Spoken Word / A Response to #YesAllWomen

“Thread your lower lip between your teeth,” he whispered

He said, “I have a weak spot for pretty girls who pout.”

He lay her insecurities down in the cradle of his hips

And left purpled handprints along her biceps as he held her arms down

Because he felt entitled to an all-access pass to her body

And told her to take it as a compliment—

The word rape was never in her vocabulary

Until it was the only word she knew,

Meanwhile he lacked the ability to grasp the meaning of the word “consent”

Using his able body to attempt to break her spirit

And dim her starry eyes, polished and bright with liquor.

He relentlessly pumped out her independence to insert his dominance,

He felt untouchable

With adrenaline propping up the booster seat to his confidence

He felt fulfilled instead of condemned

And laughed as he smeared her tears across her cheekbones

She thought she heard them snap as her heart broke

She could only plead,

“I’m not a tease, but since when did ‘NO’ translate to ‘Will you, please?”

In arrogance, he waved her words away from his ears

So they fell to the floorboards crumpled and torn

Before they were trampled under his heels as he stumbled away

Exultant and triumphant,

No thought to the despair or the crippling weight

She was left to shoulder alongside fresh hate

Which boiled and simmered for six silent years

Before she realized she was pickling her tongue and her shriveling vocal cords

She slowly stopped clenching her teeth and biting her nails

And let syllables slip from between her chapped lips and worn fingertips

Severing the threads stitching shame to her soul,

She worked to once again easily connect and converse

And discovered she was far from alone.

But see, it’s never just about dominance, masculinity, or the number of rapes

It’s about how frequently people are taken advantage of

How multiple people turn away

Pointing fingers and continuously shifting the blame

That society often deems misogyny and ignorance okay

No thought to how victims must trudge on with scars,

Pills clutched in the dark,

Pills on top of pills consumed to consume feelings

How victims are not allowed to mourn the weeks, months, and years

Lost to depression and self-hate, but are encouraged to “just get over it”

Many are taught to slip by with Band-Aids plastered over tear ducts  

While their hands are duct-taped to their sides so they don’t rise to form fists.

Instead of teaching people to run towards something,

To go about dancing again,

We numb tongues into muffled submission

Claiming issues are “taken care of” even though they are less than half-addressed

We need to make a change

Nurture trust and acceptance regardless of class, gender, or age

Remove our headphones from our ears and open our arms

Learn to listen and observe, to be patient and concerned

Because what she wears doesn’t mean his actions are excused

That she has sex with other guys but not you, doesn’t mean she’s playing hard to get

Own up to the fact that rape is by definition non-consensual,

You’re deluded if you still think that means she was “asking for it.”