To be a true and honest Sri Lankan man,
you need to make pedestrian women feel
as uncomfortable as you possibly can.
Honk your horns at her. Wolf whistle.
Let her see the lust and longing,
as you slowly undress her with your eyes,
when you sit across her in a train.
Do this for the entirety of the ride and
make no attempt to conceal any extruding body parts because
You’re a man!
When walking past pretty girls on the street,
be sure to subtly lean in and whisper something dirty in her ear like,
“Hey baby, nice ass”, and keep walking.
When travelling with friends,
be sure to divert all your attention to a singular by standing woman
and make subtle comments about her appearance.
Be sure she hears. Be sure you laugh as loud as you could.
And if any of the above happens to your mother or sister,
be sure to hunt that asshole down and make him pay through his teeth.
Dear Sri Lankan boys,
My body is not a public commodity.
My assets are not yours to savour.
Dear Sri Lankan boys,
You are the reason a man with good intentions can’t approach a woman
because he’d only be greeted by a sceptic glare
or the occasional slap across the face
You are the reason women are so afraid
to accept a kind word, a helpful gesture,
without being instantly suspicious and wary.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to yell at a man
trying to grab, grope or sneak a peak
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to stand there
as I felt irregular protrusions against my back
because my protests will only backfire
as ridicule and ignorance.
There will be no defence ‘cause boys will be boys,
just trying to have some fun,
But let me assure you, sir,
My body is not your play toy.
Dear Sri Lankan men,
You need to teach your sons how to treat women
before restricting your daughters from living their lives
That it does not matter if my jeans are too tight,
my sleeves too short, or my makeup too heavy,
I am a woman.
You need to stop defining us like we’re part of the furniture
Like I’m a punching bag, a window,
A toilet to take all your shit.
I am more than my ass or these breasts I was cursed with
I am a person
With the right to wrap my hands around your damned throat
if you ever touch me again.
And then there will be no defence
I will need no sympathy from bystanders
too narrow-minded to stop street harassment
Because girls will be girls, doing what we have the right to
Image Courtesy : © 1952, 1980 Ruth Orkin / Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery