Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “crimes against women”

WNBA Players: Platform and Power

Me 12.30.15 talking to groupHave you ever been the first to advocate for issues of primary concern to others even when those issues fail to make your top ten?  No one would know it though because your passion for justice moved both you and the crowd.   Have you ever taken a step back to notice who stood along side of you when matters of your heart needed a louder voice?  Who is there—just those in your community or are your neighbors joining the party?

As I write this, I am inspired by what a number of teams and players in the WNBA are doing to show support of the Black Lives Matter Movement.  Unfortunately, many continue to assert that this non-violence stance is in opposition to the work of good, honorable, and honest law enforcement.  Apples and Oranges are not the same.

Admittedly, the number of WNBA games I have watched…ever… can be counted [probably] on one hand.  When I discovered, however, that these players and teams are being fined as a result of wearing black warmup shirts, I became conflicted between wanting to support these women by watching their games but not wanting to support the institution of which they work.  See:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/07/22/wnba-players-refuse-to-talk-basketball-in-protest-of-fines-for-black-warmup-shirts/  What’s a woman to do?

When many think of the Black Lives Matter Movement, they think of police brutality against Black men.  Interestingly isn’t it…that loud sound of crickets coming from the NBA and the NFL.  [No pressure though. She’s got now.”]  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8E_zMLCRNg

Again, many think of Black males when they think of police brutality because they do not know the stories of women like Miriam Carey, Shareese Francis, Shantel Davies, Rekia Boyd, Breaion King, the pool party in McKinney [Texas], and Sandra Bland—stories of Black women that many say are victims too of the same. These storylines fail to fit the familiar narrative and quickly fade into the night.  Could it be that the WNBA players wearing those black warmups know about and identify with these women issues because they are women?  Could it be that they are advocating for themselves in an it-could-be-me (or my daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, or one day granddaughter) sort-of way?  Yes, they could be supporting their Brothers, but have you thought that maybe they are supporting their Sisters too—first and foremost?  Lean In for Women and Equality, does anyone remember that?  Why should these women be penalized for being a voice to a very real issue affecting their community?  Just as the WNBA’s organization supports Breast Cancer Awareness and Pride, where is the support for your players here?  After all, these college-educated players—who are already underpaid and in many ways make tremendous sacrifices to invest in building your brand—are commended for going into the community to give back, isn’t that what this is???

I applaud these women for using their platform for something much bigger than themselves.  I hope they are an example to others, in other industries.  They are certainly an example to me.  Still, I am left to wonder how to support them minus their employer.  Now, that’s power!

Commentary On The Land Of The Free, Home Of The Brave

Am I the only one disturbed about the female, (societally-labeled) Black student being yanked —-wait, no…that is too mild of a description—ripped from a desk while seated, body-slammed, dragged, and….well, was she tossed by a much bigger, stronger, male School Resource Officer who appears to be (societally labeled) “white”?  For some reason, I mistakenly thought that this would be a hot topic today.  Maybe it was….somewhere?  This is heartbreaking; This is real news.  Oh well, maybe tomorrow this storyline will broadcast more.

Forgive me if Lamar and Khloe’s marriage is not of interest to me.  I am sorry not sorry that political talking points bore me when those talking points do not ever seem to point to the injustices within The Land of the Free, The Home of the Brave if such points offer no dividends, fail brown paper bag tests, and struggle to value its women and girls.

In a classroom full of people, just one reportedly attempted to come to the helpless student’s defense.  That one is said to have been another female, (societally labeled) Black student.  I am not surprised by this.  Consciously or subconsciously, she identified with the victim.  Now I ask you, “Why are we, humans, failing to identify with each other?”  Generation after generation, beliefs go unchallenged which keep people divided.  At the end of life, how silly these things must seem when real matters find priority.

As I sit here, I wonder if I am the only one asking myself, “What kind of culture are we living in where people are conditioned to just sit and watch atrocities occur without so much as a consideration?”  Have we become desensitized as a people, of people?  Then, I think of history.  We can send people to the moon, but seem to struggle with tolerating respecting accepting loving one another.  Millions of people attend faith-based services weekly where love is the taught foundation, yet their acts of love are…….well, where are they?  I want to hear more of those stories.  I want to smile while watching the ripple effects of small acts of kindness.  Am I alone?

Several times, I have watched the video of this excessive force against this young, female student who happens to be (societally labeled) Black.  With each viewing, thoughts surface about the ill-treatment of people based on race, on gender, on ageism, on power, or the lack thereof…..  These thoughts surface, but the perpetuated silence on these topics will hold their posts in keeping The Land of the Free, The Home of the Brave paradoxical.

