I feel like all my posts should come with a trigger warning.... so:
This post contains references to interpartner violence and statutory rape.
Last week I learned that strong, black girls AND women can't be victims. This person even told me that they viewed me as a strong girl in HS. It was at that point I revealed to them that as a "strong girl" I was assaulted by a boy within the walls of that very same HS. Because i believed int he myth of the "strong girl" I did not press charges even though I absolutely should have. Instead, I blamed myself. This boy was my boyfriend. I was in the 10th grade and he was an upperclassmen. I was not prepared to go farther than kissing but I am a naturally flirty and affectionate person. This caused issues for him. One day, in the front lobby of the school he pinned me to the ground and began screaming at me. My memory of the situation is foggy, but I recall him saying that he didn't understand me and he didn't know what I wanted. An administrator pulled him off me but I don't think anything else happened after that. I avoided him at all costs thereafter and I don't recall if he ever apologized. But I remember that I felt that I was to blame.
I was barely 15 and I was already blaming myself for another person's inability to control themselves. This person was 18 and I, still a minor, blamed myself. I had almost completely forgotten about it (or buried it DEEEEP DOWN inside) until years later when someone was "playing" with me and pinned me down. It all came to the surface and I had to let them know why I reacted the way I did (because I went beserk).
But I told that convoluted tale to say this. Mental strength does not make you any less of a victim. We put this false definition of strength on people which forces them to never feel as if they can be vulnerable or weak or HUMAN. I jokingly refer to myself as a Black Unicorn because I apparently am a rare breed of woman with no children, no ex-husbands, and no effs to give who spreads glitter and rainbows and sunshine and apple sauce! But in reality, I am a female human who makes mistakes, gets hurt, doubts her greatness and cries regularly.
Last week there was a conversation about the young lady who is now speaking out about her relationship with R. Kelly. Within that conversation someone stated that the young girl was equally to blame. The person went on to talk about how "fast" young girls are and also how 16 and 18 were not that different. Think about that. If a 16 year old girl is the same as an 18 year old as far as making adult decisions, then where does "childhood" begin and end for young, Black girls? Even when presented with the data that 60% of Black women are sexually abused by the age of 18, this person insisted that this young girl was at fault and not a victim at all but a girl who knew what she liked earlier than others. This person totally missed the point that someone who likely abused her had introduced her to "what she likes". I am getting worked up all over again so let me wrap this up.
We cannot expect our Black girls to be strong and leave them unprotected from adult men who prey upon them and groom them. Young girls have to be taught to make ADULT decisions at 15 and 16 years old because boys are not being taught to treat them better and men are refusing to let them be children. #NotAllMen