A Poem About Rape Culture

She said “How could you wear that?
Be careful if you do.
Some strong man could be walking by
And choose to rape you.”

I said “Because I like this dress,
It flatters me, no doubt.
Getting raped is something
I shouldn’t have to worry about.”

“You’re asking for it now,” she said
I slip on high heeled shoes.
“A strong man will be turned-on,
And do with you what he’ll choose.”

I painted on red lip-stick,
And saw her fold her arms.
“I’d hate to see you leave like that,
And come to any harm.”

My eye-liner was dark and heavy
To accent the color of my eye.
My dress was tight and had a slit
That ran right up my thigh.

“He’ll have no choice, when he sees you,”
She began to say to me,
“He’ll pull you onto some dark street
Where no one can hear you scream.”

Now I turned and looked at her,
Wearing a dog-chain
Around her neck and on it read
Her loving brother’s name.

“Your brother is a good man, no?”
I asked her, politely.
“Then tell me how his natural state
Is to rape someone like me.

He’d have no choice, you claim,
Once he sees most of my back.
The slit in my dress would leave him helpless,
He would naturally attack.

I’m asking for it, so you say,
With my lipstick and my shoes.
Because his natural state is rape, I suppose,
He’s instincts: to abuse.

If that’s the case, do you think
Extra effort is what it takes
For him to walk down the street
And see a woman whom which he won’t rape?”

She said “My brother is a good man.
He would never do such a thing.
It’s your safety that I worry about,
And trouble your dress may bring.”

I said “You shouldn’t have to tell me
To not get raped—avoid a man’s eyes.
You should tell your sons, your brother, your father,
To not rape and act civilized.”

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