Archu From The Archive, Poems, Social

#MeToo

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What is harassment really?
Rape, touch, leer?
Indifference to comments and cat-calls?
Anything that fosters fear?

The #MeToo hashtag is trending
And makes me stop and think
As I relate to and resonate
Few flashback tears, I blink.

I have little stories,
Some dark secrets untold.
Pages from my childhood,
When I was eight or nine years old.

We were a colony of children,
On the streets we cycled and roamed.
Little boys and girls as friends,
We played in one another’s homes.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon,
I went to play with my buddy.
When I knocked on his door,
I was greeted by his daddy.

“Your friend and Aunty have gone out,
But you can play with me”, he says.
His face went all funny
And started tickling me in wrong ways.

I had no idea about assaults then,
But I started feeling a dread,
When he went in to get some candies,
Out the door, I fled.

A few years later,
I grew a few years older.
I learnt about good and bad,
And assumed I became smarter.

A distant “relative” visited us
And charmed the kids with his cartoons.
When the parents were out of sight,
He drew cartoons of girls in the nude.

He never spoke without touching
And his touches were mostly bad
I didn’t know what to do then,
I fled again, angry and sad.

Why didn’t I open up for help?
Why didn’t I share?
Because I understood how it worked,
I’d be thrust with blames to bear.

My teenage years were troubled
With problems of different genre to face
Dramas that helped me build courage
And put abusers in place.

Today I am a woman,
Hopefully, well-read and bold.
I can stand up for myself,
And I don’t have to be told.

When I see and read about assaults
I feel a familiar sense of anger
Why do women still endure?
Oh why and how much longer?

I’ve met many men in life,
Men of different kinds.
I request at least the nicer ones
To please refuse to pretend blind.

The hashtag has got me worked up.
I have to say a word or two.
I feel compelled to share my secrets
Of course, Of course, #MeToo!

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