And let’s just name the problem here:
these streets I’ve walked I’ve walked in fear,
and never once have these words begun
in a woman’s mouth.
This week’s Sceptical Scot poetry post highlights Hopscotch, by Nadine Aisha Jassat, a powerful, gut-churning challenge to gender-based violence.
The poem, and the film it inspired, feels deeply personal. But it is set in a context of hard facts and startling statistics. ‘Sexual crimes are at the highest level seen since 1971, the first year for which comparable crime groups are available’, according to Rape Crisis Scotland. While figures for many other crimes are going down, latest Scottish Government statistics show sexual crimes are increasing. Between 2015-16 and 2016-17, there was a 5% increase – 10,273 to 10,822. In 2016/17, 1,755 rapes and 123 attempted rapes were reported to the police in Scotland (Source: Recorded Crime in Scotland 2016-17).
Behind the statistics are real life experiences.
Sat on the bus with a stranger’s hot breath –
‘I want you.’
Against this background, writer and spoken word poet, Nadine works with young people and women of colour using poetry and creative expression to explore issues of sexual violence, racism, Islamophobia, inequality and discrimination.
During August Nadine will be in Edinburgh taking part in the Just Festival and Edinburgh International Book Festival
- Monday 20th August // Just Festival // #OutsideIn: Poetry for Social Justice
- Tuesday 21st August // Edinburgh International Book Festival // Herland Salon with Glasgow Women’s Library
Hopscotch, shortlisted for the Outspoken London Poetry Prize (Poetry in Film) 2018, was adapted as a film-poem by award-winning filmmaker Roxane Vilk with support from Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre and funding from the Scottish Government.
I still feel his heat in my ear when I hear,
For the full poem click HERE
Thanks, by the way, to Malcolm Chisholm’s tweet (@MalcolmChishol1) for the headsup. Please feel free to suggest or contribute poetry about issues you feel strongly about – or just for fun.
Featured image: A screenshot from Hopscotch a film by Roxana Vilk // based on a poem by Nadine Aisha Jassat