LIBERATE

yemikolawole

Gender Violence Edition

Liberate

Gender violence edition


Content in this edition increases the voice and agency of people of

color and their eperiences with sexual assualt and gender violence.

Material may be especially triggering, please take the necessary

measures to take care of yourself. In the back of this edition,

there are

resources should you want to seek help.


Gender Violence

Gender violence includes rape, sexual assault, relationship violence

in heterosexual and same sex partnerships, sexual harassment,

stalking, prostitution and sex trafficking. The term “gender

violence” reflects the idea that violence often serves to maintain

structural gender inequalities, and includes all types of violence

against men, women, children, adolescents, gay, transgender

people and gender non conforming. This type of violence in some

way influences or is influenced by gender relations. To adequately

address this violence, we have to address cultural issues that

encourage violence as part of masculinity.

Sexual Harassment

uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual

nature especially by a person in authority toward a subordinate

(such as an employee or student)

Sexual Assualt

illegal sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person

without consent or is inflicted upon a person who is incapable of

giving consent (as because of age or physical or mental incapacity)

or who places the assailant (such as a doctor) in a position of

trust or authority


liberate

verb lib-er-ate

1 :to set free


Visual - Yemi Kolawole

Visual - Ashleigh Smith

Black Duke, We Need to do Better - Mumbi Kanyogo

Visual - Naomi Lilly

Done. - Anonymous

A’s Story - Anonymous

Poem - anonymous

Standbys - Adriana Parker

Resources

A Word From Krystal George


ME TOO

ME TOO

ME TOO

ME TOO

ME TOO

ME TOO

ME TOO

TIME’S UP

TIME’S UP

TIME’S UP

TIME’S UP

TIME’S UP

TIME’S UP

TIME’S UP

BELIEVE HER

BELIEVE HER

BELIEVE HER

BELIEVE HER

BELIEVE HER

BELIEVE HER

BELIEVE HER

Have A Nice Day


Black Duke, we need to do

better

“There is really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are

only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard”

Arundhati Roy

Mumbi Kanyogo


The #Metoo Reckoning

In a period of about 6 months we have witnessed numerous women come forward

to publicly document their trauma and expose the abusers who have violated them.

What began as Tarana Burke’s call for “mass healing” amongst sexual assault survivors

almost 10 years ago has turned into a global reckoning with the pervasiveness

of gender violence and societal complicity. We have been forced to contend with

how rape culture penetrates both public andprivate life in ways that morph even our

most intimate memories of family and childhood into painful reminders of the power

structures that govern our quotidian existence. The #metoo movement has shown

us that sexual abuse and rape are not faceless crimes with countless numbers of

statistical victims. It has taught us that sexual abuse and rape DO have perpetrators

who exist in the forms of both abusers and those who make their abuse possible.

It names silences as violence - it implicates those who prefer to unsee abuse and

promote a politics of respectability.

Yet, even while the frequency with which these men’s abusive actions are being exposed

appears to be high, these public revelations do not at all account for a statistic

that documents 1 in 5 women as having been sexually violated in their lifetimes

– it does not even dent it. And so we must ask ourselves: who is being deliberately

silenced? Who are we rendering preferably

unheard?


Some Black Lives Matter

On my worst days here, the black community has been a source of joy and rejuvenation

that has kept me sane in a fast-paced, emotionally draining environment.

And on my best days, my black peers have celebrated me and loved me in ways

that I am not even able to account for. At a predominantly white institution where

blackness has been under threat from racist institutional violence and quotidian

microaggressions since our forebears set foot on this campus in 1963, our excellence

and happiness have always been our greatest offences against racist histories

and realities that are constantly working to displace us.

And yet it would be a lie for us to posit that the only threat to black life on this

campus exists as a result of white racism; it would be facetious for us to say

“Black lives matter” in opposition to racism, and not repeat the same for black

women and black queer, trans, poor, and disabled people in opposition to the cisheterosexism,

classism, and abelism that pervades this black community. And yet

we do not say the latter nearly as much as the former.

