3.28.2006

The State of Black America Pt IV: Rapists and Child Molesters

There is no doubt that rapists and child molesters exist in nearly every community. This, like many, is not an issue unique to the Black community. However, we seem to push our issues to the side. We refuse to get counseling when we have them or ignore them until we have convinced ourselves that they have gone away.

This post was inspired by R.Kelly. Most of you have probably seen the infamous tape. I had no less than 5 opportunities to watch it, but I couldn't. Why and how could I watch that? Pittsburgh is preparing itself to welcome the alleged molester to the town of three rivers. I heard the radio announcement lauding his concert appearance at Heinz Hall, one of the most hallowed musical establishments in the city. On and on the announcement went until I had to turn the radio off in disgust. Why is it all of that?

At least 4 of my friends have been raped, near raped, sexually assaulted or molested. And two of them within three months my senior year in high school. One of them was white, but it took a horrid tole on her life, too. The first was my friend Y. She was in college and one of her friends wanted to take her out on a date. She said sure and felt comfortable drinking with him. They got quite drunk. He walked her back to her room and thought she was so drunk she would willingly have sex with him. She wasn't THAT drunk. So she said no. He kept going. She said no again. He still kept going. She started crying and begged him to stop. He still kept going. He kept going until he had raped her of not only her trust, and security, but part of her spirit as well. By the time she called me, she had reported him to the university. He was found guilty, even though he denied it, because she had gotten a rape kit immediately afterward. He was expelled, but she still didn't feel safe. So she left school and went back home. Even 100 miles away from him, she couldn't sleep in her room alone so for months she slept on the floor in her parents' room.

I had another friend tell me she had been nearly raped. L was a junior in high school. A cheerleader, very popular, very pretty and a straight A student. Future valedictorian of her class. She had a lot of friends, both male and female. One day she went to the bathroom after school and her football player friend followed her. He tried to rape her. But she was able to get away. She told school officials but they didn't believe her. The policy, the school claimed, in these situations was to suspend both students. He was the star and had a game two days later so he was only suspended for a day. She was suspended for a week. And by that time, he had convinced most of the school she was a lying whore who wanted it. She found out who her real friends were. There were only about 3 of them.

My third friend to tell me she had been raped was R. She says she's been date raped multiple times, at least 5 She didn't really think it was a big deal, though. She said, she told them no she didn't want to, but they kept going anyway. She didn't think it was a big deal because in at least 3 of the cases, they had had sex before. I said, R, did you tell them you didn't want to? She said, yeah, and I pushed them off of me, but they kept going. This disturbed me because it made me wonder how many times it had happened to her that she couldn't count or how many other women thought it was acceptable for a man to do that when she had clearly said no.

My fourth friend was molested by her uncle. She never told her mother. He raped her multiple times when she was 9. He was her mother's brother. She still has to see him at family functions.

Only the first friend got any counseling. We have got to stop creating a culture of silence. We have got to stop making it the victim's fault. Well she wore short skirts, well she was drunk, well she, she, she. When its someone famous, whether an athlete or whatever, I never automatically believe he is a rapist. But I also do not automatically believe he is not a rapist. I wasn't there. I don't know. But I do know this. Rape is never about availability of sex. It is always about power. So no, I do not want to see the R. Kelly tape. No I do not want to go to the concert. And no, I will not be buying any of his music. Because while I do not know, I do know child pornography was found at his Florida home, and that nearly five years later, he has not gone to trial.

17 comments:

So...Wise...Sista said...

Deep. And so true. There is a very powerful documentary called NO (www.notherapedocumentary.org), written and produced by a friend of mine. A number of courageous victims tell their stories of being raped and silenced. It explores how unlike in other cultures, our community goes above and beyond to "protect" our brothers...mostly at the expense of our girls and women. We're afraid to "snitch" on brothers, but the message is that our girls remain unprotected and forgotten. The 'boys will be boys' shit has got to stop. Great post as usual.

Duck said...

