Auditory Cortex / April 2018 (Issue 39)

Don't Pick My Flower

Kylla Ruth Benlot

Another silly little girl
With another silly little problem
Of being touched by too many men without ever asking for it
You tell her to stop crying
That she should have been fighting in that moment where she was shell shocked in fear
How do you expect her to fight? When you never taught her how to shoot a gun
             because it's a man's job to protect
Where were you that night? She desperately screamed for help
But her lungs wouldn't let her mouth make a sound so she prayed that you could read her mind

That reminds me

You were the one who tore off the beautiful dress she wore
Because you thought it looked better off her
You took her silence for a yes
When her eyes clearly told you to do no more
She was fighting
In her heart and in her mind
But her adrenaline was too low for her body recognised it as a battle she could only lose
It was rape
And yet, you called it love

Brought up as a weak creature, expected to grow up strong
Brought up as delicate and gentle, and expected her to do no wrong
You! She came to you to tell you about that night
But after hearing her you asked her what she was wearing,
'Was it a low cut dress or jeans that were too tight?'
This poem doesn't sound like a poem just like robbery doesn't sound like rape
Gertrude Stein wrote, 'A rose is a rose is a rose'
So why don't we call rape as rape itself? Why do we disguise it as the victim's fault?
There are ten things wrong with rape
The first one is that it exists.



 Highly recommended:
"Don’t Pick My Flower" by Kylla Ruth Benlot (Philippines)

Lian-Hee Wee's commentary: A disturbing poem thinly veiled for the modesty of virginal innocence betrayed by a lust that was paraded as love. Written from the perspective of one who knows both victim and abuser, the poet hints that this betrayal is common, if not prevalent, in the poet’s society–a horror that if it happened once, it is once too many. This common friend, familiar with all complexes of the abuser and the victim, comes across as the new targeted victim, because in the title of the poem is the rejection “Don’t …,” only to be followed by a longer engagement with the abuser where the blame shifted to the existence of rape at the end, unconsciously mitigating the abuser. [Read other Auditory Cortex poems.]

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