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That Could Have Been Me : A Poem

This poem was written in response to the devastating news of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana's murder in 2019.

Dear Uyinene,

I am so sorry. ⁣

Today I sit here, ashamed, thinking:

That could have been me.⁣

I think sometimes that I am lucky to have escaped rape and assault, and then I think what a thought that is. ⁣

I - like many of you, like Uyinene - play to the Rules of Rape:⁣

I never walk alone, at night, in unsafe areas.

I dress more modestly than I'd like, to avoid attention I don't want.

I wear sneakers if I'm walking incase I need to run.

I avoid eye contact with strange men instead of confront their catcalls straight on.

I wait inside until my Uber has come, and I send my location to someone.

But I know there are women out there who have all these things done,

and they STILL become yet 'another one'.⁣

I see #NotAllMen trending; a hashtag filled with women and men who choose to respond to justified anger with offense instead of understanding and action.

Instead of asking themselves: why does rape happen?⁣

We allow it to thrive under myths, thinking it only happens under certain circumstances, to certain women, by 'bad' guys, in dark places. ⁣

Not when running errands and fetching mail at the post office.⁣

Not in public toilets and bright forests. ⁣

Not during the day. ⁣

Not in your own home,

by someone you'd never say. ⁣

We fear :⁣

The resignation when an accused is excused without further investigation.

The frustration when a victims statement is called 'an exaggeration' .

The silent shame when a story is held in because she mustn't 'make a scene',

for fear of blame, and ostracization. ⁣

When will we stop ignoring,




and justifying -

while women in South Africa are dying. ⁣

Today it might not be me,

but tomorrow it could be.


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