#safetypin

I’m a woman,

And I have never been raped,

But I do know what it is like

To be judged by physical attributes,

To be put down or intimidated due to gender,

To be passed up for promotion or demeaned

Or told that I have to have a “certain place.”

I live with rape culture

Every day

And know what it is like to feel unsafe

With a man,

With a predator,

When you are by yourself,

Or when things just don’t “feel right”

And no one believes you.

 

I’m Italian-American,

And I am not an immigrant,

Although my grandparents were.

Under the FDR administration,

He issued a ten-year ban

On all Italians coming into this country.

I don’t know what it’s like to be deported,

Or face deportation,

But my ancestors certainly did.

I live with the reality

That when people talk about deportation,

They could have been talking about any one of my relatives.

 

I’m not dark in my skin,

But I do know what it’s like

To hear an ethnic slur,

To be demeaned by words

People should never use.

To be told you don’t belong somewhere,

To be deliberately excluded,

To be mistreated

All because someone deems you “inferior.”

 

I’m not LGBT or Q,

But I do know what it’s like

To be in a relationship people don’t accept

Or regard as valid.

To fear that people will find things out

And judge you because of them

Or worse, penalize you because of them…

Deny you a job,

Not let you in their church,

Not think you should be near them,

To be treated like you have a “disease.”

 

I’m not Muslim,

But I know what it’s like

To be in a controversial religion,

One people do not readily accept,

One that used to be “counter culture,”

One that made a statement

That people found threatening

Felt would assault the very fabric of society,

Felt would change the entire world.

 

safety_pin.pngThe world is changing

And I know what it’s like to be afraid.

I know what I see

Sometimes scares me too.

And I don’t know what it looks like

Walking in your skin,

But I do know what it looks like

From walking in mine.

So I wear this,

Just to let you know,

Just to remind you,

If you ever need me…

I’m here.

#safetypin

(c) 2016 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.

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