You Have Not Walked the Same Streets as Me

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You have not walked
The same streets as me
Maybe physically,
But not mentally

You have not walked the streets
Worrying about how fast
You can get to your car
Because there is an unwanted
Stranger following you on his bike
Trying to make small talk
About how “nice” you seem

You have not walked the streets
Wondering why the older, drunk man
Stopped his unwanted flirting with the waitress
To turn his attention to you and your friends
Who are only thirteen years old

You have not walked the streets
Making sure that your shorts aren’t too short
Or your top too revealing because
These men do not understand
That your clothes are not consent,
That your clothes do not give
Them permission to violate your body
Or to verbally assault you

You have not walked
The same streets as me
And I hope you never will
Because the constant worrying
Of what comes next or who is watching
Is a paralyzing fear
That makes you long for
The blissful ignorance of your childhood
That was taken too soon by
The prying eyes, unwanted remarks,
And the hands that do not know the definition of consent

You have not walked
The same streets as me
Maybe physically,
But not mentally

You have not walked
The same streets as me
And I hope you never will

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