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Writers in Libraries - Joel Evans



I live my life, and I bear witness

I witness a world built by men

             for men

Where every measure and quality and achievement centres on how men are

              Or are trained to be

              I succeed, the system helps me

Yet the more I know myself, the less I see myself in what it means to be a man

I am not reflective of what masculinity claims to be

              Less and less each day

I can pass the test though, play the role, fit in

But I no longer wish to


I witness a world where women are property

Weddings were business deals, designed to transfer assets

That is our history, though it is not ancient

The right to learn, to work, to vote, all new

              Yet still not universal

These rights I so unknowingly waste, flaunt

              Assume are here for all

              As I long for a fair world


I witness forces working to maintain a status quo of oppression and restraint

While fighting to tear down hard won advancements towards equality

              Advancements that are still not all that advanced

Giving rights to girls and women everywhere

              But not everywhere


              How have I contributed to this?

Because I have, I have benefited, I am complicit

              We all are


I witness a world where feminism is needed

              feminism is needed

I am a feminist

Proud of the traits that some may call feminine

              If gender is a binary, which it is not

Year by year I own these parts of me

Confused as to why in my youth I hid these qualities

              Now I see a sickness

That would make empathy embarrassing

              I see a sickness

That would make compassion uncool

              The sickness is in man.


I have been sick

And the cure is learning

The cure is honesty

The cure is listening

Recognizing the gift it is to hear someone's truth

Changing how I see the world with each story

Seeing the humanity in all people

Seeing the soul of each woman and girl


I witness men made in mothers, disrespect the very bodies they’re born from, grew within

Speaking of people as objects, for their consumption

              Their selfish use

I witness men rule this world with iron fists - fists that first hurt those they claim to love

              Men, whose presence is power,

Men, whose eyes intimidate, stares violently penetrating clothes and space and thoughts

              We aim to own women, with our greedy eyes

I have done this

Looked too long at someone who did not invite my gaze

I am ashamed

And to every woman who ever felt my unwanted eyes upon them

I am sorry

I am truly sorry for making this world unsafe

I am changing


I witness men hunting in packs to find lonely women at night - women who now fear their body will soon not be theirs

Even home may not be safe, statistically many of them are not

Men listening, reading this, you must realize we pose threat, always, even if unintended

Your intent is irrelevant

Some men intend harm

Women walking will be wary of your presence

The world has taught her this

To survive.


Other men, maybe not you, but enough of us

We are the reason this world is not safe

              We are the reason this world is not safe

We must stop saying "not all men"

              Because too many men abuse, use, excuse

We are the reason women hold keys in-between clenched fingers

Navigating how to respond to unwanted cat calls - ignore, joke, smile - what reaction will ensure her safety?

Men, using this unearned power to consume and discard the bodies of women whose soul they don't want, or see


I witness imagined romance that is in fact abuse

Protests ignored in the heat of one-sided passion

I shouldn’t have needed to hear a second No

              But I did

              Regret fills me

Thinking my desire was more important than her body

              Her freedom

              Her safety

Uninvited hands on her body, her body that is not yours to touch without permission and consent

Our hands

My hands

Your hands


I witness and I participate

I am not separate

We are doing this

We are the problem


Joel Evans

Joel Evans

Loch writer

Joel is a recent resident of Loch and a member of the Loch Writers Group. He worked as the Senior Arts Programme Officer at Bunjil Place Library, Narre Warren where he developed activities aimed at engaging young people particularly in his areas of specialisation - theatre production, acting, writing and poetry. Joel and his family have recently moved to Western Australia. He remains in contact with the Loch Writers Group.