About ten or fifteen years ago an ex and I were playing Questions and he asked had I ever been molested. Quite shocked by his question, I quickly replied “Hell No” and to my surprise he didn’t believe me.
His exact words were “So you’ve never had a dirty uncle, stepfather or mother’s boyfriend that has never touched you?
He was still thoroughly shocked and even more shocking was when he said every woman he’d ever dated had been molested or sexually abused in some way.
How is that possible?
The #MeToo women’s movement surrounding sexual harassment and abuse has put a face(s) to an ugly act. But this is nothing new. The courageous and beautiful black woman Tarana Burke, a social activist, began the movement in 1997 with a conversation with a 13-year old girl that had been sexually abused. This began her organization with Just Be Inc, an empowerment foundation for young girls of color, that eventually evolved into her “Me Too” campaign in 1997.
No, Alyssa Milano did not begin this movement.
Sexual abuse is horrible for any woman but it is so prevalent in black communities and is rarely addressed as it should. This movement has been hijacked by white women and there plight with sexual abuse. Black women do not have or if there is access, utilize services due to stigmatization surrounding therapy in black communities. We do not find solace in other women in our communities because quite frankly, society places the blame on the woman. This has a tremendous impact on healing and leads to psychological difficulties in some cases, including substance abuse, mental health challenges, depression, reckless views and actions of our own bodies and how others view us.
However, Ms. Milano has recognized Ms. Burke’s campaign and propelled the movement into the limelight through a tweet. I made it a point to recognize that this is not a twitter trend but a realistic social platform to bring awareness to the sexual abuse that some women suffer on a daily basis. Women, white women, are finally beginning to realize their importance, dominance and authority over their bodies and the way society treats and views them. But what about the voices of the unheard and marginalized.
We are taking a stand and taking our power back too.
I remember working at a restaurant several years back and I happened to be slicing lemons out on the floor. This particular restaurant was open and you could see all of the staff. We had a boss that was known for inappropriate conduct and allegedly had fathered children with employees. He would say inappropriate comments and we would brush it off but stay clear, at least I did. One busy day he purposely walked by me on a very narrow aisle, which normally people will say excuse me to obtain more room, and brushed his hand up against my ass. I was so pissed off that my first and immediate reaction, which is usually the correct one, throw the lemon at his head as hard as I could. WHAM!! Good girl!!! I have NEVER been so accurate at a throw until that day. You see I was not afraid of losing my job—-I could care less, I was more afraid of having to prove what he did. But by throwing that lemon at his head and in view of the camera, customers and staff it would allow me to have my say and put the blame back on him, why did she throw that at him. From that moment on I had not had any more incidents with him, and he was fired three months later for more misconduct. Now most men if they touch you or brush up against you accidentally there is a quick response of “I apologize or I’m sorry” but that did not happen, so I knew he did it intentionally.
I have never been in a relationship with a man that has physically put his hands on me nor verbally abused me. I guess I was a lucky one. Now I have been verbally assaulted, grabbed at in hopes of getting a number or more who knows, from unfamiliar men in the streets. But this was routine, right? I was not the only one, I have heard countless stories from friends, relatives and strangers, so it became normal and part of my daily walk in life. Sadly an abnormal routine. As a young woman growing up and OUT, my journey with objectification began. The reaction of my blossoming body from the boys made me uncomfortable so I stayed afar for as long as I could. It was an awkward feeling to be
looked gawked upon and wanted at such a young age by peers and perverse older men. I would purposely reroute my paths in other longer, safer directions if I were approaching a group of males. I let go of boyfriends if I felt that they were getting closer to wanting more than a kiss. I was even flashed at the age of 14. Sadly, this was my first experience with a man’s penis as a teenager and it was ingrained in my head, and it worked, I stayed far away. That really didn’t help my psyche either.
How much do we actually put up with and ignore or brush off in our daily lives?
An episode of She’s Gotta Have It depicted how the main character’s male lovers viewed her and her insatiable sexuality simply off of how she was dressed in an LBD on a date.
It’s our fault though, right?
Because how dare I want to feel beautiful in the latest fashions, how dare I feel confident in my skin and my curves and my little black dress, how dare I to want to just BE.
Each woman is different in her own right and each woman owns her power and difference accordingly. The duty to teach society, because women do it too, how to view women not as property or as an escape from the reality of men’s insecurities is not only a father’s but a mother’s as well.
I applaud each and every one of these women no matter their color or how long ago it happened. But let’s be real the reality and daily lives of most black women and a white women are world’s apart. I can only speak on what I know as a black woman but our sufferings are not put on platform as quickly nor are we rallied around as quickly, even from our own until a white person notices. We have got to do better in our own communities.
No shade here, just sharing my experience and views. I am proud of all of these women for standing up and creating space for room to exhale, gather their audacity, valor, fearlessness and allow other women to speak on their encounters. I do not want to call these women victims because it is paralyzing. I look at these women as modern day SHEroes, lion(ess) hearts and warriors. Although they sacrificed the ultimate, their dignity, it creates a soapbox for women to be liberated and not silenced by her secrets.
At the end of the day we all need each other, to learn and grow from and live on this planet but we definitely need black women to give other black women the support that white women give each other, even if the majority of them are Trump supporters….*side eye.
Now that’s the definition of Black Girl Magic.
So, I say this to say keep talking ladies.
Start talking ladies.
Men are listening too!
*****the opinions expressed on LCC are just that, MY two cents!