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Featured Poem

A Definition of Rape Culture

The men in this poem have many names:

He is the sore loser from class, who to get back at me, 

outs my sexual abuse to my baby brother

the guy who calls himself a feminist because it gets more tinder matches

the wedding guest who thinks rape jokes  are icebreakers

the guy who scares away creeps in alleyways and demands dates as payment

The guys in this poem are probably sitting in this room

Always demanding femmes explain rape culture to you, right now 

What you are asking for is an execution. 

You could read survivors’ writing 

but you want a live performance:

Entertainment in exchange for allyship

This is a casual conversation to you, 

forced exposure therapy for me.

When I peel off the skin I live in,  so you can understand

What will you do with it?

Will you treat my experience like an artifact in a museum, 

Because it makes you a villain?

When you insist I should be grateful that you grabbed my ass, 

That is rape culture

The parasite feeding on a backhanded compliment

The poison that tastes sweet 

only to the poisoner

It is the demon in your voice, 

the “fuck you bitch”

the moment I reject you 

You terrify the women you’re saving, 

we just think you are here to claim us for yourself

You say you’re just asking questions,

As if interrogating why I didn’t tell, isn’t a blade to the throat 

Dissect my abuse and say I’m imagining the razors

You put a magnifying glass to our traumas

Call yourself scientists when we go up in flames 

When we beg you to stop dragging us to the fire

To record the screams of a burning woman 

You throw unsolicited arms around our shoulders

And conclude in your lab reports that we are too stubborn. 

Your facts call me girl who doesn’t know what’s good for her

my vision blurs 

and I can’t distinguish you from the abusers

Who say the same thing

Rape culture 

is all the men who demand we teach them

And spend the whole lesson lecturing us on 

how they’ll save us better.

All the men who don’t believe us 

until we hand them our narratives in a gift basket

Give our gratitude to their science

Say thank you 

for publishing our stories under their names

They say we’re lucky 

to be subjects of their research. 

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