Listen to Carmel recite her poem on ABC Radio, Mornings with Jon Faine, 11 July 2018
When I say I am afraid of men who mean me harm,
You tell me not to make a fuss, there’s no need for alarm;
That not all men are like that, not to stress my pretty head
Or talk about those other men; just look at you instead.
But what of women suffering, a slap, a punch, a shove,
A life of menacing oppression from a man they love.
Not all men are sexist, not all men disrespect
Not all men are the man who harms what he should protect
Not all men are vicious, not all men are brutes
Not all men are the man who punches, rapes and shoots.
Not all men use violence, most are courteous and kind
But when I talk of toxic men the others feel maligned.
So I ask you to consider when you jump in to defend
How did speaking up for women become slandering of men?
Why is it when I voice my fears you first defend your brothers
Instead of listening to your sisters, mothers or your lovers?
I need you to hear my voice and listen to my fears
But you keep on shouting louder and my voice just disappears.
Not all men will listen, not all men understand
You tell me you are ‘not all men’, a verbal sleight of hand.
I can look at you and love you, and yet still be afraid
While so much deadly violence still seems to be man-made
Do not usurp my story, don’t tell me what to do,
This is not about all men, don’t make it about you.
Do not muffle my singing, I need to sing my song;
Don’t place on me your curfew, I have done nothing wrong.
I will persist in riding waves although there may be sharks, and
Despite the evil some men do, I will walk in parks.
Morning, noon or sunset, or in the dark of night;
I will keep on walking, I have a perfect right.
I will enjoy the starry sky, I do not fear the dark;
Despite the evil some men do, I will walk in the park.
Do not blame my timing, my looks, my age, my size.
The way I wear my hair, the colour of my eyes.
Don’t bind me with the legacy of ten thousand patriarchs,
Curb the deeds of evil men so I can walk in parks.