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
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.