He’s Very Good at Swimming

WRITTEN BY KEL

“Where is your line? Is it clear? Was your mind clear at the time?”

Like all women, I have had my fair share of mistreatment and sexual inappropriateness from men. But I have never (so far) been raped. It speaks volumes that I consider myself lucky up until now. Many of my friends and family members have been. So many incidents are never even spoken about, never mind reported.  

It was a few years ago that I read about a particular rape case, if you read about it too you’ll know the one I mean. It was the 22 year old victim’s open letter that really struck a chord with me. I read it over and over and cried. His father’s words slapped me across the face too: ‘it’s a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action’. I can’t imagine what those words did to her. All the media kept focusing on was his athletic achievements.

This was just one of so many cases in which the perpetrator’s perceived successes are foregrounded and celebrated by the media, while the victim is so often dragged through the mud, every aspect of her conduct and lifestyle scrutinised to find a way to pin it on her. She was dressed provocatively, she was wearing a thong, she had an active sex life, she was drunk, she was flirting, and so on.

I wrote this song to try and put my feelings on this subject into words. Every time we play it I choke up. It is a song of two halves, at the midway point the melancholy gives way to incendiary rage. I hope I did this subject the justice it deserves. Unlike the sentences of many rapists.

—————————————–

Red dress left hanging

Cardigan no guard

Make your mind up, you’re confused

Who are you to accuse somebody so cool?

Fresh meat, punch bowl,

How could you know, he would…?

Bright white light

He didn’t mean it, he didn’t mean it

Bright white light

He wasn’t thinking, he wasn’t thinking

Wipe clean crime scene – could have been a bad dream

Except the swabs and the needles

Like brambles

Left blackcurrant bruises

If you don’t remember, how can you know? 

Prove it.

Bright white light

He didn’t mean it, he didn’t mean it

Bright white light

He wasn’t thinking, he wasn’t thinking

Fluorescent bulbs pop like pornographic paps

Metal clatters on metal

The cold, unfriendly wrench of a speculum

You’re a specimen

And all bodies are foreign including your own.

Now the blue black beaks peck at the gory deets

Are you partial to one or two?

Have u spent a lot of time in bedrooms?

And how was it different this time?

Where is your line?

Is it clear?

Was your mind clear at the time?

Boys will be boys.

It must have been something you said

Something you did

He ran, he ran, he ran, he ran, he ran.

He’s very good at running

He’s very good at swimming.

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