How To Tell a Rape Joke
Be the girl walking down the street
in the middle of the night,
eyes fixed ahead of her,
car keys between white
knuckles, pepper spray
in the other, because no,
not all men, but enough
that you walk a little faster,
stand a little taller, measure
the distance between you
and the man walking on the
sidewalk across from you
because you know how the joke goes:
a girl walks into a bar alone.
That was her first mistake.
Be the girl that rehearses the word “no”
in the mirror every morning she wakes up,
because after seventeen years
it still feels weird on her tongue,
because the last time she said it,
it came out as a whisper that
she did not recognize.
Because you know how the saying goes:
if a girl says no six times
and nobody is around to hear it,
will any sound come from her throat
the tenth time she pleads?
Learn to yell fire instead of rape
because burning buildings
are more important than
bodies turned to caution tape,
because men learn the word no
shortly after birth but when
your voice is shaking
the lines become blurred,
here is the punchline:
1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime
and my body was turned into a statistic overnight,
and you’re telling me I don’t need women’s rights
and they say I will always be in the same room as a survivor
even when I’m in that room alone.
By Lindsey Hobart
Lindsey Hobart is a seventeen year-old poet from a New York town that’s as quiet as her voice. Her work has been featured in Canvas Lit and she is a winning Slam Poet.