Please step out of your body and try to understand mine
Because when I walk at night I feel so alone and blind.
I look to my left and I look to my right, and I see men like you staring at me with your beady little eyes looking down my spine.
And I walk in fear and live in fear not just for myself but for my daughter, my sister, my mother, and my grandmother.
Because as womyn we have two heads to hold and two things to carry: our body and dignity.
And even though I’m covered from head to toe, because it is cold, you still know I’m a womin.
Is it because I have two things popping out of me? Or is it the innocence in my eyes and the hesitance I have when a male walks by?
So listen up little fucker.
You only think with your two inch thing
You may try to succeed and steal that one thing that keeps me- me.
My virginity, my pride, my womanhood but you will never forget this voice, because as long as I got my soul, I will continue to shout, write, and shame you to hell. Because my body, and her body, and their body is one thing you shall never take.
Of course, you can take my body literally and take it physically.
But you cannot take something that I control and respect so dearly.
My body, my temple, my home, my space.
Un lugar de cambio, un lugar de dolar, y un lugar de felicidad.
So step back you piece of shit, because when you invade my space, you are colonizing my freedom.
My freedom to exist as a mujer con poder.
This is not an attempt to fetishize womyn and their virginity. This is not a poem to put down womyn who are sexually active nor to demean ones who are virgins. Often, as mujeres we are stuck in a dichotomy. We are taught different things by different people. If you’re Latina and grew up in a Catholic family like me, you might’ve been taught by your church and relatives to stay a virgin until the day you wed. Or you might’ve been taught through social mediums like television that staying a virgin is prudish and uptight. I’m not trying to argue for one or the other, but rather I’m trying to demonstrate how frustrating it can be to be a womyn walking alone on the streets. I’m not talking about the hood right now. Just being a plain ole simple person- una mujer- who rarely wears make up or clothing that is revealing. The first portion of this poem was written a while back and from the tone I can tell that it must’ve been right as I got home after walking alone one evening in the simple average de-average streets of a good ole’ suburban town [Santa Cruz]. The place is not the issue, because this is something that occurs everywhere.
This fear- this fear of being raped and molested has been instilled in me since I was a young little girl. I remember my mother being so strict and never letting me sleepover at my friends’ houses. I was young and didn’t understand. I just wanted to have fun and do silly little activities at peoples’ houses. I felt my mother was being unjust, but she was only trying to protect me. My two older sisters were molested at a really young age, and my mother wanted to protect me from the pain and trauma they will forever carry. And this worry, this fear, this pain continues. I see it in my mother’s face that she feels partially responsible, but who could ever predict that this would happen to their child? You want to believe in people and trust them…But you can’t even trust your family. I know it’s disheartening, right? Fathers’ touching their own daughters…Uncles getting too close to their nieces… I know this isn’t only a female issue, but all I can speak on is from what I’ve experienced as a womyn, a person who once was a little girl.
My mother used to explain to me as little kid to never let anyone touch me inappropriately. She told me if anyone ever started touching me to run away and yell. I can vividly remember her reiterating and reiterating that no one should ever touch me in the no-no areas. When we had guests sleep over at the house, she would force me to sleep in her room by her side, in fear of the worse. She would rather have me in her room, than unprotected in the company of others. No matter who the guests were, she felt you could never be too cautious. This fear, this worry, that pain…It still lives. I’ve babysat my nephew in my spare time for the past six years and I do not trust him with others. I have internalized this fear of him being molested. I do not trust him with other people but especially men. People say I baby my nephew- & perhaps I do. But part of spoiling him and babying him is really my fear and my way of not having him alone with other people. I’d rather have him by side where I know he will be protected.
…A poem about walking alone at night…has suddenly turned into a little article about a piece of my life. I know this may sound ridiculous, but it’s just when I’m alone at night and I see a man walk by, I don’t notice his race or even his face. I just notice his gender, and my body and mind automatically make conclusions. I honestly begin to fear the worse, I watch my back, quicken my pace, and keep my phone by my side.
Four years ago: I was once crossing the bridge on Soquel after watching Architecture in Helsinki play at the Rio. I was with my friend, and we were both first years. She was on the phone with her boyfriend, and she was immersed in the conversation. Yards ahead I noticed this older looking male walking our way. I automatically got into my cautious zone, and kept my eyes on him. There is a cement divider on the bridge on Soquel, so I crossed over the divider. As my friend happened to hang up the phone, the man was approaching her while mumbling and sticking his hand down his pants. She froze, and I was able to lift her over the cement divider and we ran all the way to the metro station without looking back. Although, we were fortunate enough to escape the situation, there are many people who are victims to unwanted sexual attention. From physical touching to unwanted cat calls, it is so frustrating and annoying being a mujer sometimes, it doesn’t matter the neighborhood you are in. You are still at risk in my opinion. Call me paranoid, call me what you want, I can’t help how I feel. I don’t understand how people can commit sexual abuse. It pains me to hear stories of womyn being hurt. Rape is horrible, but it is a tool that has been used in war. It is something that people use to delegitimize a womyn. Hopefully, someday we will live in a society, when a mujer does not have to constantly worry about being raped. Hopefully, someday in the future I can have children and not worry about them being molested. Where is my perfect utopian society where everyone is equal? Relationships are respected and isms do not exist. People are happy and murder does not exist. Unfortunately, we are human and we make mistakes, I’ll probably have to wait for death [and hopefully a heaven exists] to live that fantasy life, but until then I’ll keep striving and fighting for social justice.
“Fighting Unconditionally Beyond All Repair/Recognition”
Follow up: Discussing sexual abuse can be so taboo and uncomforable for people to talk about. There is so much trauma that stays with the victim. Then there’s the offender- which poses difficult unanswered questions such as: why do they commit the action? Were they sexually abused as a child or did they suffer from some sort of traumatic or neglected childhood? Or do they suffer from a mental illness? Therefore, are sexual abusers socially created by their environment or is it something that some people are genetically created to do? These questions are difficult, because no one is really sure why people rape or molest, and the uncertainty in life causes us to become anxious and afraid. Just take a look around our society; that is why we lock people away. Obviously, imprisonment and isolation does not properly rehabilitae people who’ve broken laws, but we continue to incarcerate people anyway. Is it because it is much easier to dispose of these people by putting them away, so we don’t have to actually face them?