In the spring of 2016, the Chronicle published a statistical report on sexual violence,

which reported that 42% of black women on campus had been the victims

of some sort of sexual violence. In the aftermath of that release, I expected there

to be a wave of indignant outrage within our community. Faced with the evidence

that so many of our fellow black woman peers had been violated, I was waiting for

our community leaders to mobilize - to be angry. Instead, only a handful of women

made their outrage known in both online and physical spaces, and when I brought

up the statistics with one black man he simply replied, “don’t you know that women

will cry rape when a man so much as hugs them?”


Even though silence around sexual violence has always been pervasive in our

community, the type of indifference and lack of concern that was displayed in the

wake of that report has continued to astound me to this day. In a moment when

we were presented with statistical evidence of black women’s pillaging; in a moment

when we had the opportunity to begin a process of disavowing silence and

creating safe spaces for the most vulnerable in our community, the prevailing instinct

seemed to be to avoid responsibility and instead maintain silence.

That gendered erasure served to remind me that the realities of rape have never

been transformative or revolutionary for the majority of individuals. Afterall, we

live on a campus where stories of rape are heard at spoken word events and then

forgotten swiftly thereafter; on a campus where known abusers are permitted to

earn degrees and thrive socially within our communities. We live and learn on a

campus where sexual assault is a whitewashed idea – the archetypical victims

framed as white, cis, straight, panhellenic women. Therefore, our black woman

pain, laid out bare and raw on stages and blog posts, has never been enough to

convince everyone around us that our bodies matter. That report, and the lack of

action in its wake, served to make it abundantly clear that in the appraisal of reputation

and power versus the safety of black women’s bodies, black women, more

often than not, lose.

Therefore, I want to interrogate why this type of silence and the larger structure of

rape culture continue to exist within our community.


How does this erasure manifest?

Embedded in this community is a dangerous desire to maintain black unity at all

costs. It is almost impossible to critique certain organizations or individuals, and

those who do so are often ostracized, even when one is rightfully criticizing the

highly elitist, cisheteronormative, and sexist behaviors that push many of us further

into the margins. It is uncritical and facetious to believe that we are all marginalized

in the same ways – to ignore the fact that many of us cannot breathe in

this community that is supposed to be our safest space.

As black women, our genders and sexualities are treated as negligible and divisible

from our experiences of blackness. The fact that we are the ones charged with

both healing from trauma and then correcting the same violent behaviors that hurt

and disrupt our lives is indication enough that a singular blackness that is detached

from other manifestations of systemic violence, determines the disposition

of black life on campus – the type of oppression that we are willing to mobilize

against.

This illogical approach to systemic violence results in the privileging of black,

heterosexual men’s wellbeing and this has been prominently exposed in the few

conversations around sexual assault that we have had. At one particular talk that

I hosted, as the discussion progressed, it became clear that the central concern

around sexual violence is how men can best avoid culpability as opposed to a

victim-centered approach that encourages ethical and mutually beneficial sexual

encounters. To put it more bluntly, the dominating concern seems to be “how

much access men can get to black women’s bodies without being held legally accountable

for their actions” when it should be “how best can we listen to women

and ensure that we are making our community safe for them.” At worst, this is a

violent erasure that sees black women’s bodies as collateral damage to men’s unnecessary

technical gymnastics in negotiating the clearly outlined parameters of

ethical sexual behavior.


At this critical moment when it is becoming painfully clear that this community

is not safe for all of us, we need to engage in a process of constructive critique

that ensures that those who are perpetuating violence, indirectly or directly, take

responsibility for their actions or lack thereof. It is not enough to hold event after

event about consent, even when we know that patriarchy is a fortuitous system

that manifests in diverse and normative forms in our daily lives. Breaking down

this system will require self-implication; it will require continued self-reflection

and critique as well as sustained community dialogue focused on creating accountability

and centering the voices of those who have been ravaged by sexual

violence. We need to undermine the oppressive systems that make it possible for

abuse to occur, the abnormal silence that makes it possible for men to pillage

without any fear of consequence. As feminist scholar Pumla Dineo Gqola makes

clear, this will require serious social sanctions that see us calling out violence just

as much as we call it in. We cannot continue to negotiate our safety using gentle

discourse when our loved ones continue to suffer silently. We cannot continue to

engage in a politics of respectability when 42% of the black women in our midst

exist on the margins, ignored and disrespected by a community that should be

fighting for them relentlessly and fearlessly.

