Why is it so hard to say you love me?
I KNOW you do. Because when I say I love you, you (sometimes) say it back.
It’s those times when you don’t say I love you… those are the times I need it the most
It’s not even just those three words.
I want for you to say, “you’re wrong” when some random politician says that what happens in my uterus is a political issue, and not a health issue.
When I ignore another man’s catcalls and he whips a beer bottle at me? I want you to say to him “that shit ain’t cool motherfucker” Instead of just saying ‘oooooooh shit!”.
I want for you to say “yo, that shit ain’t right” when a guy jokes about how much he wants to just grab me and fuck me in the alley, but he won’t wait for me to ask for it. I want you to tell me that he said that, so I know I’m at risk.
Speaking of asking for it. I want you to explain to those who think that what I wear, or the time of night I choose to walk home, or how much I’ve had to drink are all somehow justifications for raping me.
Speaking of rape…when a prominent comedian jokes that it “would be hilarious if (I) were suddenly gang-raped right there” in response to me heckling his routine, I want you to tell him to shut the fuck up.
I want you to say something when a man I’ve never met harasses me online, to the point where I have to enter my digital identity into a witness protection program, just to avoid being told I ain’t shit every hour on the hour. I want you to publicly call him out so that he doesn’t think that only other women care about the situation.
When your favourite philanthropist thinks that a video parodying the systematic rape and enslavement of Black women is some the funniest shit he’s ever seen, I want you to tell him how it’s not.
Oh, and the next time I get into it with a guy in the office and he says (after I leave), “she just needs to get laid”, I want you to tell him that he’s wrong, instead of just shrugging off the statement. Even though you don’t agree with it.
I want you to come over and say, “she’s not interested” when you see that dude won’t leave me alone. I don’t want you to say that only because YOU want a chance with me, but because I’ve run out of ways to tell Mr. Aggressive that I’m not interested.
I want you to call the police when you hear me screaming on the other side of the wall. I don’t want you to say “it’s none of my business”, or that “I didn’t want to get involved.”
When a man is following me and it doesn’t seem “right” that he is, when I’m standing in the middle of the road, because I want someone, anyone, to notice that I’m being threatened, I want you to call out to me and say “do you want me to walk with you?”
When I seem drunk and falling over a guy, and so out of it that I can’t stand upright, I want you to ask me if I’m okay. Because maybe, just maybe…I’ve been roofied…
I want you to start asking why so many of us have just gone missing. I want you to ask where have we gone?
When my ex-boyfriend comes for me at the corner of Yonge and Bloor in the middle of rush hour, and throws me up against a wall so that he can “teach (me) some manners”, I want you, yes you – the one walking by – to say something to him about calling the police.
When your boy fucks a girl in the bathroom at the club while I’m home with our child, I want you to cuss him for disrespecting my body and our relationship instead of helping him hide the facts.
When jokes are made at my expense, y’know, because “bitches be crazy”. I want you to explain why you’re not laughing instead of just staying silent. I want you to explain that it’s not funny.
Because, I can take a joke. Hell, I can take a joke and make it viral.
I WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN
YOU STAY SILENT,
I HAVE TO YELL TWICE AS LOUD JUST TO BE HEARD.
That I have to read Russell Simmons for filth because, y’know ol’ Uncle Rush missing a sensitivity chip.
I want you to teach other young guys that I’m to be respected, before they gang rape me and circulate photos. I want you to do this before the shame and the shock drive me to kill myself.
I want you to ask the dude with the assault rifle where he’s going before he comes into my classroom and kills me because he’s fighting feminism.
I want you to stop saying that I’m a combatant or the enemy, or a “challenge” to overcome.
I’m right here, in this thing called life…with you. Trying to figure it out, make my way forward, and achieve.
When I raise my voice in protest over something, I want you to listen, and join in, rather than saying that you’re tired of the negativity, and the yelling and the screaming and that maybe it’s because you don’t understand your privilege.
I don’t want my voice to drown in the sea of your silence.
I know it’s hard to get up in arms about everything, to be shouting all the damn time about various injustices. I want you to. I need you to. When I protest the death of my sons, the assaults on my brothers, the indignities faced by my fathers, I do it, and I say something because I love you.
Guess what? I’m TIRED. I’m so very fucking tired. MY voice is hoarse from shouting for both of us.
My words are almost done.
There are thousands of me, and there has to be…because we need to voice what you choose to stay silent on….
This isn’t about chivalry. This isn’t you playing a hero, or saving a damsel in distress.
This is humanity.
I want you to tell me you love me…
…so that all the men who don’t, will hear you.