by Sophie Ulin, Staff Writer

Illustrated by Summer Cushman

To be pure
Because if you had been
            If someone had touched you
Your innocence would dissipate
Your girlhood
They will try to blame you
But believe me when I say
It is not your fault

No one will touch you
No one wants you
You are now dirty
No longer innocent
No longer desirable 
But don’t blame the world
For she didn’t mean to hurt you
She isn’t in charge
“People are just being people”
“Boys will be boys”
God no
“She was asking for it”
Please God no
“Did you see what she was wearing?”
She is only 7
            A child.
She is only 18
            A teenager.
She is only 32
            An adult.
She is only 58
            A grandmother.
At what age is she no longer asking for it?
When is she really
Safe from your watching eyes?
Safe from the chase 
That you force her to take part in?
Shouldn’t her girlhood keep her safe?
Girlhood means to not be a woman
To not be adult
To not be developed
Can we just let her grow?
Let her flourish?
Let her thrive?
Let her live in her innocence?
Until she decides she is ready.
Why can we not just let girlhood be?