By Taina Puloka
Taina and I met in our GEND408 class; gender, sexuality and cinema. One day, in one of many discussions on female representation, Taina asked if she could share a poem with us. Here is her thought provoking work and the story behind its creation.
It’s for your safety, it’s for your safety
But now I’m safely going crazy
Cos I’ve been taught that if I walk alone
I’m responsible for getting myself home
Without having someone come and take me, or worse yet someone to come _____ me
See, the fact that I didn’t even have to say it
Tells me you know exactly what I’m sayin’.
So don’t you act like this is over dramatic,
It’s about time that we have at it
“What was she thinking walking at a time like that?”
“She should have phoned a friend to come and take her back”
“This all could have been avoided if she’d just listen, if she did she’d be here and not out there missing”.
Well we all just missed the point.
Cos meanwhile- no one has said a thing about him.
How this wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t come in
To the picture, but no he’s a man and that makes him prone to sin
You see they may catch the bad guy but the women still don’t win
Cos it’s not his fault that he’s a man, but it is her fault for not dealing with it
In a way that would keep her safe, keep her pure and free from rape
Like she supposed to be a smarter target and try harder not to get hit?
By the ill intention of a man
Who is “just being human”,
… Never mind that her life is now ruined.
This was written after listening in on a conversation between some friends talking about a news segment they watched where, unfortunately, a young woman was raped on her way home. It shocked me to realise the first reactions were to question the girl’s actions and how she could have been ‘smarter’ about getting home and she ‘should have known better’. It irks me even more because that was my initial reaction too. It’s mad that we would hold women accountable for not managing to avoid being victims, all whilst the actual act of violence and the perpetrator is taken for granted.
Image by: Frances Cannon
Read more of Alex’s work here.