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I grew up in a time where girls were thought so lowly that they could ask to be raped

Not grown women with breasts firm with ripening of age

But little girls who drew squiggles for letters and whorls for numbers still

Close your legs, do you want to get raped? Our mothers shouted.

Will you not wear your tights under those shorts? Who are you trying to invite?

So I grew up with my body belonging to men whose faces and names I did not know

For it was for their comfort and convenience that I wore leggings with my summer dresses

My lipstick a shade lighter lest they be led into temptation by my 15 year old honey-coated lips

Little did I know that the sweet-tongued seductress the wise father warned his son about in Leviticus was nine year old me

My laughter a decibel too high was a sign that I wanted his faith and strength to falter

His righteousness existed before mine, was guaranteed over mine although it was he who had the power to act

He had the power to pin me down against my will, gag me, defile me and disembowel me as neighbours said the following day, “Ag ja man, but did you see what she was wearing?”

He had the power to throw acid on my face and be protected by the law if I pulled a knife in self-defence

And yet… the lips of my vagina are sewn together to silence my humanity

My breasts are ironed to mask my attractiveness which is a curse I have brought upon myself

My clitoris is slashed because God made a mistake, I don’t need that – it serves no functional purpose, for my husband, that is

Pleasure is for him to take. My piety is for him to indulge himself, to bathe in so that I may replenish the fountain of his youth and purity

My insecurities a buffet where seconds, thirds, followed by a dessert on the house are a regular special on the menu because slut-shamers and victim-blamers got money to blow

This is why the man who slept with the prostitute saved by Jesus was nowhere to be found

He could have been in the bar celebrating that he’d smashed or perhaps he was ready with his own stones to throw

He is crowned while she is treated as though she is dirty but made dirty by whom?

Because according to society, the man is simply being a man.

And away he walks.

Smug.

Not liberated but free.

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