That pulled at my heartstrings. Fortunately, it's never been something I've had to endure personally, but some of my close friends have. The story about the cheerleader and the football player reminds me of the Duke incident that I just read about today. Beyond protecting brothers, why does it seem like people also jump to the defense of atheletes? It's easy to implicate someone who looks like a creep, but god forbid anyone accuse the "good boys" of doing something heinous.

Mrs A. said...

oh my! i am so fired up about mr. kelly because i believe he is another celeb who believes he is invincible and half of his actions are validated by US - THE CONSUMERS, WHO WOULD RATHER KEEP STEPPING IN THE NAME OF LOVE RATHER THAN DEAL WITH THE UGLINESS that HE has propelled into the world. the details don't matter but he obviously has too many coincidences and situations that are similar to keep turning the blind eye. but he is definitely right in naming himself the PIED PIPER cuz he has some people so entranced with his "talents" that his actions just don't matter anymore, just like the real pied piper had the mice dazed and drove them out of the town...people like mr. kelly are one of the many driving forces that are allowing us to show how irresponsible we adults truly can be

Rell said...

I agree totally man, it's like we think that things are going to magically change without intervention and help.

Usually that doesn't happen -- that's why "they" have a leg up on us. They now how to correct some of their problems via professional help.

But I suppose they have the money as well, so that could be a reason.

Don't get me started on Pee-boy, he is ridiculous and everyone who buys one of his cd's is too.

KHALLI 88 said...

I think every ethic group sweeps this under the rug for the most part and it's sad. We look the other way in most cases but I have no tolerance for any man that feels justified in the act of rape ...Boondocks episode showed the sad state of how we hold entertainers in a higher esteem, hell look at Beyonce and Jay Z take the money away and Jay was a 30 + man dealing with a under 21 right? fishy to me

CNEL said...

With the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, the disappearance of Elizabeth Smart, the death of Jessica Lunsford, and others our attention has been called to incidents of child molestation and child rape. I've seen so many stories, but as you pointed out there have been stories which have gone untold. I've seen so many TV news report about going inside the mind of a child molester. What I haven't seen are any plans to stop them from doing what they have done. It's sad to say that many sex offenders are repeat offenders. You're absolutely right the issue is overlooked in the African-American community because of the shame and the stigma attached to two things 1) sexual assault and 2) mental health. So often we want to say that those issues are the problem of "them" and not a problem that we too face. The issue of protecting our women and our children most certainly needs to be addressed. You know what really needs to be had is a discussion about gender, gender norms, gender roles, and the roles men and women especially black men and women play in each other's lives. When we respect each other for who we are, who we can be, and who we ought to be, we will cherish and protect each other all the more.

ProfessorGQ said...

wow...this is really deep, but I appreciate the enlightenment...these are subjects that are usually kept quiet in the Black community...you see that there is no backlash with R. Kellly.

Mr. Carter said...

Unfortunately, this problem is one of many problems that our people fail to admit and correct. Hopefully, writing like yours will contribue to remedying the situation for the race. Thank you, and keep doing what you're doing.

jameil1922 said...

wise... we had take back the night at hampton. i went freshman year and a lot of women got up and told their stories. one girl had been raped at hampton and hadn't told any of her friends. She hadn't told her mother. She hadn't told anyone.

I had a friend who got drunk and had sex with a guy. But she was very, very obviously drunk. She didn't tell the guy no when he tried to have sex with her, but it was their first time and he knew she liked him. It was appalling to me that one of my other friends wrote it off as "but he's a guy. what do you expect?" i don't care. there are men with a sense of responsibility who would not just say well i want it and she got it. if she is so drunk that she stumbled in here and you KNEW she was drunk, as a real man, you, too have a responsibility to say, no, you're too drunk. I haven't looked at my friend the same b/c of her boys will be boys mentality, because like you said, when we do that, we leave girls susceptible to this pain.

duck, i heard about the duke incident today and you're right. athletes so often get a free pass. just like men in general. the shit is offensive.

rell.. it's not just money, though. its just not generally acceptable in the black community to tell your business to anyone, let alone a stranger. i guarantee most of the black people w/money don't get couseling either.

khalli, yes every ethnic group sweeps it under the rug, but it is still an issue that stings black america. and it needs to be addressed. and you're right, the first time I heard about JayZ and Beyonce I was appalled. And its just like, are you serious? That's ok with you? I just don't understand it.

welcome mr. carter.

