“Was it the backless back of a black dress that did it?”
They’ll ask, loudly
even though the wolves that roam these streets
are merely feigning sleep
and are starving
They will agree
as drool slips from the hinge of a wolfish grin
from the forked tongue
of an angel
“What else could she expect?”
they must abide by the code of the pack(of course)
which is of course
the root of disrespect
“How obscene! How uncouth!”
(how to measure human flesh)
as if they could hold up her “no(s)” to his “yes”
which is bigger and louder
“Yes! … Yes! … Yes!”
As if to them
to the wolves, to the men, to the uncondemned
what happened, really
was for the best.
I want to believe things get better
simply because I have a loving boyfriend and father
but then I hear about the guys that use and abuse my friends
and look who's our future president
I want to believe sexism will go away
but Mr. President proves it's here to stay
objectifying women is normal and totally okay
not even the most qualified women could beat this man
all she did was make plan after plan
but don't you know a women's always beat by a man
Upon my arrival, I whisper-walked
Erasing my steps like a broom
I avoided bottlenecks and having my back to the door
Soft voices and sweet
Made me cringe
So did people who had no smell.
What was I, they wanted to know,
Such a delicate and precariously balanced thing,
Doing at the Crossroads?
Even the smallest and most inconsequential among us,
Could knock you apart
with a soft, experimental tap.
I’m sure that when they were children
They broke all their toys.
And I’m a living doll.
Perhaps I should, but I don’t want
To creak open the hinges of their faces.
There are things worse than skulls and brains.
Such as humorless laughter.
What you must realize,
What you need to comprehend.
At times like this,
A girl would give anything
To be ugly.
When I was 12 I moved to a country
Where women were seen as unequal
and treated like second-class citizens
I would walk in the street with my sister and men would stare at us
the fact that we were young made us more appealing
I learned that year that men stare and women walk by
When I was 13 I would walk from school, to my friend’s house,
To the place where my friends and I would all hang out
We made contingency plans for if a man came up to us in the street
And we realized that there was no most likely and least likely
it was just as likely that someone would come up and punch one of us
as it was for someone to try to rape one of us
as it was for someone to kill one of us
as it was for someone to grope one of us
as it was for someone to walk straight past us
I learned that year that men act and women make contingency plans
When I was 14 I was brought into a room
With 35 of my female classmates to talk about assault and harassment
We all closed our eyes and were told
to talk about anything that’s ever happened to us
We were in there for an hour telling stories
When we got out, the boys told us what happened in their meeting
The boys were aggressively reminded not to hurt
or harass or assault women
I learned that year that men are reminded and women tell survivor stories
I left that country and that world behind a long time ago
But I still hear jokes about rape and assault,
jokes about harassment and feminism and treating women right
I am told that I am unhinged and overemotional
because I lash out with anger at those jokes
because to me they aren’t jokes
I learned at 12, and 13, and 14
that men stare and act and are reminded not to
and women walk by and make contingency plans and tell survivor stories
That is no joke
Women are always told they are too much.
Too angry, too calm
Too quiet, too loud
Too big, too small
And we are all of these things
We are angry.
Angry about the internalized oppression that still flows on a day to day basis. We are angry about our predefined roles of what girl is, what girl should be.
And we are too calm.
Calm about the man that called you a name in the street and all you wanted to do was cry
Or the teacher that told you you couldn't do what you wanted because it was a mans place, not a woman's
You should have yelled, but you didn't. Because we are too calm.
We are too quiet.
We are silenced.
Our opinions are ranked of worthiness by our physical features, our body types. Our intelligence is last to our sexual appeal. We can not be heard through the babble of social media judging and critiquing and pointing out our flaws. So we are quiet.
And we are loud.
We have the ability to speak for the world. To weave the revolution out of the words of women. We have the voice to speak to our sisters globally, teach women that we are loud. We can drown out prejudice with the power of voice and bring down the barrier of how a girl should be.
We are small.
Told that our personalities are preset by the gender normalities that the patriarchy has placed, we are shrunk to fit our predefined roles. They cut us into shapes so we can not realize that we are so much bigger.
Because we are big.
We are huge. We have global impact. While we are cut down, I would like to see us glue each other back together. I want to see women take back our voices. I want to hear women all over the world speak how they feel, bust through the barriers of what the patriarchy has told them. Fight back against their rapists, abusers, silencers. When someone tells you that you are being too much, say "I am. And I am becoming so much more."
