Violation, a poem by Badri Raina


Indian men, we worship goddesses,

And grind women into the dust;

When we pretend we are in love,

We are merely in violent lust.

Love is not love when woman loved

Is denied her otherness;

But when she screams “no, no, no,”

We think she must mean “yes.”

Which is when we unleash the brute,

And make plain the resultant harm

Should woman cling to her own mind.

And refuse the privileged norm

Set out in books of religion wise,

Marking woman appendage,

And requiring that she submit to man

Whatever be her age.

Time we learnt that woman is

Nor goddess, nor brainless body,

But a mix of thought and will and want,

Like any man, good, bad, or shoddy;

And that the rule book gives to her

The full rights of citizen;

No longer lay a lecherous hand

And not be sent to prison.

Cowed no more by the trick of shame,

Women are boldly out

With the shame of men, big and small—

A great good change is about.

—-Badri Raina


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