Marsha Pearce reviews the recent exhibition ‘Interpretations of the Human Figure’ held by the Visual Arts Unit of the Department of Creative and Festival Arts, University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus, Trinidad. The display of over sixty pieces of art ran from December 17-18, 2013 at the Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago, and was curated by Daniella Carrington, Elsa Carrington-Clarke, Ken Crichlow and Lesley-Ann Noel.
The rape joke is that you were eight.
The rape joke is that at the time,
you didn’t know people had sex to express love.
The rape joke is that the only other person
who’d seen you naked was your mom.
The rape joke is that he called you ‘beautiful’ first.
The rape joke is that he held your hands together
and told you to ‘try harder’ when you struggled.
The rape joke is that you believed him
when he told you were overreacting.
The rape joke is that your grandma
called him a nice boy and asked him to stay for dinner.
The rape joke is that he winked at you
when you apologized to your parents for not coming
downstairs the first time you were called.
The rape joke is that his friends
high-fived him for “getting some.”
The rape joke is that you still don’t feel like
you’ve regrown the pieces he stole.
The rape joke is that he was conceived when his
dad slapped himself into his snoring mother.
The rape joke is that her friends told her
she was lucky someone wanted her.
The rape joke is that each year in the United States,
32,000 other women’s bellies
ripen with life against their will.
The rape joke is that he never learned
to touch without scarring.
The rape joke is that your classmate thinks
‘have you seen what asses look like in yoga pants?’
is an argument.
The rape joke is your new boyfriend kissing
you and telling you he ‘raped’ his math test.
The rape joke is that ‘Why are girls so scared of rape? Y’all should feel pride that a guy risked his life in jail just to fuck you’
is a popular Tweet right now.
The rape joke is that you wake up to
the memory of him laughing,
“now that wasn’t so bad, was it?”
The rape joke is that it’s been twelve years and
you still quiver when someone touches you.
The rape joke is that he hasn’t stopped laughing.
The rape joke is that you forgot how to.
"It’s hard to quarrel with that ancient justification of the free press: “America’s right to know.” It seems almost cruel to ask, ingenuously, "America’s right to know what, please? Science? Mathematics? Economics? Foreign languages?”
None of those things, of course. In fact, one might well suppose that the popular feeling is that Americans are a lot better off without any of that tripe.
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
- Isaac Asimov
—TELL ME, why does it seem to me that he might as well be speaking about Trinidad and Tobago?