What Women Deal With Daily

I used to wear headphones when going for a walk

But this was before I was beeped at, whistled at, shouted at, stared at

Now I stay vigilant, I stay aware

I feel like an owl, twisting and turning my head to make sure I’m not being followed

Don’t get me started on walking alone at night

I have given myself a curfew, even before my mother had to

Because even though she knows the dangers of a small, young girl being alone on a dark street

I know now, too

I know, through experience, that I have to keep myself safe

 

I don’t always wear what I want to

Because in eighth grade, my best friend was assaulted when wearing shorts and a t-shirt

In ninth grade, my cousin and I were honked at when we were both in leggings

Last year in tenth grade, my friends who I care about so much, as well as me

Were grabbed, touched, held, stroked, crooned at, called pet names

By strangers, absolute strangers

Sometimes even by people we thought were friends

There is a complex in this world that women are raped because of what they wear

If I get sexually assaulted

I don’t want my woes to be brushed off just because I was wearing a crop top

 

Somebody asked me out recently

Three times

I turned this person down

Three times

No, you are not “this charming man” you paint yourself to be

You are scaring me

Persistent, insistent, resistant against my pleas for you to stop

I now fear that I will face the consequences

For not adhering to a man’s wishes

 

I am only 17 years old

And already by this young age

I fear wearing headphones when going for a walk

Because I won’t know what’s coming at me

I fear wearing something “risqué”

Because my body is apparently just for men’s gratification, they see risqué as an invitation

I fear not doing what a man wants
Because he will do whatever it takes to have what he desires, even if it is detrimental to me

Please just tell me, tell me

Why do I have to change what I do when my actions are not the problem?

 

This poem is about: 
Our world

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