“How could this happen?” I whispered, staring at my phone to read the news I had known was coming. Nothing could have prepared me. Even seeing the leaked draft of the court’s decision weeks in advance hadn’t made me believe they would actually overturn Roe v. Wade. I had still held out hope.
Cash hugged me as I cried at the news. He gently took my phone from me and set it face down on the end table so I would stop doom scrolling. “Men let you down today.”
“Not all men,” I hugged him back.
“Yes,” he said, firmly, wiping my tears away with his thumb. “All men.”
“But you champion women’s rights,” I said, confused. “How many times have I yelled at you to get off Reddit because you were busy arguing with an incel or bigot and I wanted your attention? You’re always outspoken about women’s rights.”
He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. This happened on my watch. I didn’t protect you, or my brother’s wife, or your sister, or any of my female friends. I let this happen.”
“We don’t necessarily need your protection, you know.” I raised an eyebrow at him, as he rummaged through our chest of drawers. “I may be a sub, but I’m still a hurricane when I need to be.”
“Yes, you are. But I’m a white, able-bodied, cis, straight, male. It’s up to me to speak up more.” He found what he was looking for: my collar.
“You do speak up.”
“But it wasn’t enough.”
Cash gently moved my hair out of the way, and buckled my collar in place. I felt my racing heart slow to a normal pace. I still wanted to cry, but the smell and feel of the leather made me feel… I don’t know. Like I could face things.
“You are just one person,” I said quietly.
“We’re all one person.” His fingers traced over the collar and along my jawline, tipping my chin up for a kiss. “But I love you and what I say and do matter. There were times I could have spoken up and didn’t. I heard dirty jokes that were offensive to women and should have told my brothers to knock it off. I saw friends treat their girlfriends like crap and didn’t say anything. I could have tempered my anger to speak more clearly and change more minds when I did speak up. I bit my tongue when guys at work talked about bigoted, conservative values. I should have found causes to volunteer for, protests to attend, politicians to support… instead of sitting on my ass playing video games. ”
“It wouldn’t have made a difference.”
“It might have. It might have if every man out there tried harder. But we didn’t. We failed you. And now, I am terrified that you will get pregnant and something will go wrong and you’ll need care you can’t get. I’m terrified, and it’s my own fault.”
He held me in his arms for a moment and let me cry. When I looked up at him, his eyes were filled with tears too.
I sighed. “I feel helpless.”
He hugged me again. “I know. I do too sometimes. But we’re not helpless, and this is not the end. It can’t be. I should have done better. I can do better. I will do better. I promise. I’m sorry.”
*Based on two actual conversations I had with my husband Cash following the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June 2022.
Today, I feel so grateful and lucky to be married to one of the strongest feminists I know, and to be celebrating our 5-year anniversary. He is not a perfect husband or dom, and I am not a perfect wife or sub, but we never give up on each other, and we always try hard to do better.
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2 thoughts on “Yes, All Men”
A wonderful and important piece, Rori, and your words brought me to tears. We do need to find the strength to fight back, and to fight harder than ever before, but first I need to lick my wounds and get my head in the right space. I’m broken. Shredded. Raw. We all are. You captured that feeling and gave it words and wings. Thank you. <3
*huuuuuug* Thank you, Linnea! xoxoxo I feel the same way. Took a day away from doom scrolling to sit on the beach and just reset a bit. Hope you can do something similar to heal.