Before We Start

WARNING: This is a poem that references rape and sexual assault. If this is something that you are not comfortable reading, please skip this poem.


Before we start-

I have a question.

What were you wearing?

Was it tight? Short?

Did it make you look desirable?

Were you drinking? Dancing?

Did you dance with him?

Did you say yes?

To anything?

Were you high?

Were you willing?

If you answer yes to any of these,

go away.

You aren’t a victim.

He couldn’t control himself.

You temptress, seductress,


Your rape doesn’t count,

your struggle,

your fight.

Consent is consent,

spoken or not.



That’s it?

What was I wearing?

Why does that matter?

How do clothes make this right?

Consent is consent?

If I can’t drive when drunk,

how can I consent?

If I can’t function when high,

how can I consent?

What if I was pressured,

what if I said no over and over?

Why does one yes weigh more than every no?

This doesn’t make sense.

Why am I in the wrong?

Why can’t he “control himself”?

Isn’t it bad to lose control?

Is that really your excuse?

How do I consent without speaking?

How is this my fault?

Instead of giving me help,

you push me aside.

You tell me I’m worthless,

a liar, a fake,

a slut.

You refuse to help me.


Because he “has a future”.

Because he “matters more”.

Because I “brought it on myself”.

Not true.

I am a victim.

I was raped.

Regardless of what I was wearing,

regardless of what I drank,

regardless of when I said “no”.

So when will you take my side-

protect me when I am hurt?

Do the job you are supposed to do?




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