Monsters and Whores

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

CW: sexual harassment/assault

Seventh Grade
I told you to take your hands off of me and you laughed
I had to physically fight you off and kick you in the groin to make you let go.
It worked, but not for long.

Eighth Grade
You’re at it again.
Of course you are.
I fight you off again until you’re bent over, clutching at your dick
This time the other boys call me a bitch and say I overreacted.
I didn’t.

Present Day
You’re a priest now and the very idea makes me sick.
But junior high was a long time ago,
Maybe you’ve changed.
But probably not.
Your Facebook page lauds a famous pussy grabber 
because you guys have to stick together, right?
Your posts are obsessed with whether or not those slutty teen girls keep their knees closed or not.
I guess not much has changed.

I’m a mother now, and it’s my job to ensure my son doesn’t behave like you
But because he’s a boy, I have to ensure he’s safe from your brethren behind the thin white line of the collars around your necks.

Your Facebook profile says you’re an exorcist.
You’re more concerned about the hypothetical spiritual monsters than the actual human monsters at your side
The ones who leave battlefields of broken childhoods in their wake

We’re older now and it’s easier for you to hide
Hide behind your cherry-picked Bible verses and your black robes
But I still see you 
You, with your perverse piety
Obsessed with those slutty teen girls who apparently impregnate themselves
Demonic whores, waiting for you to lay on your hands (are you at it again?) and cast them out

A/N: I wrote this piece a couple of years ago after the person I reference in this poem reached out to friend me on Facebook. I’m not entirely sure what it is I want to say about this piece, but I still feel motivated to say something. Maybe it’s because I want to clarify that I don’t intrinsically dislike the Catholic church or the faith of its followers–I just dislike this one person who hurt me who grew up to be a representative of the church. Or, rather, I dislike–or at least am disappointed in–a few people who have become representatives of the church. Catholicism is so deeply entwined in my past and who I am as a person, that I don’t feel I could fully extricate it from myself, even if I wanted to. But, like most experiences, there are both good and bad parts. I’d like to write about some of the good ones, but in order to do that I feel like I have to process the bad ones first. If I simply left out the bad bits, I feel like that would be an inaccurate representation of my time with the church in which I’d be praying you didn’t look behind the curtain.

Pulling back the curtain feels especially important when it comes to the way girls and women are treated. Part of what helped the #MeToo and Times Up movements gain traction were people being brave enough to share the truth of what happened to them. The incidents I talk about in the piece above were not the first time I’d been harassed and they certainly weren’t the last, but I wanted to get them out. I wanted to do that because I am not the only person who was hurt by someone who has gone on in their life to end up in a respected position of authority, who has to listen to someone sing the praises of an abuser while bile stings the back of your throat. You might be saying, “But people change!” and sometimes that’s true. But I think it happens less often than we’d like and the rest of the time, they simply become better at what they do. In those cases, it becomes essential to pull back the curtain and hold them accountable for what they’ve done. Not because justice will be served; women know all too well that that’s rarely the result. But one brave voice might inspire another, and we’re stronger together than when we’re alone in our collective silence.

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