man who’s ever grabbed, groped, felt, fondled, pushed, pulled,
patted or rubbed a woman’s body part without her permission and
gotten away with it should be sweating bullets. Almost daily there
are announcements about powerful men being knocked off their
proverbial thrones by accusations of sexual crimes.
may be some who think the snow-balling effect of women exposing the
sexual aggression of men in the workplace is an overkill. I would say
it’s more like a volcano erupting. The boundless incidents of
sexual harassment and assaults over the years have formed numerous
layers of human pain and suffering. The layers have produced so much
pressure that the volcano is now erupting.
much of the spotlight is on the entertainment industry and political
arena, this offensive patriarchal behavior is not relegated to high
rollers like Harvey Weinstein or Russell Simmons. Keep coming down
the ladder and you’ll get to the academic and banking fields.
Keep going and you uncover the sexist offenses in the fast food and
health industries where you find low-wage working women. Keep going
and you run into the likes of Uncle Willie or another trusted male
the African American community, the silent nature of sexual violence
is real. The stats are alarming yet Black women - even mothers of
child victims - are less likely to report incidents than white women.
Legitimate distrust of the system and fears of betrayal mute the
voices of victims but not the trauma.
violence is so ingrained in our society that we often have a hard
time acknowledging that any wrongdoing has occurred. If a victim so
much as thinks about calling out a perpetrator, she often faces
retaliation, isolation and rejection. You gotta be one strong,
courageous sistah to step out and name your violator.
have been some phenomenal Black women who have given their best to
take issues of incest, rape and sexual harassment out of the dark.
Women like Loretta Ross who helped to found the first rape crisis
center in Washington, D.C. Women like Aisha Simmons who launched the
No! movement with her breakthrough documentary. Women like Robin D.
Stone, author of No Secrets, No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal
From Sexual Abuse.
are also stepping out. Filmmaker Byron Hurt’s documentary
HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes broke new ground in exposing and
exploring the sexual violence in the genre. Advocacy groups have
emerged with Black men taking the lead in supporting women while
giving men the tools and education they need for transformation.
someone who has long fought the culture of violence against women in
whatever form that violence takes, I would love for the women who
survived the sexual actions of these men to get the justice they
deserve. Just as imperative is their coming out of the shadows and
joining with the voices of their survivors-sistahs (and brothers) to
take a stand. Me too became Me Three and Me Four and now thousands of
women and their allies have come forward to collectively shed their
shame and take back their power.
abuse is currently dominating the airwaves, but it can’t be for
a fleeting moment. Sexual assault attorneys can’t be the only
ones who benefit from this growing movement to protect the lives and
liberties of women.
intensify and expand the discussion about the pervasive culture of
sexual violence in this country. Let’s call out the Chief
Groper in the White House. Let’s push for more and different
ways for women to report these atrocities and get the support they