D. Sands said...

Sadly this culture of fear and shamefulness is the same fear that creates the idea that men cannot be raped. But women rape men alllll the time. I have to get ghetto and start addressing folk on other peoples blog. I don't like some of what I saw.

Miss A, and others..what is with this attitude that sexual molestation begins and ends with R. Kelly? You are giving him too much credit. R. Kelly is an idiot. And he's also rich. So he is not going to jail.

One of the great flaws of black revolutionary political parties was that they were not always bastions of sexual equality. But something they did well was shun objectification of women, and it shifted the way that black men were forced to think. Primarily, these parties were support systems for black men to have a way to protect their children and girlfriends/mistress/wife from white folks and the pigs. We need to get back to that mentality because we are a people whose nature it is to protect each other.

"When we respect each other for who we are, who we can be, and who we ought to be, we will cherish and protect each other all the more."

Chris, that is the wisest thing you have ever said.

Stacie von Kutieboots said...

Get it. My sentiments exactly. He had a concert in JAX and my homeboy was amped to go. I passed and he was with the, "But don't you want to step in the name of love?" I retorted, "He was stepping with your daughter five years ago. Just cause Dave Chappelle made a joke of it doesn't mean it is or was funny. I can't support him in any way, shape or form and neither should you. That was your sister, your daughter, your niece, somebody's mom (eventually). Don't be fooled. The man is sick; ts in plain view and you are choosing to be ignorant. I cannot condone that.

Take Back the Night. Freshman year a football player I went running with told me he was going to rape me b/c I wouldn't willingly have sex with him. He liked that I was so little and because he was from florida, he thought it would be cool to take me in the snow. Sick.

jameil1922 said...

chris... we are HERE. right here. you have been droppin some serious knowledge the last couple of days. its beautiful.

dl... you are the jumpoff as well.

stace... that is so fcuking disgusting!! i hate that! why do men feel like its ok for them to "joke" about rape? rape is never a joke. EVER. the shit is ridiculous. i had a man ask me if the number of my friends to be sexually assaulted or raped is the reason i'm not jumping in the bed with every man i meet. no. but it makes me cautious. and i think too many people (men especially) take it too lightly.

Dani said...

I stumbled across your blog and I love what I'm reading. I agree that sexual assault is a big problem in the black community. But honestly, I think it just reflects how greater society views sexual assault. There's this truly disgusting "blame the victim" mentality in society when it comes to this kind of crime.

There aren't any easy solutions to this, but I would hope that is more people started talking openly and honestly about this problem and treat as a crime instead of "boys will be boys," maybe some progress will be made.

Ladynay said...

All I wish to contribute is that I don't care for Mr. Kelly, even if the tape didn't exist.

Chris said...

I'm just tired of R. Kelly period, not to mention his lack of a criminal trial being a larger problem in my eyes. Rape is wrong, irregardless of race, but I can't help but be annoyed at the hidden notion that young black girls are just "asking for it..." insanity. I had to explain it to some family members last summer that pre-pubescent and teenage girls are NOT wearing a shirt that says "come fuck me, you nasty old man." I really wish people would wake up and understand that the sexualization of young black girls is a sick thing that needs to be addressed ASAP.

Karamale said...

R. KELLY IS FUCKING DISGUSTING.

not because he's into piss, but because he flaunts his sexual deviance in every song, in every video, and IGNORANT NIGGERS (with full sonorance on the -ERS) just eat that shit up.

stupid muthafuckas, ALL'UBM.

stacie hit the nail with the "steppin with your daughter".

we as a community don't hold people accountable for their actions because we like their MUSIC? no wonder white folks treat us any kinda way.

"N" Search of Ecstasy said...

I completely agree!

As for Mr. Kelly, I used to really like him, but I have lost all respect for the man.

I hope that justice will be served for all of the rapist and child molesters!