Jasmine Irving

“If You Knew” – A Poem on Street Harassment 

I have to believe that if you knew what your unwelcome stares, advances, grunts and shouts did to us, you’d stop.

If you could see each and every time we’ve been broken into, closed up or forced open, pushed and pulled and prodded, used like an inanimate object, plaything, for the gratification of a confused little boys fragile ego dressed up in a man’s body…

Please tell me, that if you knew how your “sexy”s and “hey baby”s and tongue clicks broke into the protective bubble we carefully constructed around ourselves, if you knew how your misguided attempt to spark some kind of connection can ignite a fire so powerful it will burn you and me both. Well if you knew please say you’d pay attention, you’d take care of the flame and aim to warm hearts instead of devour entire bodies.

Oh we understand that you’re human and you’re craving some kind of love but please tell me if you knew the way you look at us reminds even the strongest amongst us of all the times our bodies, or our sister’s bodies, were not our own. Of all the times our most intimate parts were carved out and taken from us and we had to to pick up the confused mess left behind…

Please tell me that if you knew, you’d walk on by with nothing less than respect.

I have to believe that if you knew, you’d all. Just. Stop.

Because surely you don’t, surely you can’t, want to add to the damage already done?

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