(CW: Rape, Sexual Violence, Transmisogyny, Misgendering, Transphobia)
Deaf ears are all I’ve ever been met with,
as on Earth so too in Heaven.
What use is there for asking,
when my body belongs to anyone but me?
My “no” never good enough.
“My body” never good enough,
My consent and refusal never good enough.
What good does it do to pray,
when even the gods ignore me?
As a trans person when I fought,
I was misgendered, called a man.
Puppet without strings.
Stitched into false shape
When I accepted the violence,
I was called a good girl and told,
“Welcome to womanhood” –
by the self-same hands that bowed in prayer,
that put me on the altar;
communal fruit for the congregation to eat.
My girlhood has been defined,
as public property.
My body has been defined,
as not my own.
And to refuse this treatment,
was enough proof that I’m not really,
who I say I am.
Because to be woman,
has meant I belong to others.
The hymn begins again,
old eyes and hands set to prey on me again,
and I’m so very, very, fucking afraid.
Charl Landsberg is a transgender poet who writes about social justice issues, here focusing on being a rape and sexual assault survivor.