I was a sex object when I didn’t want to be and she—
She was powerless to protect me.
I learned the way a woman is supposed to be
By sneaking into the living room
Only to catch my dad watching porn.
I didn’t know there was a name for what he watched
in the dark.
I just remember the feeling in my stomach
Seeing topless women roaming around,
bouncing up and down,
making funny sounds.
I remember the panic in my chest,
the shame forged in the pit of my throat.
I learned the way to live in denial
Of what I would later learn to recognize as betrayal
When, at a young age,
I happened upon photos of women all addressed “To Tommy”.
Who the hell is Tommy?
I thought my dad’s name was Tom.
Without permission I was touched,
I was watched,
I was invaded.
Nobody tried to stop him.
Nobody cared to listen to my silent cries.
I was a play thing,
A show piece.
Just as they were.
And every time I die inside.
We put insecurity in a box and call it beauty.
We put harassment in a box and say it is a compliment.
We put humiliation, degradation, and objectification in a box and label it opportunity.
We put little girls on stage in bikinis, high heels, big hair and make up, sexualizing them; normalizing competition among females; claiming it’s all just harmless fun.
Who doesn’t want to feel pretty?
We groom them, undress them, terrorize and invade them; we take away all but their sense of opportunity to feel beautiful, which they’ve equated with an opportunity to feel loved. Instead what we leave them with is the deepest sense of shame.
We dismember them; put them on a pedestal and berate them when they fall.
We use them for our advantage, by force if we so desire because
they are just a necessary means after all.
We are the reason they will do anything to numb the pain;
the reason they will turn tricks because it’s all they’ve ever known.
We are the reason their tragic reality exists.
We are the reason young girls will have sex in front of a camera with strange men referred to simply as “Dick”. Because their names don’t matter; she’s learned to use them just as others have used her. Sex becomes a drug.
And we hand her the prescription.