A Poem: Sexual Assault Awareness Week

Sexual Assault Awareness Week

A Poem by Monica Wendel

It’s our job to carry an umbrella to avoid getting wet
but it’s not our job to avoid nighttime, dark streets, and bars
to avoid getting raped. My mother disagrees. An act of man
versus an act of God: what difference does it make, she asks?
Carry your mace and your keys between your fingers,
pointed out like a claw. But what if all the time spent on telling us
what to do differently was spent on telling men, or everyone, not to rape?
The next time I’m told not to take my eyes off my drink
I’m going to print up cards that say, “To avoid perpetrating
sexual assault, be sure not to slip drugs into
anyone’s else’s drinks.” And the next time I’m told that I should always
walk home with a friend, I’m going to hang a checklist that says
you should always walk home with a friend to avoid
sexually assaulting single women. Or single men. A buddy system
is important, or a whistle you can blow if you’re afraid
you might rape someone. Think rape whistles blown in bars and bedrooms.
The feminist brigade would come running, and the person would say,
I’m sorry, I’m in this situation where I think I was trying to rape someone.
Thank God I had this whistle and you came.

Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence. Ed. Laura Madeline Wiseman. Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013.

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