I turn on my TV to a storm of controversy
My eyes are watering, I’m begging for mercy
But oh sir, how hard it must be for you!
Do you have to be cautious too?
Do you avoid going out after the sun goes down?
Are you often told to smile, not to frown?
When you walk alone, do you walk in fear?
Do you walk quickly because there is danger near?
Are you afraid when you catch someone’s lustful eye?
Do shivers travel down your spine, do you feel the urge to cry?
Are you told to cover up?
Do people tell you you’re an object to pick up?
Does music degrade you too?
Do those lyrics make you lose hope, make you blue?
Are you also called a liar?
Do people only think of you as something to desire?
Do people not believe your tears?
Even after five minutes or thirty five years?
Are you afraid to speak?
Afraid that others will turn the other cheek?
I would love to help you, sir
But my ears are flooded with slander that people slur
My feet are held down by the shackles of oppression,
Holding me own from making a confession
My mouth is covered by the gag of misogyny,
Stopping it from shouting what haunts me
But sir, you are free to do as you please
You can get away with anything at ease
You can still become a President or a Supreme Court Judge
But from this darkness I cannot budge
How hard it must be for you!
For your victims to turn up out of the blue
To scare someone from speaking
Hiding all evidence and weakness, sneaking
While my sisters are being attacked
You sit back, ignoring that fact
Thinking women’s rights are so taboo, abstract
Ignoring what your actions might bring, the impact
Tell me sir, is it really that hard for you?
I revisit this poem after 3 years have passed
Only to find more numbers of the harassed
But how could you possibly do any harm, sir?
You could do no wrong, there’s nothing to confer!
“97 percent?” you exclaim
“Too high of a number!” you claim
But what about the “compliment” you gave,
The filthy words that she will take to her grave?
Or the stare that was held a second longer than it should?
You wonder why no safety is found in her neighborhood
It is because of your stare, your glare, your hungry eyes
So I’m done with your lies, sir, with your narcissistic alibis
Because it may not be all men,
But almost all women have heard time and time again:
“Wear your keys in between your fingers, like a cautious Wolverine”
“Always cover up to avoid a crime scene”
“Say you have a boyfriend, they’ll leave you alone”
“Please don’t forget to pick up the phone”
“Never walk where it is dark”
“Never go out alone, even for a stroll through the park”
All constant reminders of how you rule all our days
And you still are stuck in this misogynistic haze
A smokescreen of superiority and toxic masculinity
Causing you to feel entitled over bodies and virginity
So I don’t want to hear how hard it is for you, sir
Because, yes, some men are good and pure, sure
But when her drink is unattended, what will occur?
What happens to the good man you claimed you were?
When she is walking alone in the city streets,
Will you keep quiet about how you want her in your bed sheets?
When you’re with your boys, having a few laughs,
will you realize that those jokes add a number to our charts and graphs?
Are you man enough to realize that you have been wrong, sir?
Are you man enough to silence the words that people slur?
Are you man enough to change, to put a stop to the headlines?
Are you willing to be quiet, to listen on the sidelines?
Or will you continue to scream in defiance?
Will you stay silent, knowing it is compliance?
Or stomp your feet like an upset child?
Instead of focusing on the horrors around you, the defiled?
“But not all men!” you cry
“But almost all women!” we sigh
Our feet being stepped on as you throw your tantrum
Invalidating us, becoming your mantra
But tell me again sir, is it still that hard for you?