God forbid we have rights

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if she was asking for it, why couldn't you.
#AmINext?

Hey there girl with the mini skirt,

don't go out looking like that.

it's just too provocative.

I mean God forbid women have legs, right?

Oh, and girl with the pants and the dress that touches her ankles, and the women from 100 years ago who wore layers of clothes.

you too.

You were showing too much skin.

God forbid women have thighs, and arms, and worst of all, dignity and respect.

 

Hey there, going somewhere?

Well, you should just stay inside

that way nobody can get to you.

That is unless you lock yourself in a closet

because your dad, or your brother, or your uncle may like girls in pajamas.

I mean God forbid you have rights or anything.

God forbid you're worthy of any freedom or expression.

 

Hey there girl.

I too am one

and I too am scared to walk down the street alone

or in the mall because I saw the man at the ATM look at me weirdly.

I too am scared to get into a cab

or into an airport

or into a school.

I too am scared to be a woman.

because the predators, the predators, they walk among us 

 

and I can't even get a good night sleep

because I am afraid they'll walk through the door

and think that my sleeping body is too revealing.

That while I was catching my z's, I turned in my bed a certain way that made it look like I was asking for it.

 

"It was their fault. They were asking for it"

Well, was the baby asking for it too?

Was it their cry that drew you to them?

Was it the way they were dressed?

Was their skirt too short?

 

Hey there girl.

Boy. 

You.

They.

Them.

Hey there to all pronouns.

To all gender identities.

To all sexualities.

 

We have worn skirts too short.

But I guess when I bought it, I bought an invite to rape and not a skirt

we have worn skirts with 50 layers

but I guess it was my pinky finger that told them I was asking for it.

 

Hey there ally.

Hey there victim.

Survivor.

Make your voice heard.

Climb that mountain. 

Stand at the top and let the hills and the valleys hear your calling.

Rise.

Because there is sun, but there seems to be no light.

We pray for a bright future,

so a bright future we must become.

 

Let us be so loud that we make the waves of the ocean bigger.

Because when water meets sun.

There will be change.

There will be growth. 

When we are water, 

when we are sun,

we will know peace.

 

They will try to bring us down, but they won't stand a chance. 

For when our anger makes change,

it is then when our tides will be too strong to be stopped.

So strong that they can't fathom.

So strong that they will try to swim,

but will drown.

//

This is a piece about rape. Going along with the current situation of the world, and living in a country with the blood of millions on its soil. Millions of lives lost to rape, men, predators, it's hard to stay optimistic. But the people of my country, with the death of Uyinene Mrwetyana, have been on an uproar on social media as well as with protests across the country. We are angry. But I remember hearing someone say "we are angry, but anger doesn't change policy". When our own leaders are doing nothing about the rape and killing of women and children, it becomes our responsibility to be our own leaders. To make our voice heard. Anger and silence don't stop injustice. They don't stop rape or murder or abuse. It is quite beautiful seeing people acknowledge the voices that they have and using them for the greater good. It isn't only a fight we're fighting for South Africans, it is a fight for the world. So when you fight, when you make your voice heard, wherever you are, you are fighting not only for your country but for everyone in the world alike. Rise like the sun, but never set. Move like the wind but never stop. Our leaders aren't up for it, so our rights are our responsibility. 

you may shoot me with your words,
you may cut me with your eyes,
you may kill me with your hatefulness,
but still, like air, I rise.
-- Maya Angelou.
trust no kings.
kings put girls in towers.
trust your wings
for girls with wings
will soar past kings
as kings watch up from towers.
-- Atticus.
Poetry
South Africa