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Reclaiming Bodily Ownership

Rupi Kaur's Poem on Femininity Explores the Trauma of Sexual Assault

— January 10, 2017 — Keynote Trends
In her chilling poem on femininity called 'I'm Taking My Body Back,' Canadian poet, spoken word artist and writer Rupi Kaur tells the emotional story of a victim of sexual assault.

She speaks from a first-person perspective, telling her audience, "It began as a typical Thursday." The subject of her poem on femininity goes about her day as normal, taking the time to tidy her apartment before readying herself. Rupi Kaur describes this entire process in an artful manner, referring to the subject's daily routine as an elegant decoration of herself -- likening her body to a home.

The story shifts when a man she's familiar with offers her a ride home from an outing with friends, who instead of driving her home, "took a left to the road that led nowhere." She goes on to describe the sexual assault, violently recounting the women's experience with powerful metaphorical phrases like, "It was you who dove into me with a fork and a knife. Eyes glinting with starvation like you hadn't eaten in weeks."

Rupi Kaur then describes the feeling of emptiness experienced by the women after, once she was forced to feel that her own body was no longer her home. Throughout the story, the poet recounts the women's constant struggle of carrying her attacker's horrific actions with her, as well as the deep trauma caused by it. In the end, Rupi Kaur takes her subject back in time, as she allows her to redecorate herself so that she's able to feel at home in her body.
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