My response to the group piece "Rape Poem to End All Rape Poems" by Rutgers University
At the College Slam Poetry Competition there was a group piece titled:
“A Rape Poem to End All Rape Poems”
And I really wish they hadn’t said that.
Cause pretending salt is sugar
or that an exposition can be a climax and conclusion,
To even title something with an assumption that we will ever be able to stop writing and talking about rape is one of the most ignorant statements you could ever make.
Being colorblind is considered racist
So being rape-blind should be anti-humanist.
There are a lot of slam poems about rape.
But if I ever learned anything from my history professor
It’s that change occurs with many different voices and from many different places-
No victim is the same.
No crime identical.
There was a girl in Venezuela.
Because she had stopped dating one of the mafia boys,
They decided to teach her a lesson.
Stop generalizing rape down to what she wore,
if she said no, was he asking for it, was she carrying pepper spray,
why did she walk home alone, were they teaching him a lesson- rape isn’t about environment, it happens everywhere.
Rape is about power.
Those boys wanted to show her what real men could do-
They decided to rape her little sister.
Rape isn’t just a story.
This might get old for you
But I promise,
That nothing is the same for a woman or man who is raped.
They relive that moment
Every day for the rest of their lives.
It doesn’t get old for them.
They can’t close the book on it.
If you think rape poems are repetitive think about how every 6 minutes a rape is reported-
But people know that many victims don’t report,
Studies say that at least one rape occurs every minute.
1 for 1.
Talk about repetitive.
The miffed ex-boyfriend found a teenage boy.
Told him that if he didn’t rape her little sister he would kill his entire family.
This is cross-cultural,
Rape has occurred on every single continent including Antarctica.
The Impure Pandemic; it doesn't care about gender, age or skin pigmentation.
It’s an infectious disease.
And we still haven’t found the cure, or even a vaccine.
They held down the little girl.
We can never stop talking about rape.
There can never be a rape poem to end all rape poems
Not every little girl is as lucky as her- for it to end at attempted rape.
15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 12.
My friend Daniel risked his life to save her.
He was stabbed after running in while the teenage boy fumbled with buttons too big for his fingers.
He fought off five men to release her.
1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetimes.
And 1 in every ten rape victims are male.
These are our sisters, brothers, sons and daughters, mothers, fathers, and grandparents.
Just as we know our victims, we know our attackers.
They aren’t strangers in an alley.
They aren’t Hollywood rapists where the scene cuts out before the final act.
They aren’t Law and Order.
They aren’t plundering soldiers.
Don’t hide behind sad commentary like “He didn’t mean it.” “I was too drunk.” “I shouldn’t have gone out that night.” “She apologized.”
We cannot perpetuate this illness.
We cannot pretend that if we stop writing poetry, stop talking about it, that it will go away.
Pretending you don’t have a disease doesn’t cure it.
I don’t have a problem with your poem.
I agree with a lot of it.
I don’t even have a problem with you.
But there can never be an “until” with rape poetry.
Even if by some miracle, someday, rape and sexual violence is eradicated like small pox,
We can never forget a little girl in Venezuela,
A soldier in a barracks,
Girlfriend after one too many drinks,
The man caught in an initiation ring,
Grandparent abused in home,
We cannot stop talking even if we “run out of material.”
Too many stories to paint into one poem: it is dishonest and unworthy of their suffering.
There will never be a “Rape Poem to End All Rape Poems.”
I must keep listening.