Second article for Secular Woman's Sexual Assault Awareness Month series

by Shanna Wells, follow her on twitter

A follow up to her first article on Street Harassment.

It’s summer in Philadelphia. The sky scraper in which I work is just three blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Behind the Hall is a shaded green space, an enviable place to be on my lunch hour. But to get there I must pass a construction site. As a large woman, I’m not sure which comments are worse from the all-male crew: being told I’m a hideous excuse of a woman, or being told how my body will be used for the man’s pleasure. I dissociate, seeing myself through their eyes. Just steps from where the Declaration of Independence was signed, I am a prisoner – in my office, in my body, in my gender.

I Hide Inside

The drills and jackhammers

Sting my blossom ears.

Next door, men are erecting

Another giant penis to themselves.

It juts skyward, dry humping the Universe.


I hide inside.


At noon, workmen dominate

The passive sidewalk.

They practice the manly art

Of visual molestation, connoisseurs,

Testing for body, bouquet and breasts.


I hide inside.


My buttocks and teeth clenched,

I pass, watching myself pass,

Watching them watching me pass.

I suck in my stomach, tensing for the blow.


It makes me look thinner, too.

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