Exposed | Deepika Kapoor

John Dominique once said,
“You cannot kill truth. You cannot kill justice.
You cannot kill what we are fighting for”

I begin unraveling the binding covering my abrasions,

Starting with the meticulously rehearsed smile hung high on my face,

Revealing scrapes of anguish,

 Vulnerability collecting around me.

I had ignored the brewing storm of indignation in my head

Just as they said to.

Work

on moving on

Work

on forgetting about it

Work

on healing yourself,

They told me.

What about working on justice?

What about having control over my own body?

That didn’t matter.

Not to them.

Because somehow they had come to the conclusion

That rules could be broken

By the man holding her down by the neck telling her not to scream

By the co-worker claiming she needed a reason to say no

By the boyfriend never making her comfortable enough to say stop

By the father saying sex is the only way to prove she really loves him

By the doctor doing more than just a checkup

By the husband forcing a knife to her throat, claiming the pain would be over soon

By the same man others declared,

‘Would never do such a thing.’

Because somehow suffocating the cries of violated women

Is the best way to solve a problem no one wants to hear about.

Because those I once trusted put a limit on the amount of pain I was allowed to feel.

They focused on the amount of skin I was showing

The way I had my hair up

The way I talked

walked

and smiled

They asked me if I was drunk

or high

or alone.

As if wearing a low cut shirt was an invitation

As if a bottle of beer could represent consent

As if the way I walked made me deserve what he did

As if the amount of makeup I wore determined the amount of damage he was allowed to do

As if the time of day made any god damn difference

As if teaching girls to hide themselves from the world gets rid of the problem.

Silencing the suppressed is easier for them than standing up for what is right.

Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Funny,

Like a rape joke?

People with power play by the book as long as it’s written in their favor.

They fight only the battles they have no chance of losing

They practice hardening their hearts while preaching about compassion and persistence

They are afraid of the risks needed to achieve justice

They have more interest in protecting their reputation than their people

But even a dog remains untamed until it is taught the word

No.

So why are men any different?

Why do we not teach our boys

That women are not objects

That we have a right to our bodies

That relationships do not validate perverse actions

That no is a full sentence on its own

That they can no longer hide behind excuses

That they cannot force someone to do something they do not want to.

No.

Smothering my cries

Is but a futile attempt to suppress the reality.

That is not who I am.

I will not stay silent.

I am not a coward.

I refuse to kill truth.

I rip away bandage remnants,

It’s about time I reveal my scars.

————
Deepika Kapoor is eighteen years old and a current senior in High School. She is a poet, photographer, and improvisation artist. Her work has received an editors choice award and was a front page feature for TeenInk. Deepika Kapoor resides in West Des Moines, Iowa.

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