War Against Women

by Tasneem Jacobs

We are your sisters, your mothers, your daughters.

We are lambs awaiting slaughter.

At least that’s how it feels when we walk alone.

We arm ourselves with a quickened pace

Shield our eyes from the enemy’s gaze.

Do not let them see you are afraid

That is their ammunition.

The street is a battlefield, a landmine on every corner.

Our fear lingers around us like smoke from a firing gun.


We are your daughters, your sisters, your mothers.

We are also what you regard as your “other”.

Those of us who do not adhere to what you think is

right for a woman, okay for a woman.

Our existence does not sit well with you because

you forget that your desire of us is not our validation.

So you retaliate against us, form an uprising,

make casualties out of human beings just

to ward off our claim to dignity.


We are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters.

“She was so drunk dude I just kissed her.”

“She said no, I know she wanted it it.”

Someone’s child is telling his friends how

he has laid siege to our right to control our own bodies.

So quick to mount his conquests like heads on a spike.

So eager to boast of his glory amongst his friends

Not knowing or perhaps not caring that his onslaught

has left his target lying amongst the wreckage of his invasion.


We are your sisters, your mothers, your daughters.

Tell me why I must explain my humanity to you

to make you understand that I deserve protection?

Men never have to be guarded against a threat both subliminal and overt

but always unnervingly real.

I wonder how that must feel.

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Tasneem Jacobs (she/hers): brown queer south african light beam, writer of poetry in her notes app which she someday hopes to curate into an anthology (writes most prolifically the night before a paper is due), frequent imaginer of unlikely scenarios, really slow reader because she wants to "savour the story" but probably just keeps losing her place in the novel, one cup of coffee away from an astrologically related existential crisis.