3.26.15 Instant hand on neck - Copy

The Silence of Being Victimized

There I was walking in downtown Jacksonville when it happened.  It was in the mid-morning hours.  The weather was mild; skies were clear.  I was wearing a business suit, carrying court files as I was returning to my office from the courthouse.  Mentally, I was thinking about the tasks that awaited me that day.  There would be many.  My thoughts, however, were interrupted by sounds coming from across the street.  I turned my head to look.  It was happening.  The construction workers across the street were catcalling me.  How embarrassing! Mentor Needed At that time, I was only one year out of school.  I was still learning the landscape of my profession and new environment.  The family I had in the city, I did not really know.  At times it was lonely, but I was making new friends while trying to balance the stresses of adulthood.  The last thing I needed was to be sexually harassed, publicly humiliated, and degraded for being a professionally-styled woman.  My feeling of embarrassment quickly turned into being livid.  What was their point, really?  Was such attention really supposed to entice me to scurry across the street, distribute my telephone number, and wait anxiously by the telephone…or was I supposed to ask for their numbers and call them?  What happened to being my knight in shining armor?  Oh, the stories little girls are told.

While looking forward, I acted like I did not hear them.  They continued.  There were a couple of gentlemen walking on the same sidewalk as me.  They did not challenge the construction workers though, nor did they say anything to me.  I would soon be in my office building.  I would soon be safe.

You know, I never shared this experience with anyone prior to this blog entry.  When I entered the building that day, I went about working as normal.  Although I wondered if such thing had happened to any of the other women I was working with, I never asked.  I bet it had and we were just not talking about it.  The silence of being victimized does not negate the experience.  The memory is already impressed.

In Her Defense

A few nights ago I was reading the comments from an article regarding Bill Cosby. One comment in particular stuck out. It was from a man who expressed his shock that so many women were defending Bill Cosby. The term “so many” is subjective, but I understood his point.

Girl Silenced

In pondering his question, I now wonder if these women’s defense is in fact of “Bill Cosby” the “hero”, or are they of William Henry “Bill” Cosby, Jr. the man. I wonder whether their reaction would be consistent if the alleged perpetrator had a different name, one other than that of “Hollywood Royalty”. Accusers numbered 1…2…3.

Sure, the Statute of Limitations may have run out for some, if not all, but that is not his point—or mine. Accusers numbered 4…5…6. Do we as a society truly value women or is her worth limited to “sex”? After all, marketers have proven that sex sells and she is often the seller to corporations’ net delight.

As I sit here, I am wondering, “Do we as a society truly not understand how money and power can silence a voice?” A governmental survey, specifically the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, cites that 1 in 5 women surveyed said she had been raped or had experienced an attempted rape at some point. It also states that nearly 2 million women are raped each year. Furthermore, the survey found what many may have suspected, that sexual violence affects women disproportionately. With a societal problem this egregious, why is she still selling sex? Accusers numbered 7…8…9.

Images are powerful. They can trick people into being afraid of someone whose skin complexion is different. They can have you walk pass a dirty person who is begging for food without giving him a glance. They can have you question the wardrobe of a woman, a woman who has been raped. Accusers numbered 10…11…12.

I do not know if William Henry “Bill” Cosby, Jr. is guilty or innocent, but I will not be another barrier for these women to overcome to have a voice. Accusers numbered 13…14…15…and so on and so forth? I am listening. Are you?

The Silence Of Sexual Assault

The woman on my right had been a victim of sexual assault. The woman on my left had been a victim of sexual assault. Both were victims of sexual assault before the age of 15.

Girl Silenced

There I sat, listening to these women talk about this commonality and I wondered how many women I come in contact with who have been victimized in this way. According to a Survey done by the National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 1 in every 6 American women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. That is approximately 17.7 American women. Likewise, a Survey done by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families in 1995 cited that local child protection service agencies identified 126,000 children (noting, 75% were girls) who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse. Thinking about the number of cases that go unreported, I would not be surprised if these numbers are in fact significantly higher. After all, there I sat in between two women. One admitted to never telling anyone about this experience until then.

We need to do more to protect girls. They are being placed in situations that are literally designed to kill their essence. Trust, innocence, and safety are being stolen from them, leaving them wounded and angry. Adults who are supposed to protect them, do not. The shame and guilt, the pain and hurt, the shock leave girls who turn into women silent. The crime, when unaddressed, leaves her spirit broken and creates a societal setup in which these women who were once girls are now mothers of girls—girls who are at risk of history repeating itself.

NOTE: National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE or 1-800-656-4673.

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