Tag Archives: Rape

Can We Talk about Consent?

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“There is no policy too sensitive to question, and no subject so taboo that you cannot even mention it”  – Lee Hsien Long

I can tell you I feel a little uncomfortable writing about this, but it continues to be a problem. I was appalled by the case of pop singer Kesha, who is unable to get out of a contract obligation with her producer who,according to the pop star, raped her and the biggest takeaway is that they think she is lying. (source). Of course, the court doesn’t say that explicitly. The article states:

“The judge said that granting the singer’s request to nullify her deal would undermine the state’s laws governing contracts and the court couldn’t do that.”

The court wouldn’t make a person stay in a contract if they believe she was in harm or danger. But they obviously think she is in no harm or danger, and just wants to get out of the contract, and using her lady parts as an excuse. She probably had sex with him to advance her career. Of course. Oh, wait, did I mention she is considered a party girl, and sings about it? (source). To me, this is saying that her consent doesn’t and didn’t matter. What people and what the judge believes, is all that matters. And that is why I am here.

I want to write about consent, because there are not enough of us, who have never  been sexually assaulted, talking about the issue, talking about our close calls. That’s right, not all women, but a lot of women in my generation, may have hung out with a guy who we thought was cute, and we had no intention of having sex with them. We may have kissed a little too long, but we got the courage to say that we didn’t go any further, they got it, and they stopped. Not because they are superheroes, because that’s what you are supposed to do. The thing that cannot be highlighted enough, is that we are in control of our bodies, and when we are with a guy this should respected no matter what. Now, Amber Rose gave an example a couple of weeks ago on Tyrese and Rev Run’s show on Oprah’s network that might be a little too raw and uncut so people would easily disagree with her. She takes it all the way to the point that even if you’re naked with a man, and then you decide to not have sex, no is no. And the reality is why it isn’t enough? Now, I have discussed this with several people, men and women, and I find that they think Amber Rose’s example goes too far. That if you allow yourself to be naked in front of a man, what do you think he is going to do?

Here, look at the clip.

If you think that a guy should just be able to have a go when they’re naked, what is different when they are clothed? If a girl tells a guy she wants to have sex with clothes on, and changes her mind, what does having clothes or not having clothes on make a difference? To some extent we are saying men have no control of themselves and we should let them have a go anywhere or that the women deserves it? I think they need to exercise some self-control, we let them run some of the most important parts of our lives and country.

So let me take it out of that extreme example.

When I was in law school, my first year, I had a boyfriend. We were still getting adjusted to a long distance relationship. He was slightly the jealous type, but not when we were in the city, in fact, he wasn’t clingy at all, so when I went off to law school, I thought he’d be fine, no problem. Well, not so much and when I would go out, he was one annoying person even when I was just trying to hang with my girlfriends. So one day, I was tired of it, and slightly stressed out about law school and we were fighting quite a bit so I went out with a few girlfriends. I met a guy, a tall, dark and handsome guy, and I may have had too much to drink, and at the time, I wasn’t much of a drinker so when he asked to come over, I was flattered, and hesitantly gave him my address.

After we left the bar, he came over and we were having good conversation, but the alcohol was waning. We eventually started kissing, but my mind was already changing. Talking to him, made me miss my boyfriend at the time. I forgot to mention, even though I invited him over, this was the first time I had ever done this. And I remember how I felt when he tried to push me further and I wasn’t feeling it. I was terrified, and I realized I potentially put myself in a dangerous situation. Why? Because here was this man who was 6’2”, maybe 6’3”, in good shape and everything, and I was worried that he could make me do anything. Eventually, he got the picture with no problem, and went and slept on my couch till the morning. As I laid on my bed, I prayed and was extremely thankful. Because the reality is that it could’ve went really left. Like, it really could’ve been me, and it would’ve been all my fault, because I let him in. But no. The guy accepted my non-consent, and that’s what missing in the conversation. There are plenty of men who understand what no is, so the ones who don’t, they don’t get a pass. THEY DO NOT GET A PASS. If I was in a similar situation, with a guy who didn’t accept my no, why would it be my fault if I am subsequently was raped. (Feel free to explain otherwise in my comment section)

So with any movement there is always a need to allies. I find that a lot of advocates involved with sexual violence are people who have experienced it themselves. What about all the women who have made it through without being attacked? Regardless if you have been in a situation such as myself or you have had sex with one person your whole life, we need more people (men and women) who have never sexually and physically assaulted, especially those who have gone out on a date, and said no.

And then there’s this thing called….VICTIM BLAMING…

It’s one thing when men victim blame but I see a number of women who victim blame, like WHAT?!?! But do you know why? Because it hasn’t happened to them. And that’s the problem. A women who is snatched while walking to her car is the same as the person who is just making out with a guy she likes who doesn’t understand no. We have to stop making concessions for certain situations. We have to continue to push what consent really is, and make sure our boys and girls, men and women get it, therefore, we must continue to talk about it.