I refuse to be quiet.
In the quiet I can hide.
In the quiet I can deny it,
But I refuse to be silent.
Because even in the quiet,
It's still here.
The shame, the pain, and the fear
It's still here.
You told me it was cool,
And to be cool,
I had to do what you told me to do.
You told me it was a game,
A game I had to play,
But it was just between us.
You told me this was love.
I trusted you,
I did what I thought I was supposed to do,
But I was a child and you were a man.
You lived, you breathed, you once were free,
But what about me?
I was a child.
I was five and you were thirteen.
You were dirty, I was clean.
I refuse to be quiet,
Because in the quiet you can hide it,
Because in the quiet you can deny it.
I will not be silent.
You don't know what it's like
To be violate
To be held against your will
And felt up
And leave bruises
By someone you trusted
By someone you thought cared about you
You don't know what it's like to be used just for your body
By someone you thought cared for more than just nudes
By someone who told you were cute and pretty
You don't know what it's like to tell the person who violated you
What they did to you
And how it made you feel
You don't know what it's like to receive a fake apology
One only to get you to shut up
But as you're telling him your point of view
And as he's pretending to apologize
You could just feel all the "I don't cares" and "will you shut up nows"
You don't know what its like to attempt to leave an uncomfortable situation
Only to be pulled back by the handle on your backpack
Unaware of what is going on
You thought you were leaving
You don't know what it's like to be held up against the body
Of a strong, tall male
Unable to push him away
Unable to squirm out of the situation
You don't know what it's like to be barely able to breathe
Because your face is pressed right up against his side
But of course you knew he was strong
He played hockey and baseball
But you didn't know he was that strong
You don't know what it's like to be violated by someone you thought you could trust, or thought they could protect you.
Let's not mention how you don't know what it's like
To be sitting in class, sharing your homework with another boy
Only to feel his hand on your leg
You don't know what it's like to sit in a room full of students
And have no one notice what is happening
And you've shot a look that says don't do it
Yet he takes that as a look to continue to go up further
Because he thought it would increase tension
But really he made your self-worth decrease
You don't know what it's like to have an unwanted hand go up your skirt
And you thought it was okay to wear a skirt that day
Just like you wore one every other day
Because the Kilt was part of your school uniform
But of course that made your visible legs vulnerable
And it's a good thing that someone else call for his attention
Because you wanted anything but his
And you don't know what it's like to make a scene
Or to tell someone
Because you're not sure if you parents will be more upset
About you talking to boys or that your got yourself into those situations
You don't know what it's like to stay silent
Because you don't want to make matters worse
But it's my body, why would someone think they have access to it?
Because you don't know what it's like to be sexually assaulted
Hands clasp perfectly together
A grip can’t be broken
Flawless face drenched in auburn silk
Cold eyes engulfed by charcoal-dipped cotton, searing a gaze into memories
Skin softer than water
Each touch painting off-toned purples and greens
Lips quiver in excitement
Jaw clenched tighter with each painful glare
One walks free
One forever marked
Yes doesn't always mean yes
And we forgot what no meant awhile ago
Does the sight of my purple bra strap
Turn you on?Oh well
Dont teach me how to dress
Teach your son not to rape
Dont give me detention for showing my
Melanin rich legs
Teach your son not to stare
I should be able to wear what i want and
Not be punished because I flaunt
"What were you wearing?"
"Clearly you were asking for it !"
Does it make you feel powerful to tell me that
I do not own my body?
Do you get satisfaction from looking down on me
from the pedestal you’ve clawed and crawled your way onto?
does it make you feel good to threaten me
with words that come out of your mouth so empty
but land on my shoulders so heavy
do you get high from the nauseous look in her eyes
as she meets yours, slowly trespassing along her body?
Does it sound like music to hear the tremble in her voice,
look like art to see her to resent her femininity,
feel like silk to touch what you have no business touching?
Tell me what it is.
Tell me what you think you can get from me,
what it is you think I owe you.
Tell me that it is necessary, justify your theft –
Do you feed off of dehumanization,
can you pocket the profit from her sense of security,
shelter yourself with their rights, their body, their life?
Where did you learn to value your impulses over her innocence?
Where did you learn to assert yourself where you do not belong?
Where did you learn to rip a woman apart piece by piece
starting with her dignity and ending with her self-worth?
what does it feel like to own your body?