I told my dad by Cath Campbell

I told my dad
when his friend put a hand up my skirt.
‘Oops, musta slipped. Cheeky girl!’.
I never saw that man again.

I told my dad
instinct already honed to danger,
when a man followed me home
from school, ‘Giveusakiss, pretty girl’,

I told my dad, I did,
and he went off into the darkness.
I can’t tell you what transpired
but there were torn knuckles and bruises.

I told my dad
whenever anything happened.
He never said a word. He was out a lot,
sometimes alone, sometimes not …

I stopped telling my dad when I was fifteen years old,
but, today, although he’s long gone, I think I’ll tell him one last time,
the tidal swamp of innuendo, assault, body shaming, cajoling,
car stalking, following, touching, forcing, gas lighting, bullying,
hurting, harming, hassling, menacing, owning-the-narrative arrogance
was constant, relentless and drowning.

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