More than anything about us understanding consent, there is a special place in hell for women who make up allegations about rape. On March 13th, ESPN will premiere it’s 30 for 30 documentary called, “Fantastic Lies” about the Duke Lacrosse Team rape scandal. I am not by any means speaking to anyone’s innocence and guilt, but the whole situation didn’t help women at all. This isn’t an election where Hillary Clinton wants all the women to support her. Anyone could be in the position of being physically assaulted. If you haven’t experienced it, you’re just one experience from it happening to you. Regardless if it’s sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or anything else. Just because it hasn’t happen to you, because for every women who is victim blamed is one more validation that we are the problem and aren’t control of ourselves and our experiences.

M/P

“You say Nature, I Say Nurture” (The Monday Fits)

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“Genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger” – Dr. Scott Kahan


The debate about nature versus nurture has always been intriguing to me. Are we a product of our environment, or do the genes of our parents and grandparents dictate our behaviors and decisions that we choose to make? There was a time when scholars were on the extremes of this topic. The theory was that human development was solely nurture or nature, but scholars today at least agree, there are simply too many “facts” on both sides of the argument which are inconsistent with an “all or nothing” view”. Instead, the conversation has shifted to “How much?”  That is to say, given that genetics and environment both influence the person we become, which is the more important?” (source)

Enter the recent turn of events for Bobbi Kristina, the daughter of Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston. Over the past week or so,  I have had a number of conversations discussing how things have turned out for her. I have heard many people discuss that she never had a chance, that she was plagued by both her nature and her nurture, the odds were never in her favor.  Between Whitney’s drug habit and Bobby’s behavior (up until recently and his old drug habit), many would say she was surrounded by both reckless behavior and inherited reckless genes.  There are a few who would say it is appropriate to call her a victim of her circumstances.

Yet, there a number of people who would not let us forget that at some point, you have to take responsibility for your actions.  Regardless of your nature or nurture, we all become adults and independent thinkers, believers, or actors in this game called life. We cannot blame our genetics or our environment once we grow up as a reason for our actions. One day our genetics will not matter and of course, our environment is something that we can change, therefore, we should all have the willpower and strength to overcome all odds?

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Now wait one minute?Is it THAT easy? Problably not, but as ludicrious as it sounds to believe overcoming your nature/nurture is easy, we can rationalize on the other extreme as well.

When we look at the NFL, players, and the domestic violence in the league, who can deny that the environment of the NFL is a huge contributor. Not to mention the sex, money, and alcohol create a slew of other factors in players’ environment. Football as a whole is about aggression, strength, and to some extent, the attempt to dominate. So when we hear stories of athletes of acting aggressive many do not act surprised, or turn a blind eye. Before the recent Ray Rice incident, plenty of players, executives, and fans gladly rationalized actions by players, and continued to cheer them on when they were charged with heinous acts of abuse and violence. Ray Rice just got caught on video tape. Because this environment isn’t only exposed to these men when they make it to the “Pros”, but from when they are young boys growing into men through the system in junior high, high school, and even college.  And if we look anecdotally at Chris Brown,  after he was caught beating Rhianna, there were a number of stories and explanations that growing up watching his step-father incessantly beat his mother as some kind of explanation for his behavior. (Source)

So why does it feel yucky to even try to talk about how we “understand” where they are coming from?  Because there are just as many people who come from similar circumstances (some worse) and the outcomes in their lives are drastically different.  However, we do enjoy dissecting these scenarios as if there is a rhyme or reason to what is happening. No one knows the probability or the combination of different events, genes that could’ve made Bobbi Kristina’s situation differ, or her situation be better.  What we do know, there are some things that are just simply out of our control and there are things that are in our control. We should focus on the positives when we can, and recognize the negatives and try to improve them when we can. What we should really try to avoid is always having too much sympathy or quickly placing total blame.  It would benefit us to know what true empathy is. That we, have the ability to understand and share the feelings of another without crucifying them or victimizing them.  We don’t really have to better understand whether it’s nurture or nature, but taking someone from exactly where they are and go from there. Because it is okay to give second chances. They will either turn their life around like Michael Vick or unfortunately, having an ending to their story like O.J. Simpson.

So it doesn’t matter whether a person’s development is predisposed by his DNA, or a majority of it is influenced by their life experiences and environment. We know that both nature and nurture play important roles in human development, and you can put too much emphasis or too little. (source) This can be seen when we take a look at fraternal twins. When fraternal twins are reared apart, they can show the same similarities in behavior and response as if they have been reared together, but that too is not always the case. (Source) So then let’s just take a minute a look at our own lives, and how explain or examine our own behaviors. Papa was a rolling stone, so of course I am (nature)… or in my family, I was surrounded by drugs, so I can’t help it (nurture). Your behaviors may be explained in both ways, but what will you let determine your life. Your Nature, or your nurture, or the sheer force of your will or better yet, if you are a believer, God’s will? You decide.

The Monday Fits: Episode 5

What I am about to say may be coming from left field, and I may be totally out of the ballpark, but I just have a bone to pick and mostly with my fellow ladies. I wrote about Bill Cosby about 4 weeks ago, (click: here ), at the time, the allegations against Mr. Cosby felt like pure speculation.  But one thing that always puzzles me is when people say, “If the allegations were true,  they would have come forward sooner?”

