By Shavonne Taisha
February, 2015--Herbs covered the air in green clouds as his voice became clear to us all. “Anything that happens to you is your fault, you control what you attract.” Whispers grew voluminous as a sister began to shake her head ferociously. “What about rape?” –He replied, “That too,” uproar poured into our safe place as our energies had been tainted with the ideology that someone could ask for the most invasive attack on the spirit. Yet this argument was nothing new. I had heard it before but never in person, always on social media platforms. How could a young child ask to be abused? How can a woman, ask for an assault? What did this discourse mean in regards to rape culture?
Black and brown bodies have had their share of oppression. If there isn’t one noose there is another. But did he hang himself with his own words? Did he really believe what he said? PAUSE.
We all somehow find ourselves watching Law and Order SVU, searching for a message of safety, searching for a way to protect our most vulnerable entrance to self. Yet constantly we are reminded that short skirts, and ownership of self somehow is an invitation for men to control and manipulate. Melinated women are constantly being policed on what they wear, yet our men grow in a culture that teaches them how to get what they want from women, while women are taught to be objects to his desires. Let’s take a step forward.
On September 16th, 2016 I joined F.A.I.T.H. (Fathers Alive In The Hood) to Rally Against Rape in Queensbridge. A year following the vicious attack of a thirteen year old , special needs student, her three rapist walk free as videos of her being forced to perform fellatio are still being removed from various porn sites. In a community that’s well aware of an issue many stand in silence, afraid to speak or, or even acknowledge the wrong doing of a 13 year old, having cigarettes put out on her face, being gang-raped by three older teens, and being left to suffer as the worst day in her life circulates for social media.
We chanted through the six project blocks, yelling “SPEAK UP! END RAPE,” despite the objections many children stopped playing in the park to hear this message. Despite their age, they understood all to well that inappropriate touch, is something that is scaring and unacceptable.
We were asked how do we stop this? How do we end the cycle of abuse and control? How can we protect women and children? And the answer was far from simple, and dated back to years we’ve never lived. The Post Traumatic Slave Disorder has headed the reoccurrence of abuse in Melinated communities. Recycling issues that are detrimental to our society as a whole. We spoke of self-love, teaching young boys that crying is no longer a symbol of weakness but of strength and the ability to identify with their emotions. We taught children that despite who is the abuser whether in the home, or elsewhere there is always someone who will rescue them, if they can’t rescue themselves.