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.