2. Untitled (for now)
As a child, I wasn’t told much about men, and
I wasn’t taught to fear those more powerful than me
but to accept that they were more powerful than me;
to lead them into a false sense of security
so I could rise up and take them by surprise.
I wasn’t told much about the common actions of men, and
I wasn’t taught to fear their thoughts
but to understand that it’s just the way things are.
Once, when I was walking to my local shops, I imagined
what I would have done if the man stood beside me
- silently minding his own business, waiting to cross the road -
decided to have a thought, create action.
I like to think that I am strong enough, loud enough,
fast enough, angry enough to get away or draw attention to myself.
But maybe, a small teenage girl wouldn’t be capable
of being as strong as she likes to think she is.
And I found myself subtly shuffling away from him,
cringing terribly at my own fucking thoughts.
That man didn’t do anything, he didn’t even glance in my direction.
It’s just how my mind appears to work,
much like when I took the dog for a walk
and started wondering whether my sister would cry more
over the dog than me, if we were both attacked and killed.
I find myself thinking about the worst case scenarios a lot;
being killed, being kidnapped, being raped…
I suppose it’s just how my mind works, I mean, thinking up situations
works wonders when it comes to writing stories.
But every single time, the person I imagine
killing me, kidnapping me, fucking raping me
is a man.
And I know they all say ‘not all men’,
but it’s like being told off collectively when you’re at school;
it’s the minority that has let you all down.
And it’s rendered me afraid of all men, in situations that should never scare me.
If my mind jumps to the worst case scenario
when I’m near a man that I’ve never met before,
and that worst case scenario is or involves rape or assault,
then that’s when you know that something’s wrong.
And even when there’s no danger involved, you can see
that they’re preparing us, preventing us.
Regulating clothes for respectability, but they’ll still ask a victim
‘Well, what were you wearing?’
like clothes are a crime, like his or her decisions caused it all.
Because victim blaming is the sign of corruption.
And until this is all changed, I can never feel comfortable
standing near a man I don’t know when I’m alone, or
walking home alone without checking over my shoulder,
regardless of the time of day.