Solange wasn’t lying when she sang: “I got a lot to be mad about” .
Imagine how mad you have to be to constantly deal with racism and sexism in the middle of a global health pandemic that has left many of us jobless, homeless, stressed out, anxiety ridden, depressed, AND WE STILL GOTTA FIGHT A RACE WAR.
So yeah, I got a LOT to be mad about and I’m tired.
A little under a week ago, sexual assault and the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport was the trending topic across Twitter timelines and I watched many women of varying ages and identities share the age(s) of when and where they experienced sexual assault and sexual abuse.
Many were as young as 5-years-old to grown as hell, with the atrocities committed by everyone from their own family members to popular figures who are apart of Greek lettered fraternities, party promotion circles, music artists, “activists” and much more.
Hundreds of women I follow and even men too, bravely shared their stories, something that isn’t easy to do when you have been suffering in silence for so long.
About a day or so later, an anonymous Twitter user took it upon themselves to create a profile called “Expose The Weirdos” where the survivors of sexual assault could send in pics, social media profiles, and details of their assault to out their abusers.
The idea of the page may have been created with pure intentions but here’s where things began to take a turn for the worst.
First, pictures of men that I knew and once acquainted with popped up on the page. Then, the original page was exposed for seeming empathetic to women’s experiences yet tried to charge someone to “expose their abuser”.
Even in serious times like this, our pain is used as a come up. A joke to the masses and the next trending topic.Tweet
Eventually, that page got deleted. Unfortunately, I didn’t capture any screenshots of the pages but then a second and third page got created. It was rumored to be at least 10 pages but I am not sure how true that is. A quick Twitter search I did prior to releasing this shows that there are newer pages but they are set on private and by the time you all read this, those might be deleted as well. For my non-Chicago readers, please keep in mind that this happened on Chicago Twitter.
A second and third page were created and I saw even more men I knew and were friendly with posted. I later watched Twitter find the person who allegedly created one of the pages . Apparently, it was a young Black woman who allegedly posted a mix of innocent and guilty men on there due to whatever her personal reasons were. As of today, those pages have been deleted so I don’t have anything visual to contribute.
Upon further research, it seems as (or at least one of the) if the original page has been restored.
Social media is often the light and the darkness when it comes to sensitive topics such as sexual assault and sexual abuse.
I watched many men from the TL display performative empathy — “I’m so sorry this happened to you, I’m here if you need anything, ” to women that they know and love and then the switch flipped.
The narrative went from “pRotECt and ReSpeCt BlACk WomEN” to “These bitches and hoes are lying!” because either their friend, frat brother, homie got posted on those pages or it was them themselves.
It’s different now, ain’t it?
Chaos ensued, and I watched numerous men and their legion of followers furiously protect their names.
I watched survivors get bullied.
I watched many stay silent.
While I do not agree that creating anonymous social media pages to out abusers gives anyone any type of justice, I do believe that survivors deserve for their voices to be heard and most importantly, survivors deserve peace.
So if naming said individuals gives them peace, then so be it.
But after the social media spectacle dies down, where is the advocacy? Where is the accountability towards the abuser? Rape culture is still running rampant. Then what?
The problem is complex and not a singular answer will be able to encompass how I feel. But no matter which word you use, the facts are this:
misogyny, patriarchy, sexism teaches the entire world that women’s bodies are property.Tweet
Men are taught that they can do whatever it is they want to do to us and when you add in popularity, “clout”, perceived and actual wealth, social status, and more, it automatically gives men the benefit of the doubt. And for some reason, women are automatically considered to be lying — unless you’re white of course and THEN you fare a better of chance of being believed.
But what about the Black women?
Only 2-10% of sexual assault allegations are found to be false.
But I digress.
The bottom line is, as a Black woman I am TIRED. Black women all across the world are forced to battle both racism and sexism at the same exact time. Many people try to force us to “choose” as if our blackness and womanhood are costumes that can be taken off anytime that we want. And don’t let you be queer, trans, disabled, etc. Because then society really tries to force you to choose blackness first, as if our identities don’t all intersect.
I’m tired of men not being held accountable for their actions.
I’m tired of systemic racism.
I’m tired of explaining why sexism is wrong and why fellow Black men shouldn’t be misogynistic because it’s harmful. I’m not gone stop, but trust me– I AM TIRED.
I’m tired of performative empathy towards fellow sexual assault survivors. Don’t switch up the narrative just cuz it’s yo homie. None of us are really good judges of character and even if we were, none of us have eyes on our friends 24/7.
And to Black men: Make no mistake about it, I love ya’ll. But many of you reading this will probably assume that I’m being divisive. Or that I hate ya’ll. But I do not. In fact, I love ya’ll so much that I actually wanna educate ya’ll AND hold ya’ll accountable. Because yeah, it’s not all of you, but anytime you’ve witnessed yo homie make a girl uncomfortable and didn’t say anything, you’re just as guilty. And even it being just SOME of ya’ll is too much for me!
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO
Just like white people only listen to white people and when their money is being stopped, Black men will only listen to other Black men.
So Black men, educate yourselves. Listen to Black women. Read what Black women have wrote on our battles with racism and sexism. As a black man, you’re not the only one who deals with racism and if you’re a white woman reading this, you’re not the only ones who deal with sexism.
Believe Black women.
Check your own internalized misogyny. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you believe every woman who calls out a man for abuse, is a liar? Have you ever asked yourself why you deem only some women worthy of respect and deem other types of women not worthy? Or maybe you’ve questioned what a woman had on when she revealed that she had been sexually assaulted?
That’s misogyny friend, and ion like det.
Ya’ll understand racism so perfectly, but sexism is where ya’ll look at me and other women like we’ve grown two heads whenever we get vocal about it.
Probably because that would force you to have those difficult conversations AND hold you and the guys you hang around accountable…but I digress.
I was searching for a way to profoundly end this post but to be honest with ya’ll, the words have escaped me. I am hopeful that this racist and sexist attack on Black women will be dismantled one day, but similar to what Dr. King once said, I may not be alive in this lifetime to see it. I can only do my part by writing and amplifying other’s voices, and leaving resources for those who actually WANT to do better.
For more info on what you can do to further educate yourself on ending sexual and gender based violence, click on these links.. for everything else, well…. Google is free.
Men Can Stop Rape – https://mcsr.org/home
Healthy Masculinity – http://kiasmithwrites.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/c8fb2-healthymasculinity.pdf