To the boys from high school: a poem
Content: bullying, harrassment
Mortification mauls me.
Your boredom, your animalistic lust.
Your red eyes see me a doe,
The leader calling for my slaughter.
I’m a ripe fruit,
Raw and forgotten,
Buried at the root of the climbing tree.
Rotting with the heat of your intimidation.
A crowd gathers to watch your game.
My tears an empty currency,
Your laughter a vicious chant.
Your hand is clean,
But you graze past the line.
Your presence alone a poisonous gas
That seeps from your wet smirk
And your mischief-stained eyes.
You expose my skin.
Your playmates cheer
With every peek at my vulnerability.
Strip layer after layer
Until my heart falls from its cage.
I burst through the wonderland of laughing darkness,
Yet my screams for help are just as amusing.
My harassment is a welcome humiliation,
And I am the ungrateful.
I beg you to leave me be,
My throat raw and pulsing
from swallowing your razorblade words.
Your winking eye a warning of the upcoming.
When I was thirteen, I hadn’t had much to do with boys. I blushed easily and didn’t have a clue how to talk to them. I had no friends in high school and was the awkward one who didn’t know where to sit in class because I wouldn’t know where I was welcome. My male peers knew this, and they took advantage. My usual bullies would move on after a few years, only to be replaced with others who bullied me in the same manner.
They’d always do it in front of others, where I was most uncomfortable and would feel too humiliated to defend myself properly. Every time a male student approached me, I knew I was going to have a bad day.
When I was sixteen, I was sitting in the library, and a group of boys surrounded me and harassed me, asking for my home address and phone number because one of them wanted to pick me up for a date. This was particularly insulting as they had spent the last three years convincing me that I was ugly and that the only reason someone would ask me out would be for a joke. I had a sore throat that week and couldn’t speak, but I managed to whisper a faint ‘leave me alone, please’. They refused.
A group of girls from my grade sat at a nearby table. Some of them were going out with the boys tormenting me. Most of them laughed as well. The rest remained silent.
I retreated to the bathrooms and cried for the rest of lunch.
Now that I’m a grown woman, these memories still haunt me. I’ve even heard the stories of girls that have been sexually harassed and/or assaulted with even female teachers telling them to “put up with it” with little to no punishment served for the boys in question.
TEACH YOUR SONS TO RESPECT WOMEN.
And everyone else, for that matter.
In my case, I knew some of those boys’ mothers, and they were under the impression that their sons were perfectly fine and caring. I felt so powerless and humiliated that I never went to a teacher or had the stomach to go up to one of those mothers to tell them that their son was a misogynistic bully that likes to humiliate people for a laugh. When I tried to tell an adult, the boys in question received little to no punishment.
The bullying slowed down when I was eighteen and about to graduate. I know that bullying can be a phase that is grown out of, but it’s never okay to bully someone. And… some boys never grow out of that phase because they are comfortable in treating women like toys for their amusement.