Monday, December 29, 2008

When Isn't Rape & Violence About Hate?

Update: the 4 suspects have been apprehended!

I had to sit on this story for a while because I found it doubly even triply upsetting. Also it hit so close to home because it occurred just over the bridge in the city of Richmond, CA. This is an area known to be 'troubled'. Lots of crime, drugs, failing schools and people trying to hang on and avoid the maniacs that terrorize decent people. 

A woman was gang-raped by four men near her apartment building and there's a strong possibility they were motivated by her sexual orientation being that she is a lesbian. I am not defending the actions of the perpetrators but my immediate thought was that the story got traction because of the ongoing conflicts over the failure of the No on 8 campaign and the unresolved racial animus.

I cringed to find out Black and Latino men were involved and I hope they are caught and jailed. They'll be certain to find out exactly what it feels like to be violated - repeatedly - once they are. I also wondered if as usual, there was an underlying racial angle to this and whether the survivor was a white woman. Why should it matter? White women have plenty of people at the ready to protect them. That's one benefit of living under white supremacy. Have we not seen Nancy Grace talking about the "tot mom" every day for the past three weeks? 

I still feel uneasy about the Duke Lacrosse team alleged rape of the Black female student who was hired to be an exotic dancer for their party. They may have been found 'innocent' but that doesn't make it so. There are plenty of Black men on death row who've been exonerated for crimes they didn't commit - far too many posthumously. Black women rarely have the protection of society or their communities and since I have to make a choice about how I spend my time and energy that is what I want to focus on. We have to help each other or we will perish.

It's so much harder for Black women to have their rapes taken seriously. The ones that acknowledge their violations are often not believed: by the authorities or by the women in their communities. Others refuse to accept their sexual activity was a rape because it happens under nefarious or murky circumstances and they're often guilted into blaming themselves. Youth, poor judgement, emotional manipulation, intoxication or low self-esteem do not mix. R Kelly. Genarlow Wilson. Karl Malone. Thomas Jefferson. Your father/uncle/mother's boyfriend. The guy down the street. The list goes on. 

Are we to believe the sole motivation for those perps was seeing a rainbow flag on the woman's bumper sticker? Or were they out looking to do harm to any woman period? We may never know. Every woman that remains in a troubled neighborhood is putting her life in jeopardy. In a just world every woman would be afforded the same media coverage, police investigation, community action and BELIEF and help! 

When Duanna Johnson was beat with a baton and called the N word by her arresting officers was it because she was being charged with a crime, was it because they didn't like Black people or was it because she was trans? 

Had the woman not been a lesbian would we have even heard of this crime? Is that a sign of progress in a society that a few years ago would've said nothing was wrong with trying to 'teach' a lesbian a lesson? Had the perps been white men would people be so outraged? With statistics claiming 1 out of 4 women as being a victim of sexual assault there is far too much silence. I hope this will be the beginning of a focus on aiding those that need it and prosecuting those that deserve it.  Every female assault victim should have the appropriate courtesy.      

There is a Facebook Page with information about a fundraiser being held on her behalf. Understandably she does not want to return to an area where rapists are running free. If you feel like you want to store up some karma this might be a good place to start.    
If you would like to send a card, please mail it to:

Richmond Police Department
Attn: Sgt. Brian Dickerson
1701 Regatta Blvd.
Richmond, CA 94804

If you can send a financial contribution (even a few dollars) to help her pay her medical bills, moving fees, and other costs associated with her recovery, please mail a check payable to Community Violence Solutions to:

Community Violence Solutions
2101 Van Ness Ave.,
San Pablo, CA 94806
Attn: Mrs. Joanne Douglas

In the memo section of the check please write: Richmond Jane Doe

For credit card donations, please go to:

IMPORTANT: You must indicate that you want to the credit card donation to go to Richmond Jane Doe.

Please start sending your cards and donations as soon as possible. This woman needs to know that she's not alone in this. 
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Naturally Alise said...

Any post about rape or sexual abuse immediately gets my attention, because I have been a victim of both. For the record, it gets no attention media or even police. When I reported my rape it was like I got raped all over again. I told the truth of what happened to me and I was dismissed and even laughed at by one officer. My case never made it to a courtroom and I was shamed from my college campus because of the ordeal. This was not even 10 years ago and from the experiences I hear from many young girls, things have not changed much. My prayers go out to the victim and family. sigh....

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Welcome Alise:

I am so sorry to hear that but I understand it's the case with a lot of women. We must raise our voices and stand up for each other. I was really reluctant to write the post because it's a very painful topic historically for a lot of Black women period. But again we need to start somewhere and stop letting known predators in our neighborhoods remain free.

Anonymous said...

I am not defending the actions of the perpetrators but my immediate thought was that the story got traction because of the ongoing conflicts over the failure of the No on 8 campaign and the unresolved racial animus.

That was my immediate thought too.

Anonymous said...

The Duke LaCrosse team wasn't just 'found innocent', they were proven innocent by DNA, the same DNA that you will be using to prove guilt of the men in this case. They were proven innocent by a prosecutor who admitted he lied. They were proven innocent by a 'victim' who, after being confronted with her lies, recanted her story. They were proven innocent by eyewitness testimony, most notably from the victim's own friend. No, you won't post this on your site, I see this now, and even if you do, I know that no one will tackle anything with logic and reason. No, I will be ridiculed and vilified. how dare I stand up for a male member of the species that was falsely accused of a sex crime? We all know that no one ever makes up lies about those things. It never happens.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Michelle: Thanks for the confirmation.

Pherret: I published your comment and I will address your troll-like response.

First of all you don't have a legit profile that leads back to a person so you were not seriously trying to engage in a legit conversation.

Second - You are an excuser and denier and accomplice.

Third - I will acknowledge men have been falsely accused of rape: usually they were Black men accused by white women so that white men had another excuse - as if they needed one - to maim and kill to protect "white woman virtue".

Fourth - This isn't about YOU and your pithy claims of suffering. Men that respect women do not actively engage in their exploitation. Violation does not always leave DNA either. I suggest you contact a national organization like RAINN to bring you up to speed!

Don't bother responding unless you are offering an apology and acceptance of responsibility for your actions (because clearly you have harmed someone) but I will not engage with you further.