It is not my fault,
That when a man I do not know passes too closely;
Stares for too long;
Or becomes too aggressively friendly;
That my hands start to shake,
My pupils dilate,
And I begin to plan an escape.
It is not that all men are bad.
I do not assume rapist when I pass a man on the street
But I do know that there is always a chance for danger there.
You love to scoff,
Making jokes out of so called “militant feminists”
Because you think we are bitches for assuming
That men can hurt us.
You never seem to assume that the reason we think these things,
That the reason fight or flight is our fucking manifesto,
Is because men have hurt us.
Not all men,
But some men.
It only takes one person to leave a scar so deep it alters who you are.
I was 10,
And it is not my fault that fourteen years later I am still afraid.
Some wounds don’t heal well.
Maybe you have to be wounded to understand that,
Some wounds become armor which we wrap ourselves in,
So that if angry hands lash out again we can withstand the blows.
You don’t seem to comprehend how arrogant you are
To assume you know
Why we feel as we do,
Why your advances aren’t welcome,
Or why we withdraw from your friendly touch.
So the next time you think it’s funny
To scoff at a woman for gruffly turning down your advances,
Or her offense at your lingering glances,
Try to understand that many of us have been hurt by once friendly hands,
By another man,
It is not our fault.