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If you read the allegations, the details were so similar and particular to the point, why would someone make this up, but I understand, if they were true, why they wouldn’t come forward.  Bill Cosby would either have not be prosecuted or based on the details, any jury probably would have returned a not guilty verdict. The details surrounding being drugged adds a certain  fuzziness to the story that can’t be overcome. Therefore, it makes sense why some of these women did not come forward during the statute of limitations. Why accuse Bill Cosby when there’s not enough evidence to prove it, because they would be treated the exact same way they are being treated right now! Earl Ofari Hutchinson from the Huffington post summarizes this point well, “Cosby is the classic textbook example of how men who are alleged to commit rape routinely get away with it. Contrary to the non-stop slanders of his accusers, some did go to the police, attorneys, and their agents at the time he allegedly victimized them. But they quickly ran up against the wall of suspicion, indifference, and flat-out contempt and blame. Decades later when they again came forth little had changed. They have been hit with the same wall of suspicion, ridicule, snickers, and even wisecracks about their motives and morals.” (source)See, so don’t give me the, “since they didn’t come out immediately” it is not true. Most people would not believe them whenever they came out, before and now.

Now, I am a huge Bill Cosby fan, so a part of me still wants to believe this is all a dream. As the weeks have past, there has been more allegations, questionable information, and with Cosby’s silence, it makes it harder and harder for people, for me, to view Mr. Cosby in such a favorable light while others have a blind allegiance to him; and that’s my problem. We expect too much out of people who get paid to act, and in all fairness, to be a LIARs of sorts. Bill Cosby is not Cliff Huxtable, whether the allegations are true or not true, the character he played should not dictate real life. There is a part of us that believes, how could a man play such a wonderful family man, and not believe in the ideals, or he himself, be a family man. Give.me. a. break.people.

As that’s the problem I have with some of the responses by women and their defense of Bill Cosby and the condemnation of the women accusers. Just two years ago, we had a bunch of politicians, who were ALL men, who wrongfully talked about rape in very public settings, and each one of their political races ended tumultuously, because at the end of the day, they were talking about something they knew very little about, and were quick to make statements and give judgements about a very fragile topic thats happens to both men and women, but disproportionately to us ladies.

So for my ladies, I have been disappointed. I’ve read a lot of posts, that say, “You all still support Bill Clinton” , SNL jokingly compared him to “Kramer” (not funny, SNL), I even had someone from my alma mater, Tuskegee University go as far to defend Cosby by comparing the situation of the Founder of Tuskegee, Booker T. Washington, who was suspected to have died with a venereal disease among other suspicious actions. The comparison indicated do we think any less of Booker T, because of this information? Now, I am going to say this once:

Men who cheat, are sexually promiscuous, solicit prostitutes, womanizers, even chauvinistic pigs aren’t rapists. Rape is serious, and when men are so casual about it, it’s one thing, but it’s not okay when fellow women are so quick to brush it aside, and blame the female.  This is my opinion the true WAR ON WOMEN, we are fighting ourselves. ( I understand men are raped as well, but for the purposes of this post I’m talking to women). When I wrote my article previously, I would compare Bill Cosby ( if the allegations were true) to R-Kelly and Jerry Sandusky. We are talking about rape and it’s so much more serious, and then just a man who can’t keep “it” in his pants or only in his wife. I have no doubt that Bill Clinton might have preyed on Monica Lewinsky, but ultimately she made the hard choice many young women face, but she wasn’t forced. Paula Jones, say her allegations are all true, and Bill propositioned and exposed himself, she did walk out traumatized, I’m sure,  but he didn’t force himself on her and rape her.

So what do I think should happen when women hear about a woman who cries rape from a celebrity, just do nothing. You can love your celebrity or sports star without foolishly condemning a women if the situation were true or false, the reality is that there is a possibility she experienced something very traumatic that you hope you never have to experience. Why do women always support the man in a situation is our problem. It is why thousands of young girls, across the country continue to be raped on our college campuses, and the young men are going away scott free.

I look at the two sport stars in Kobe Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger. My bias in reading the allegations, I am more inclined to believe the allegations that were made against Ben are true, than Kobe Bryant. But when Kobe’s trial was going on would I have thought to bash the women victim, no, I just don’t get it. We talk about wanting to break glass ceilings, and people say we need to learn how to “Lean In”, maybe we’re having trouble, because we have a cowardice about ourselves. That somewhere in our psyche, we place men on pedestals who don’t deserve them. Of course the women who cries rape must be a promiscuous, money grabbing whore, versus being at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Why can we not think more  of ourselves. In each women accuser, I look inside and think what if it was me, before I immediately bash, maybe you should try it too.

Now Bill Clinton was accused of raping at least one young lady, during his early days as the Attorney General, and settled the case out of court.  Bill Cosby has been accused of rape 13 times, and still refuses to speak on it. Until he is man enough to come out, defend himself and deny the allegations, I would never call any of the accusers liars, because as a women they have exhibited a courage that I hope I never have to experience. Yet, many of the women have done just that, and they wonder why feminism still needs to exist, we  view ourselves as the weaker sex, and I have a problem with that.