How to Avoid Sexual Assault

The men around me come from these misguided places of protection
This feral need to shroud me like a cave
With only my best interests at heart

They believe that arming me
In baggy clothes and thick cotton
Will protect this body, my body;
So they tell me to cover my legs,
And when they have no sense
Of fathering, they say my thighs are too big anyway

They banish me from rooms
When my untamed breasts become too much of a distraction
And should my shoulders, which stretch from east to west,
Bare more than a quarter-inch of themselves
They ask me to jacket myself
For my own safety.

They fuss, and they fuss
But what they won’t tell me
That I will tell my daughters
Is that a Beretta Pico .380 ACP
Will fit snugly in the folds of your purse.
Beneath the remnants of your life,
The lotion, the pads, the lipgloss, and scrap sheets of paper,
That small piece of steel will blend in seamlessly
With all the rest of your necessities

In response to “With No Immediate Cause” by Ntozake Shange, and written for an independent study I designed about Black feminist poetry.

© Ama Akoto (2018)

Published by Sunshine

Sunny Scape is a safe space for Black women and queer folks. I am committed to eradicating intersecting systems of oppression that overwhelmingly affect people like myself, and doing so in a way that centers the most marginalized of us. That means that I am an activist on behalf of Black and brown queer and trans folks, children, sex workers, disabled folks, people of low socioeconomic status, currently and formerly imprisoned people, and countless others who are pushed to the back burners and relegated to second-class citizenship. This blog and everything within it is absolutely inseparable from the liberation efforts of all the aforementioned groups of people.

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