This poem was written as an effect of the gangrape of 8-year-old Asifa Bano in India in April 2018.
It doesn’t matter what you wear, because at the end of the day,
If you’re female, you’ll be harassed, no matter what they say,
I thought I’d be the exception, but I’m the same as them all,
I’ve been catcalled on the streets, I’ve been whistled at in malls.
So have my mother, my sister, my aunt and my best friend,
And none of us really know quite when it’ll end.
Is it because men can’t control themselves, or is it because they don’t try?
They won’t be reprimanded, of course- they’re the guys!
It’s the women who are to be blamed! They were the ones at fault.
For their behavior and clothing that made the man halt.
Whether it’s a sari, a salwar, a burkha or a sundress
There’s no clothing modest enough to save a woman from distress.
I was thirteen and blooming, at a waterpark wearing a swimsuit
When a man thought it was okay for him to follow me and to hoot.
“Oh, come on, you big baby,” The public will say,
What’s the big deal with thirteen, after all nowadays,
We see girls as young as eight, being dragged by middle-aged men,
To temples, where they are raped repeatedly, and then,
We blame the girl, we blame her religion,
We blame politics, we blame the opposition.
For even an eight-year-old girl can be sexually exciting,
Her innocent eyes flirtatious, her little legs, inviting.
There’s no end to what these monsters will say,
To justify harassment, at the end of the day.
When every woman in your country, is raped, groped, or molested
Is it not with filthy monsters that your land is infested?
Or are all the woman at fault, do you deem them immoral?
As the accused are eternally ready to quarrel.
All I know is, when I step out, there will be a delay
For now, I must check the weather, the forecast for the day.
Maybe it’s raining, maybe the sun’s out, maybe the wind will run through my hair,
Doesn’t matter, for one weather condition will definitively be there.
For despite our pleading, our protests, our desperate attempts to prevent,
Outside, it’s always cloudy with a chance of sexual harassment.