top of page

I believe you

By Rukhsana Ahmed 

He was older than me
It was summer; I was at the cottage, away from friends and bored 
I accepted his invitation only to find out it was a party of one at his bachelor pad 
We drank, we laughed; I was having a good time
We drank some more…, it’s all a bit fuzzy….
But, I did say NO, and he ignored me
I was so ashamed and swallowed the pain.

He was my friend’s cousin 
It was a weekend; I had a sleepover at my friend’s house 
We played, we watched TV, and we ate 
It was a fun day so far until he came over for a visit
We all played hide and seek; he kept following me…intimidating me…
I was shocked and failed to scream…did I just let it happen?
I was afraid and thought NO one would believe me.
He was a family friend 
It was Christmas time; my parents went shopping
He was babysitting me and my younger siblings; we all enjoyed a scavenger hunt with toys
The youngsters were napping upstairs and I was cleaning the dust from my noisy PlayStation 
He joined me with an alcohol flask…fascinated and curious, I accepted to take a few sips… 
Although intoxicated, I knew what he started to do to me was WRONG…
Confused and afraid, I could never disclose what happened to me as a young boy. 


It happened to me as a 21 year old woman; I did not consent  
It happened to me as a 16 year old girl; it was not a game I wanted to play  
It happened to me as a 12 year old boy; I did not make it up

Rukhsana Ahmed is Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Communication at the University at Albany. In between teaching, researching, leading, and managing, Rukhsana loves spending time with her family, travelling, consuming pop culture, reading, and writing.


She dedicates this poem to people who are falling prey to sexual assault amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rukhsana Ahmed
bottom of page