This series started because I sat in a well-lit classroom of twenty ladies and participated in a discussion about rape. While the idea of sexual assault, molestation, and rape may seem far-removed to you, believe me it is not. It's living and breathing next to you in line at the grocery store. It is teaching your classroom. It is your hairdresser. It is the captain of your high school football team. It is in the third row of the pulpit. In that classroom, I cringed as i listened to account after account of horrific stories. Not to mention, i replayed some of the same type of stories that i heard from my own friends and family about sexual assault. Immediately, my disgust about rape transformed into a blazing anger.
For those who do not know, I attend a Historically Black College that is 100% women. Freshman year, my Student Orientation Leaders (or SOL) told us to "watch our purses" in the west end. They told us to hide our gadgets and gismos at the risk of being assaulted. However, no one told me that those same "gadgets and gismos" could be my hips, breasts, or thighs. No one EVER told us about the dangers of rape and sexual assault. They never told us that An American woman is 10 times more likely to be raped than to die in a car crash.
My classes freshman year raised issues about my potential economic and social struggles that i would face as a black women in America. Spelman never told me that Black women’s sexual violence rate is estimated to be around forty percent by the time they reach age 18. I was 18 when i got to Spelman. So were my classmates. I am 21 now and can't help but imagine how high that percentage has risen. Afterall, there is an all-male institution next door to Spelman...
The upperclassmen told us to "watch our reputations" on campus and gossiped about the infamous Black List (a list of rumored "promiscuous girls" on campus). Simply put, they warned US not to be "fast" - as if every sexual encounter on the prestigious Spelhouse campuses would be consensual. They never told us that 74% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by assailants that are well known to the victim.
Yes. As i sat in a room full of girls recounting these stories, i wanted to give my Spelman card back for the day. Rape is such a taboo topic, full of stigma and misconceptions. Men don't want to talk about it and women don't want to report it. Consequently, we have a generational cycle of psychological, emotional, physical, and spiritual chaos. Whether you work, attend school, or chill on your grandmama's porch, your livelihood is affected more than you think. Plain and simple, no one told us. So i am taking the time to break down what's happening under our very noses ...
what's to come: "WATERED-DOWN RAPE"