Dear Black Community: Stop Enabling Sexual Predators

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I stopped supporting R. Kelly a long time ago. After watching the documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly,” I could not believe how severe the abuse is/was. The way he preys on little girls to the way he treated his wife is/was beyond sickening. Besides the fact he is a disgusting person, I couldn’t help but consider the numerous adults who failed these girls.

It baffled me how many adults, including their parents, enabled and continue to allow his sick behavior to continue. Then, we have the black community blaming the victims, expecting teenage girls to rationalize like adults.

The only people to blame here are the adults including the parents who were present and did nothing. Yet, we continue to say things like, she knew what kind of man he was, she put herself in that position or she had it coming with those little, short dresses she always wore to church. If you make excuses for R. Kelly or blame the women, you are the person who sits on the sideline and allow this to continue. I feel sorry for your daughters, your nieces or any little girl listening to you defend this sad excuse for a man. Because your sorry rhetoric only confirms she can never tell you it happened to her too. After all, why would she?

It is deeper than R. Kelly though.

There is an alarmingly higher rate of sexual abuse of black women. According to a study conducted Black Women’s Blueprint, 60% of black girls experienced sexual abuse at the hands of black men before reaching the age of 18.

In addition, there is a code of silence in the black community that continues to haunt us today. We don’t like to talk about abuse. We rather sweep it under the rug and pretend it did not happen.

Think about it, how many children did not tell the family about the uncle who was touching all the little girls at the family gatherings. Some of the family knew about it, in fact, some of the little girls told. Yet, he was still invited to the family gatherings and reunions because he was the favorite uncle. Let’s talk about the youth pastor taking advantage of girls in his office. Church folk speculated it was happening, but no one wanted to expose him because his sermons were amazing and led new members to the church. Also, he visited members when they were sick, counseled and prayed with the family during hard times. What about the community leader doing so much for the community that you cover up the fact he molested little girls, thinking it would do more damage than good for the community as a whole.

In addition to the code of silence, there is an unspoken code for the black woman to protect the image of the black man at all cost. For example, in the article, “Sexual Abuse and The Code of Silence In The Black Community, “Cherise Charleswell discussed criticism surrounding the novels, “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker and “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison. In the 1980s both novels received backlash because they shed light on a black man abusing a black woman and getting away with it.

The criticism was not on the dismissal of abuse but rather the subsequent “bashing of black men and making them look bad under the public gaze.”

I recall the history behind the Civil Rights movement where black wives simply “put up” with their husbands’ infidelity and/or abuse because there was a more significant cause at stake. Recently, the Bill Cosby case where the black community, specifically black women supported him because of what he represented for us as a community, once again excusing his criminal actions and/or pretending they did not exist. And, now, R.Kelly, though a known problem since the ’90s. Yet, we still play his music on radio stations, attend his concerts and celebrate him as the “king of R&B.”

There needs to be understanding within our community and perhaps, an altering of the narrative that one black man does not represent all.

Thus, holding the sexual abusers accountable for their action without criminalizing “all” black men. At the end of the day, if we allow his status, what he has done for the community and his musical legacy to excuse his crimes, we fail our little girls, we fail black women, and we fail our community as a whole.
What are your thoughts on the documentary and the black code?

Ebby LeBlanc

WOMEN AUTHORS SPOLIGHT: Jane Austen

It’s the last day of March and the ending to the Women Authors Spotlight series for now. My full line up was  Chimamanda Adichie, Toni Morrison, Monica Ali and I’m ending with,  what I liked to call, a throwback author. I had to include her because if you haven’t read Jane Austen, you’ve been living under a rock. Her most notably novels: Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park, just to name a few. I thought it interesting her name wasn’t well-known until after death since most of her novels were published anonymously. In addition, her novels didn’t conform to what was considered popular in her era, which I appreciate. I love when writers create their own rules and it works.

I appreciate her style of writing known for her satirical commentary. Many literary quotes derived from her works. Though, I haven’t read all of her novels my two favorites thus far are Pride and Prejudice and Emma. What are some of your favorites from Jane Austen? Who are some of your favorite women authors? Did you enjoy the series?

 

Living in the Moment,

Ebby ♥

Previous Women Author Spotlights

Monica Ali

Toni Morrison

Chimamanda Adichie


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EMAIL: Ebbyslane@gmail.com


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April: Writer’s month.

WOMEN AUTHORS SPOTLIGHT: Toni Morrison

I’m shocked and disappointed that I did not discover Toni Morrison, an American novelist until my sophomore year of college. How is that possible, especially with the novel and movie, Beloved, one of her most notable work. The first book I read from her was The Bluest Eye. Immediately, I was in awe with how real, and how genuine she was. She discussed and wrote things that people don’t normally say aloud. I was intrigued by her bravery to be unapologetically raw. It is because of her that I attempt to stay true to my thoughts and dare to write the words I’d otherwise be timid to speak in person. Recently, I read her latest novel, God Help the Child. It isn’t my favorite from her, but I still appreciate her style of writing. Not only is this woman an incredible writer, but an exceptional motivational speaker too. Her books, her ideologies have been quite controversial lately, but I love and admire how she remains true to herself, regardless of opinions. She knows what she wants, and who she is, not only as a person but as a writer and she does not bend for anyone. I want to be more like her when I grow up. ; ) What are your favorite pieces from Toni Morrison?

Living in the Moment,

Ebby ♥

Check out last week’s spotlight Chimamanda Adichie


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