Black Duke, we need to do better.


Video & Photography by

Naomi Lilly


Done.

Where do I begin?

Thank you for saving me, time and time again

Thank you for guiding me, for teaching me how to pray

. But I can’t stand to watch you continue this way

You stress and toil daily

For a man who calls you“baby”

Yet constantly treats you like a slave

You slowly enter through the front door,


Knowing what little peace you had left is no more

And the monster emerges from his cave

He begins yelling and screaming, dragging you by your hair

With all of his might, and he doesn’t care

That two young children are broken, watching from the stairs

Your eldest child dials 9-1-1

Crying through the phone, “Please hurry, he has a gun.”

Where do I begin?

Please let this be the end.

Anonymous


A’s Story

A’s story begins in Europe, on a Duke sponsored research project last summer. She was

the only Duke undergraduate student there with their research team, which included

a doctor from Duke Medicine. During a cultural festival, A, the doctor, and a few other

friends went to participate in the festivities—everyone was drunk, and the crowds

were so big that A got separated from the people she went out with. As she were trying

to make her way back to their friends, two local men groped her. She was shaken and

afraid, and when she finally found everyone, she insisted on going home. When they

questioned her, she told them what happened. Her European project partner didn’t believe

her, saying that she was being overly sensitive and that the men hadn’t meant any

harm. However, the doctor from her team believed her and insisted that the group should

accompany her home. She was relieved and grateful for his support, and they went back

home. When the group began to drink more, she thought, “Fuck it,” and got really, really

drunk. She wanted an escape from what had happened earlier. She doesn’t remember

much from the rest of the night, but later on began to remember flashes of the doctor

kissing her on the forehead in a hotel room later that night —but she dismissed those

memories, shaking them off.

A week later, the doctor asked her to hang out. She said yes, remembering his kindness

during the festival and nervous-excited to date an older man. They began seeing each,

and things were shiny, new, bubbly in the way that new relationships are. They kept in

touch other even after returning to Duke, but as the relationship progressed, A noticed

some things about the doctor that made her uncomfortable: he was very pushy, physically.

As their relationship became more physically intimate, she began to feel as though he

was only interested in his own sexual satisfaction, and not in her as a person. They would

have sex, and then he would sleep on the floor, saying he couldn’t sleep next to people.

He began to go into depressive and full of rage, and she would urge him to consider his

mental health. But when she brought up her concerns, he claimed he knew what he was

doing. The age differential led her to accept what he said. One night, she told him she

was having a rough time, and he invited her over to his apartment. He rolled a joint, and

told her they would share it, but kept pushing it onto her, insisting she smoke more. She

got so high she couldn’t move, uncomfortably high. He ignored her discomfort for two

hours and then when she was falling asleep, the doctor took the opportunity to force

himself on her, violating her body in new and painful ways.

Afterwards, A began to distance herself from the doctor. He started gas-lighting her,

telling her that she would fail in her career, that he was sleeping with other people anyways,

that he was horrified by her and attracted to her at the same time. When she finally

told him she wasn’t interested in hanging out with him anymore over dinner, with no

explanation he dragged her to the rooftop of the building they were dining in, telling her

there that she would regret leaving him, that she was the vindictive and defensive one.

Even after she cut off contact, he kept texting her – to insult her, to demean her, and

most often, to ask where she was.


A can’t tell her research team, because it would be her word

against his.

She also can’t share what happened to her with her family.

They would probably blame her.

So such things must remain secret.


I did not gift you my mind.

In a perfect world, you

would acknowledge that

there is no home for you

here—

No pillow on which to lay

your head,

No mat for you at the

head of the table—

You would acknowledge

the absence of welcome

and

You would not overstay

your welcome.

Instead,

You gaze upon these

brittle bones and you belly

laugh.

