Today, inspired by all those confessions I scrolled through in the recent days, I would like to share my own story, and maybe to inspire others to speak up. I'm doing this under hashtag #IamNotAfraidToTell, although I am honestly terrified of opening up to so many people, because it took me six years to come to terms with myself and my past.
While religion in the past has taught us how to live ethical lives and be moral people, it seems as though society is going through some sort of transition. When that which used to keep us safe begins to perpetuate violence, it is time to reevaluate these systems. The problems and promises of religions are most worthy of thought and consideration.
There hasn't been a day this week, where at a dinner or boardroom table, the topic of the Stanford sexual assault case hasn't come up. What is markedly different about this particular violent act, what has spurred so much outrage, grief, bewilderment, and therefore widespread discussion -- is the brave and powerful statement made by the anonymous victim.
We have the very important responsibility of talking much more about consent and doing so early on in our children's lives. Talking about acceptable behavior. Talking about rape. Given the age of Brock Turner, and these terrible statistics, clearly, we are not doing enough early enough. Sexual assault happens across demographics, across socioeconomics, even at the pinnacle of educational institutions.
Our culture's current lack of understanding of women as full human beings must evolve into a conviction that indivisible rights include freedom from unfettered male sexual access, from female genital mutilation to child marriage; from reproductive health to sexual violence; from sexual harassment to prostitution. Achieving equality depends on it.
The "ordinary" black female victim, and the abuser who lives in her house, sits next to her in the classroom, stalks her online, rents out her body or spews pious hypocritical shit about virtue from black church pulpits while preying on women after hours, are seldom seen, heard or acknowledged by our communities.