What do we need to do to keep her safe?

Her Tears

In a world where economic growth demands gender equality, safety is still our greatest concern

Author’s own

The numbers keep increasing
While her body is drowning and bleeding

When only her loved ones are looking for her
Most still think that sexual violence is only endemic in Africa
Even then some will end a sentence with her name and a slander
Police kept her on record, she’s harder to find than stolen goods
In a few days she will be just another one on the books

Her name added to a list with “more than 100 others”
Became nothing more than another statistic
If we don’t do anything, there will be another on the list
Another human, another woman
Greater action is needed, even for the strongest criminal justice system
If you believe they did everything they could, imagine when they dismiss them

If we change the way, we punish
We may be able to change the number of those who have vanished
Every time you and I blink, another falls victim of violence
Not by choice or silence
Too much freedom or lack of maturity
The world is aware, that what we lack is security

This year International Women’s Day hit me differently
Everywhere I turn there’s signs of delinquency

They say we just want justice, when we are also asking for safety
They forget that even when she seeks quiet, she’s in danger
Her protection is so poor, that she no longer just runs from strangers

With flowers on your hair
You skip and hop while you play
Little do you know that your safety is in jeopardy
If lucky, your parents will protect you
Those who love you will shelter you
Keep you away from those who can hurt you
Yet the world my dear, still requires remedy

You grow a little, start going to school by yourself
Now your mother’s heart is constantly worrying
Beating so fast, that at times she struggles to focus
Other’s laugh at her protection, but she knows better herself
You don’t know yet, but now that you are alone
You are exposed to more types of threats
But you, you are more than just another’s bet

If there are no known major traumatic experiences
Many will consider you as extremely lucky
Spoiled even, lucky to be safe inside your picket fences
But what they don’t know is that you shiver
When your uncle places his hand on your shoulder
You die a little as your hands become colder
You grow wondering if that’s normal to feel from your caregiver
And then you realise that you are just as unlucky
But happier when they call you ugly

For many your place is in the kitchen
You should be scrubbing floors instead of speaking your mind
How scary is it that feeling safe at home is a luxury
Some laugh as they think it only happens to Christian’s
They deny that even the name of the one they love is maligned

No religion can save you
Second by second you are judged
From your hair, to your facial features
Your body becomes theirs, there’s no budging
Heavens forbid you are well versed, elocution cannot be your forte
For that you will be seen as a liar
At times you will be scared even of your teachers
You will grow lacking support
They will make a mistake and won’t let you abort

If your passport, driver’s license and keys are taken from you
It’s only an issue if you raise your concern
Why would you think you can control where you go?
Some of us grow thinking that marriage is the solution
Our rescue, possibly the only chance to be happy
And yes, love is real, and you can find your best companion
Your Prince Charming
But marriage shouldn’t be the main and only pathway for your safety

Anything you do will be dissected
They will expect you to squander your money
When you seem perfect you are disrespected
They can’t accept that while your environment has an impact
My dear, you have your own mind
You shine your own light

Even when you are touched inappropriately
They blame it on you, they say it was because of the clothes you were wearing
Little by little you realise that their behaviour is belittling
The blame shifting is draining
Try cover up and then you are the lesbian
They make it sound like it’s a horrible thing
To love a gender that understands the importance of your safety

Your wardrobe is no longer yours
For your own safety, even the colour of your nail varnish needs to change
It’s okay, you can adapt, they say
No one questions how damaging this is to your health
When you have to change to be safe

At work you are discriminated, stereotyped in every way
Try and show how passionate you are, and they will try to case you
Character assassinate you
You will be the aggressive and emotional one
The one who needs to be put in her place

Every second of your day another woman is praying for hers and your safety
No matter what you do, there’s no guarantee
People will ostracise you, misogynists will trash you
Danger doesn’t discriminate, but being a woman puts you in a higher risk
One day you will also pray for another’s safety
And that’s how it is, until your safety is valued
All you can do is look over your shoulder and pray

It’s weird to think that even on International Women’s Day
She wakes up worried and goes to bed scared
Wondering how much she will need to fight
To be accepted and feel safe

To all the women whose lives were taken

To your astuteness, to your beauty, to your grace, to your time

We celebrate you

Your smile gives life.

Not a seasoned writer, just a human doing this thing called life. *** My motto: Filling up my cup, so I can overflow into yours

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