CASSANDRA LEWIS is an award-winning playwright. Her plays have been produced in New York, London, Dublin, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and a few other places and published in several Best Of anthologies. More information can be found on her website: www.CassandraLewis.com.
Thanks to Cassandra Lewis for allowing NYCPlaywrights to publish this excerpt from her monologue NIGHTMARE.
I’m in second grade the first time I’m sexually assaulted – an older boy pushes me against the lockers and claws at me, where breasts hadn’t yet formed. In seventh grade, I’m at another new school where the boy who always sits behind me on the bus yells, “Suck my cock!” over and over. I ignore him until he smacks my head into the window. Something snaps. I dive over the seat and punch him until his
face is covered in blood and the bus driver has to pull over.
That’s the only time I really fight back.
As I grow older, harassment and assaults become frequent. I learn to live with them, not accept them, but survive despite them. I learn to ignore or worse—laugh off—sexual discrimination. I quit many jobs. I never file charges. Why would I when prospective employers ask if you’ve ever done so?
I’m a new mother and it takes almost two days for my right nipple to accommodate my nursing baby because it’s so badly injured from a sexual assault that happened sixteen years earlier. But the baby and I keep trying and eventually she finds nourishment. She gains weight and is healthy. She can be anything she wants - a woman is about to be president. She goes with me to vote. And then to protest.