(Recently, I was privileged to watch the strength of women who had been sexually assaulted share their stories with help from a very brave women.  It inspired a poem, but I wanted to work on it and edit it to make it as polished as possible.  The subject deserves quality work.)

It is said that the more awareness you live with,
The angrier you will be.
With the constant growth in the number of sexual assault cases
I’m pretty pissed.
Especially with the excuses

Don’t tell me it was her outfit
Women assaulted in military fatigues are not camouflaged from the pain they endure
Saluting a flag
Fighting for freedom
When freedom is pinned down and told to just take it
Who cares if the dress leaves nothing to imagination?
Who cares if every curve is outlined? Don’t create a dress code for permissible assault
When women across seas get raped while wearing burkas.
By assailants who see the prize in their eyes.

Don’t tell me she should have been more careful
Not to place herself in those situations
Destroy this perception that attacks always happen in dark alleys or parties with strangers
It can occur anywhere
Dorm rooms
Churches
Friend’s house
Relative’s house
Their house
Their room in their house
Their crib.

Don’t say it’s not rape if she knew him
It’s rape if she said no
It does not matter how many times she consented before
You didn’t build up a nest egg that you could use to fund your abuse.

Don’t tell me you don’t care because you don’t know her.
Apathy has made us tolerant through indifference.
Where is the love for people?
I shouldn’t have to give examples of names
Or say, “what if it was your relative?”
You shouldn’t be so heartless to not grieve with your fellow human.
Forget “what if it was…”
The fact that “it” exists is enough to put a stop to it.

Don’t tell me because he’s a man he can’t be raped
Or tell him to man up when saying no to what isn’t wanted is manly
Don’t tell me because he’s a boy he can’t be raped
Or tell him to man up when he’s not a man
Protect all victims
No means no regardless of gender
Assailants are assailants regardless of gender
Leave people alone.
Don’t damage their souls because of power and ego.
You’ll live with rejection
Don’t let them live with the idea that they have no sovereignty over their own bodies.

If you do believe any of these things
Don’t tell me anything
I’d rather be in bliss unaware of your ignorance.
I’m angry enough.