring objects in our lives should not be used to hurt us.

But those scarves burned. They bound me. They held me in place.

They gagged me.

Those objects of beauty became instruments of torture.

I don’t blame the scarves. They’re just pieces of cloth.

The men who used them are the ones I hold responsible.

And the man who did nothing to stop what happened was the worst of all.

Here’s some basic arithmetic:

Three scarves.

Four men.

Three attackers.

One boyfriend.

What do you think hurt me the most? The scarves? The hot, swollen, unlubricated flesh that violated me like I was just a fold of meat to jack off into? The wrenched shoulders and torn ACL from being trussed and tied up like something in a bad porno? The broken cheekbone from being raped from behind so hard my face smashed into the coffee table leg more times than the ER doctor could document?

Or knowing that my boyfriend—my best friend—just sat there on the couch and watched?

I don’t really have it in me to pick which was worse. They’re all the worst.

How do I know any of this?

The video, of course. You’ve seen it. I know you have.

Everyone has seen it.

Hell, people in Inuit villages in East Greenland have seen it. I know this because of the emails. The Tweets. The Facebook posts. The Snapchat and Instagram and even Pinterest pins that mock me tirelessly although I don’t have those accounts.

Even now, four years later. It persists.

Pain never dies.

Neither does online shaming.

Then there are the dick pics. Oh, God, the endless dick pics. When you’re a senator’s daughter and you get drugged and gang raped on live, streaming television and the taped video is later broadcast on every legitimate media web page and pirate torrent site on the planet, you tend to draw out the crazies.

The ones who think sending you a picture of their naked, erect little sausage is like bringing candy and flowers on a date. Like that picture will make you sleep with them. Become their girlfriend.

Become their property.

It seems half the world thinks I “deserved” it. That I got too drunk and passed out and got “what was coming.” Um...what was coming was the three men who drugged me. Set up a camera. Created an online channel.

And told the world to watch.

How many people get to watch a live deflowering?

And how many people get to later watch themselves being, as one of the guys referred to it, “devirginized.”

That’s right. Not only was I violated by three frat guys I considered friends, but they took my virginity, too.

They took so much from me that night, four years ago.

Four years is a long time.

But time’s up for those men.

Time is finally on my side.

“Ms. Bosworth?” The voice that interrupts my thoughts is within feet of my position in front of the wide picture window. I’m gazing out at the manicured gardens that roll out like airbrushed Thomas Kincade paintings.

I turn to see the “activities director,” Stacia, looking at me with cold concern. They’re all cold here, smooth and efficient but really unemotional. “Activities director” is what this mental hospital calls a therapist. I’ve spent four years living here at the Island Meditation and Serenity Center.

Now it’s time to leave the Island, go home, and face real life.