Trigger warning: the following post contains potentially distressing material to survivors of sexual violence.
Women of color experience sexual violence at a disproportionate rate. The fight to eradicate sexual violence must focus on ending ALL forms of oppression. Given the numbers, each one of us has either experienced sexual violence or knows someone who has.
In order to better support survivors we need to:
Believe survivors and become an informed ally. Don’t make marginalized women teach you about their oppression or your role as a bystander.
Every. 73. Seconds.
Throughout the country April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. A month, not of celebration but of educating the public, advocating for and raising awareness of the grim experiences lived and survived by many; most of them - already marginalized women. One of the root causes of sexual violence is oppression and it comes in many forms: racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, and/or cissexism. The numbers don’t lie. In fact, they are horrific. Indigenous and Black women are at an even more alarming and disproportionate risk of experiencing sexual violence.
According to the National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community:one in four Black girls will be sexually abused before the age of 18. Black girls and women must learn to navigate a world where they are disproportionately likely to survive childhood sexual abuse, rape and human trafficking. All too often, systemic and cultural considerations prevent survivors from reporting these crimes. Native American women are at an even greater risk of sexual violence. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that Native American and Alaska Native women are more than two and a half times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than other women in the USA. Most Native American women living on tribal lands never seek justice against their attackers because they are forced to navigate a complex maze of tribal, state and federal law. If they do report the crime, they are perpetually met with inaction or worst yet indifference.
How do we protect our LGBTQ+, cis, and straight Black and Indigenous girls already vulnerable due to the gendered, intersectional and systemic oppressions they experience from girlhood to womanhood?
We get involved.
The fight to eradicate sexual violence is far from over but we can all do our part to make a difference and support survivors.
Sources: https://www.amnestyusa.org/reports/maze-of-injustice/, https://www.apa.org/pi/about/newsletter/2020/02/black-women-sexual-assault, https://www.acesdv.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/30FactsSAAM2019.pdf, https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence