And yes, it’s a disgrace that we even need to have one. But we do.

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Rape Poem – by Marge Piercy

There is no difference between being raped
And being pushed down a flight of cement steps
Except that the wounds also bleed inside.

There is no difference between being raped
And being run over by a truck
Except that afterward men ask if you enjoyed it.

There is no difference between being raped
And being bit on the ankle by a rattlesnake
Except that people ask if your skirt was short
And why you were out anyhow.

There is no difference between being raped
And going head first through a windshield
Except that afterward you are afraid
not of cars,
But half the human race.

The rapist is your boyfriend’s brother.
He sits beside you in the movies eating popcorn.
Rape fattens on the fantasies of the “normal” male
Like a maggot in garbage.

Fear of rape is a cold wind blowing
All of the time on a woman’s hunched back.
Never to stroll alone on a sand road through pine woods,
Never to climb a trail across a bald
Without that aluminium in the mouth
When I see a man climbing toward me.

Never to open the door to a knock
Without that razor just grazing the throat.
The fear of the dark side of the hedges,
The back seat of the car, the empty house
Rattling keys like a snake’s warning.
The fear of the smiling man
in whose pocket is a knife.
The fear of the serious man
In whose fist is locked hatred.

All it takes to cast a rapist is seeing your body
As jackhammer, as blowtorch, as adding-machine-gun.
All it takes is hating that body
Your own, your self, your muscle that softens to flab.

All it takes is to push what you hate,
What you fear onto the soft alien flesh.
To bucket out invincible as a tank
Armoured with treads without senses
To possess and punish in one act,
To rip up pleasure, to murder those who dare
Live in the leafy flesh open to love.

——————————————————-

WITH NO IMMEDIATE CAUSEby Ntozake Shange

every 3 minutes a woman is beaten
every five minutes a
woman is raped/every ten minutes
a lil girl is molested
yet I rode on the subway today
i sat next to an old man who
may have beaten his old wife
3 minutes ago or 3 days/30 years ago
he might have sodomized his
daughter but i sat there
cuz the young men on the train
might beat some young women
later in the day or tomorrow
i might not shut my door fast
enuf/push hard enuf
every 3 minutes it happens
some woman’s innocence
rushes to her cheeks/pours from her mouth
like the betsy wetsy dolls have been torn
apart/their mouths
menses red & split/every
three minutes a shoulder
is jammed through plaster and the oven door/
chairs push thru the rib cage/hot water or
boiling sperm decorate her body
i rode the subway today
& bought a paper from a
man who might
have held his old lady onto
a hot pressing iron/i don’t know
maybe he catches lil girls in the
park & rips open their behinds
with steel rods/i can’t decide
what he might have done i only
know every 3 minutes
every 5 minutes every 10 minutes/so
i bought the paper
looking for the announcement
the discovery/of the dismembered
woman’s body/the
victims have not all been
identified/today they are
naked and dead/refuse to
testify/one girl out of 10’s not
coherent/i took the coffee
& spit it up/i found an
announcement/not the woman’s
bloated body in the river/floating
not the child bleeding in the
59th street corridor/not the baby
broken on the floor/
“there is some concern
that alleged battered women
might start to murder
their husbands & lovers with no
immediate cause”

i spit up i vomit i am screaming
we all have immediate cause
every 3 minutes
every 5 minutes
every 10 minutes
every day
women’s bodies are found
in alleys & bedrooms/at the top of the stairs
before i ride the subway/buy a paper/drink
coffee/i must know/
have you hurt a woman today
did you beat a woman today
throw a child across a room
are the lil girl’s panties
in yr pocket

did you hurt a woman today
i have to ask these obscene questions
the authorities require me to
establish
immediate cause

every three minutes
every five minutes
every ten minutes
every day.

————————————————-

From “What is Justice for a Rape Victim” – by Phyllis Chesler

“Where are our freedom fighters, our resistance heroes ready to be dropped behind enemy lines? We are too few in number to make much of a difference. Are women so disassociated from our bodies and from each other that simple resistance terrorizes us more than our daily dose of humiliation and death?

Are most women so opportunistic, so cowardly, that we are willing to die for our Masters but not live for ourselves?

What have they done to us? What have we done to ourselves? Each woman knows that if she sides with another women against a man or against men’s laws, eventually the king’s men on their high horses will drag her away; imprison, interrogate, rape, and burn her to death as a witch; she knows no one will save her.

A woman is brave when she knows what can be done to her but despite such knowledge resists, helps other women anyway. A woman is brave when she resists the “good little girl” within; the voice that tells her to mind her own business, tend her own garden, don’t do anything that will get you in trouble, you’ll get caught, you’ll be sorry, you’ll be punished, no one will like you…

Women are safe if I am brave; I’m only as safe as other women are brave.

Otherwise, it’s open season on us all.”

————————————————-

From Are Women Human – by Catharine A MacKinnon

“If women were human, would we be a cash crop shipped from Thailand in containers into New York’s brothels? Would we be sexual and reproductive slaves? Would we be bred, worked without pay our whole lives, burned when our dowry money wasn’t enough or when men tired of us, starved as widows when our husbands died (if we survived his funeral pyre), sold for sex because we are not valued for anything else? Would we be sold into marriage to priests to atone for our family’s sins or to improve our family’s earthly prospects? Would we, when allowed to work for pay, be made to work at the most menial jobs and exploited at barely starvation level? Would we have our genitals sliced out to “cleanse” us (our body parts are dirt?), to control us, to mark us and define our cultures? Would we be trafficked as things for sexual use and entertainment worldwide in whatever form current technology makes possible? Would we be kept from learning to read and write?

If women were human, would we have so little voice in public deliberations and in government in the countries where we live? Would we be hidden behind veils and imprisoned in houses and stoned and shot for refusing? Would we be beaten nearly to death, and to death, by men with whom we are close? Would we be sexually molested in our families? Would we be raped in genocide to terrorize and eject and destroy our ethnic communities, and raped again in that undeclared war that goes on every day in every country in the world in what is called peacetime? If women were human, would our violation be enjoyed by our violators? And, if we were human, when these things happened, would virtually nothing be done about it?”

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