Borrowed First Line Poem- Why Can't I?

Forgive but don't forget, girl, keep your head up. Keep your head up even though you`ll never be even, 

When the weight is heavier for us to hold, even when you want to give up, keep your head up.

Why can't I go outside at night without knowing if I’ll make it back alright, why can't I wear what I want without it being a “distraction”, why can't I go out with friends and not get stared at by 40-year-old men? Why can't I walk down the street and not wonder if I'm gonna be safe?  Why can't I?

Why can't I be as carefree as all my friends who are guys,  when I'm outside, why can't the terror leave me alone? The terror that men cause, the terror only we feel. Scared to walk alone, scared to go outside without friends. “Boys will be boys” they always say but when will they stop defending them as though they own nothing to the people they hurt

All my clothes are “too revealing” and even though my lips said “no” somehow they believed my body whispered yes, and that was a good enough reason in court. Parents lay out excuses on a silver platter for their sons who’ve raped, but their daughters who have been raped are only asked “Well what were you wearing” Yet I'm told we are all treated as equals, when we are barely treated as people.

I will never know how it feels to not live in fear from simply existing.  Thought of as an object only needed for your pleasure, we are dehumanized until we are no longer people standing in front of you, we are just there to serve the purpose of what you need, and until then we are useless. I am not something for a man to own, I belong to me, That's the end of this discussion. 

We are all asked what we want to be when we are older. “ a president” “a cook” “a teacher” They all shout out when they finally get to me all I can say is “I want to be equal”. I want to be equal to the men who think they’re above me just because they are men. 

The first thing I was taught was not how to read a book but how to read a man's eyes, to know if they have good or bad intentions. The first thing I was taught was not how to add, it was that I couldn't show off too much skin because you're “just looking for attention”. While the boys got to play outside I had to stay and listen to teacher after teacher tell all the girls that boys will be boys and we have to learn how to protect ourselves, instead of teaching them to hear the word no for no, teaching them to respect but no it's never their fault because boys will be boys. 

“It's just a joke” but every 68 seconds another American is sexually assaulted or raped. 1 out of every 6 American women have been the victim of rape. But it’s still “just a joke” to you.



13 years old

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