Another Rape Poem: A List of Poems That Break the Silence on Sexual Assault + Rape Culture

Trigger Warning: rape, sexual assault, sexual violence.

I’ve been thinking a lot about rape poems, how people basically view them as a trope of the genre at this point, how almost every poet I know has one—whether they use the R-word or not, whether it’s about them or a friend or just the culture we live in. I have one in my second book. For the longest time, I felt guilty about writing another one. Like I’d already used up my opportunity, like if I didn’t have something particularly new to say about the topic, then I shouldn’t bother bringing it up again. But for the last month, it’s been almost all I could write about. Some months are just like that. You know how you can’t shake things, sometimes? I put that poem in my book because I didn’t want to see feedback about it on the internet. I didn’t want to see the tags or the comments. But, man, it’s 2016. People are rallying behind Kesha, Biden is speaking out about sexual violence, Gaga is performing about it on the Oscars. Still, when I posted a new piece about rape on my blog last week, it took about about ten minutes for someone to tag it with “you should have just said yes.”

Those first nine minutes felt great though; so here are roughly twenty-five minutes on catharsis, validation, healing, and social commentary. Here’s another rape poem:


“Another Rape Poem” by Brenna Twohy

“I am tired of hearing rape poems the same way soldiers are tired of hearing their own guns go off. Believe me, we all wish the war was over. But friend, you are staring out at a world on fire complaining about how ugly you think the ashes are. The poems are not the problem.”



“American Rape Culture” by Desireé Dallagiacomo & FreeQuency

“In less than forty years, rape has gone from ‘punishable by death’ to ‘qualifier’: rape joke, rape song, rape scene. From birth, American Culture teaches children what gender they will be: perpetrator or victim.”



“Piñata” by Pages Matam

“To the man on the bus I overheard in conversation tell a woman, presumably a friend, ‘you are too ugly to be raped.’ Dear man on the bus, tell the one in five women of this country that they are beautiful, their four counterparts spared torment, ugly.”


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“Say No” by Megan Falley & Olivia Gatwood

“Somewhere, a girl is told that if she doesn’t want to hear the song about rape, don’t listen to it; but it follows her in the supermarket, the gym, the girls’ clothing aisle and now she knows all the words.”



“Go Away” by Hieu Minh Nguyen & Ollie Schminkey

“You are asking me if my sexuality is a side effect. You are asking me where I came from. You are asking what made me this way. I do not need a diagnosis. I do not need an origin story. I do not need to explain my existence. I was not made this way. My rapist is not a god.”



“People You May Know” by Kevin Kantor

“Two police officers told me that I must give his act a name or it didn’t happen, that obviously I could have fought back. Which is to say, no one comes running for young boys who cry rape. When I told my brother, he also asked me why I didn’t fight back. Adam, I am. Right now. I promise.”



“One Color” by Neil Hilborn & Ollie Schminkey

“We teach that rape is always a man in an alley. Always a clenched jaw and a closed fist. Always a stained white shirt. But I never used my pepper spray. I never had to worry about an uncle or a locker room. Do not confuse one story for all stories.”



“Paper Dolls” by Sierra DeMulder

“Nothing was stolen from you. Your body is not a hand-me-down and there is nothing that sits inside you holding your worth. No locket that can be seen or touched, fucked from your stomach to be left on the concrete.”



Contributing Editor


Trista Mateer is a writer and poet living outside of Baltimore, Maryland. She believes in lipstick, black tea, and owning more books than she can ever possibly read. Known for her eponymous blog, she is also the author of two collections of poetry.