First let me start by saying, thank goodness for friends. If I didn’t have any, I wouldn’t have come across this gem to write about; so ShoutOut! (pun intended) to my friend for bringing this video and article to my attention. To go in depth, I was sent a link to the article, “You Need To Hear ‘Another Damn Rape Poem’ And These Slam Poets Will Tell You Why,” from Bustle.com.
The article describes how four slam poets from Rutgers University perform at the “College Union Poetry Slam Invitational” with the powerful poem, “The Rape Poem To End All Rape Poems.”
The poem quickly begins as a “rape” story with the lines,
“Then this moment quickly punctured by supposedly sweet whispers, that felt like barbed wire.” With all four ladies imitating those painful, pushy words, “Trust me. Come on. Don’t you love me?”
The poets then take a sharp turn and give a warning to the audience,
“It’s that time again; ANOTHER RAPE POEM. And you ask, ‘Why another rape poem? Didn’t we just hear like three of these?’ Yeah, you probably did. Unsurprising in a country where someone is sexually assaulted EVERY TWO MINUTES.”
After those lines, the ladies dive deep into their message. The message that says America needs to listen to MANY more rape poems, until they truly hear the words, stories, and traumas of victims. Until Americans realize our culture as a whole brushes off rape as if it is the victim’s fault for putting themselves in that kind of situation. Until they realize rape is a crime, will there be no more rape poems.
They continue to state how we wouldn’t need so many these poems if,
“Our bodies were ours alone. If everyone knew what NO meant. If Budweiser stopped selling our bodies stretched across a six pack. If everyone would listen to THIS ONE.”
The line that resonates with me is “if our bodies were ours alone.” Wouldn’t that make life just so much easier for women not only in America, but across the world? Think of those societies (including ours) where a woman’s body is seen as a completely valueless object to touch, feel, and play with; like a children’s toy, instead of the physical being of an individual that was created to have purpose, instead of objectification.
“THIS IS ALL PART OF A CULTURE AND THE RAPE POEMS WILL CONTINUE
UNTIL I CAN WEAR WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT WITHOUT BEING CALLED SLUT
UNTIL I CAN TRUST MY DRINK WITH SOMEONE WHEN I NEED TO TAKE A PISS
UNTIL I CAN WALK ALONE ON DARK STREETS AND NOT BE CATCALLED
UNTIL I CAN WEAR HEELS WITHOUT BEING ASKED WHO AM I TRYING TO IMPRESS
UNTIL MY VOICE SPEAKS LOUDER THAN MY OUTFIT
UNTIL I’M NOT EXPECTED TO CARRY PEPPER SPRAY ON MY KEY CHAIN
UNTIL NO REALLY MEANS NO
UNTIL RAPE MEANS CRIME
UNTIL WOMAN MEANS HUMAN
The rape poems will continue until THERE’S NO DAMN MATERIAL LEFT.”
A hell of an ending, to such a powerful form of engagement; utilizing the impact words and tone can create. These courageous female poets have the right idea that “until woman means human” will rape poems cease to exist.
A few of my fellow bloggers have written about slam poets and poetry as a form of activism, especially when it comes to feminism and gender violence; after watching this particular performance, I truly believe it. So many times when watching this video, I get goose-bumps from the power of their words and their message of “enough is enough America”. It is time you as whole rise against rape and make the change that needs to happen; standing up for gender equality.
Below is the video of the performance, which I clearly recommend watching:
And as always, I would love to know how you felt after watching the “Rape Poem To End All Rape Poems.”