Expanding Our Frame, Deepening our Demands for Safety and Healing for Black Survivors of Sexual Violence is a recently published report by Andrea Ritchie for the National Black Women’s Justice Institute. Excerpt below:
[T]hroughout U.S. history, Black women, trans and gender nonconforming people’s experience of systemic sexual violence during slavery, in domestic servitude, in the workplace, and in our homes and communities has largely remained invisible, obscured and rationalized through deeply entrenched narratives framing Black women and girls as inherently sexually deviant, hypersexual, and inviolable. These problematic narratives have evolved over time, and have been the subject of consistent individual and collective resistance, organizing, and scholarship by Black women. Nevertheless, the perceptions of Black women, girls, trans, gender nonconforming and nonbinary people that normalize and facilitate sexual violence remain deeply entrenched, contributing to ongoing silences and a failure to act in support of Black survivors of sexual assault.
These silences are particularly pronounced when it comes to sexual violence experienced by Black women, girls, trans, gender nonconforming and nonbinary people in the context of policing, criminalization, and punishment.9 In part, the invisibility of sexual violence in these settings stems from the fact that it is experienced by people who are criminalized and otherwise stigmatized – people who are, or are perceived to be, involved in the sex or drug trades, homeless, disabled, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. In other words, women, girls, trans, gender nonconforming and nonbinary people at the margins of society, whose experiences may not lend themselves to campaigns focused on respectability or redemption.
There is also a reluctance to acknowledge that sexual violence is systematically perpetrated by people, institutions, systems, and networks advanced as sources of safety and solutions to sexual violence. Recognizing the pervasive and systemic nature of sexual violence against Black women, girls, trans, gender nonconforming and nonbinary people by police, penal, and immigration officers, in prisons, jails and/or detention facilities, and in social service, learning, and health care settings, calls into question our reliance on these systems and structures of dominance as responses to sexual violence, and as effective mechanisms of prevention, early detection, and healing.
I am impressed by your movement and appreciate this article that has educated me as to how much of a problem this violence is among people of minority groups. What more needs to be done in order to stop the pain and start the healing?
We can raise our sons to honor and respect the girls and women in their lives. We can show our sons and daughters that what we see on TV will not support social justice for all. We can not tolerate any men or women in our lives that disrespect, disregard, and violate our humanity. We can show our children that they matter, just as every other human being on earth matters, is valued, and deserve humane treatment and respect, even love.