It’s been a few months since I’ve posted any of my own work on here. The other day when I was getting ready for bed, because it’s always when I’m getting ready for bed, I got an idea. I’m not entirely happy with the way it looks on the page, but it’s also meant to be spoken, so ideally no one would see the page anyway. This piece is almost a composite of different conversations I’ve had over the past few months, things I’ve seen posted online, and things I’ve overheard as I’ve went about my way. The opening quote is something that was actually said to me by a man. Anyway, here is is. Feedback is always appreciated.
I Can Hear You
I can hear you.
I see you standing there on the corner with your friends
and I can hear you.
You say, “I’m so sick of hearing about rape culture”
but I’m sick of living in one.
I’m sick of the first words out of your mouth being
“What were you wearing?” and
“Were you drinking?”
“How can I help you?” and
“Are you ok?”
I’m sick of it being ok to tell me not to get onto an elevator
if I’m alone late at night and a man is already on it but it becomes absurd
to tell a man that if he is on an elevator
in the middle of the night and a woman gets on alone
that he should keep his hands to himself because the burden
is on me to not get raped instead of on you to not rape.
And contrary to the belief of Republican politicians
a rape kit won’t “clean me out” and
my body doesn’t have a “way to shut that whole thing down”
because my vagina doesn’t come equipped
with sperm-fighting ninjas…but it could.
I’m not opposed.
I want to tell you these things.
I want to tell you what it’s like to be a woman in this world today
or even what it’s like to be me in this world today.
Maybe you’ll listen.
Maybe you’ll be willing to meet me
on that cognitive plane where we can discuss this imbalance of responsibility
and brainstorm together how to stop it
so that you can stop hearing about it
and I can stop living it.
Then again, maybe you won’t be willing
to meet me in that place and that rape culture
you’re so sick of hearing about tells me not to speak
because there are four of you and only one of me
and speaking is an invitation.
Even though it’s over 90 degrees with 80% humidity
all anyone will remember is that I was wearing
a pair of shorts and a tank top and that I was alone.
Maybe you will listen but
I’m going to remain silent and keep walking.
After I cross the street.