You plant your flag in the

thin of my resistance.

This is not the way to take

up space, my love.

This is not the way to love,

my love.


Know that I gifted you my

body in a

self-celebratory

practice.

I presented you with my

skins because

I

Am

Woman

And

I

Can

Do

That

But this was never about

you, my love.

Why must you make it

about you, my love?

Why must you keep me

enthralled by

pretty-whispered lies,

By soft-spoken

insinuations that this was

my fault?

That is not the way to

love, my love.

Anonymous


STANDBYS

By Adriana Parker

Warning:

This poem may contain vulgar language and references to sexual assault

But don’t cover your ears

Y’all need to hear this shit


To the room full of bystanders who just stood by:

I hereby declare you garbage cans

Cowardly

And just downright disrespectful

Fuck all y’all

Ain’t no friends of mine

As if I needed your protection

I thought we been through this before

When the real work starts y’all quiet

I shouldn’t NEED your protection

But your snake ass homeboys

And one-off acquaintances should not try to slide their way between my legs

I mean, best not to be so finger lickin’ good right?

Best not to move too sexy and tickle his fancy

Don’t give him. no twerk when your song is on

Best not to have a drink

Or two

Or three

Or however many

I lost count

Best not to go out

Leave the comfort of my house

Celebrate

Just have a damn good time

And y’all wonder why I’m always inside myself

Lucky me I could fight it this time

Lucky me the blood only rushed to his second head

Lucky me I was only an almost not again

I swear #MeToo JUST left my lips so why do the bodies keep rising?

Now my curves feel more like curses

Having a pussy is automatic invitation to fuck right?

Let them prop you on a counter

Feel you up

Shake you down

Don’t dare fight back


Swallow this objectification and may it not burn your throat

May it be the sweetest sin you ever tasted

Now how is that for justification?

Well my ass was shaking I must have wanted it right?

“Yo shit fat ma let me get inside / You making me hard / Let us see what you look like”

Nigga your name ain’t Kanye

I ain’t ask for these flashing lights

Just trying to throw it back after a long week without you behind me

I didn’t want this

Bass too heavy like his hands around my neck

Like his niggas creeping up behind me even though I said no all night

But back to these bystanders

Would you have seen it if I were your sister?

Your Mother?

Your Homie-lover-friend?

Would you have checked it?

Checked him?

Would you have cast them out?

And now here I am again

Letting you know I’m fed the fuck up with smelling the bricks in this house named

patriarchy

Or rape culture

But what’s really in a name?

They all the same right?

I mean, y’all befriend rapists every day

Your girl probably a survivor and never told you

And I’m sick of this silence

Yours, theirs and even mine sometimes

I’m tired of the all talk and no action

No listen

Of the “we support the 1 in 5” but you always on standby with clean hands

Ain’t it funny?

I feel safer in the company of strangers than this prison we call home sometimes

Don’t you know I’ve worn tape around my body labelled trigger warning for years?

Can’t wash off this stink of humiliation no matter how hard I try

Tell me... can you smell it?

Is the reek appealing?

Or is it noseblind ignorance?

Is rape too bitter a pill?

Tell me... if for the first, second, almost third time around what would the bystanders do

had it been...

you?


If you or a loved one has experienced or is currently

experiencing gender violence, the

following resources are available.

Dirham Crisis Response Center

919.403.6562

Orange County Crisis Center

919.968.4647

Durham Coalition Against Gender Violence

919.956.9124

National Sexual Assualt Hotline

800.656.HOPE

Cousenling and Psychological Services Duke

919.660.1000

Cousenling and Psychological Services UNC

919.966.2281

Duke Reach

919.684.1161

Visual By Asheligh Smith

Women’s Cter Duke

919.684.3897

Women’s Center Chapel Hill

919.962.8305


Shifting the Culture By: Krystal George, MPA, CHES

What is sexual assault? What is consent? “Yes means Yes!” “Consent is

Sexy!” These are all questions and phrases that we ask, answer, and shout in

the world of gender violence prevention. On a college campus it is vital to educate

and make students aware of gender violence, with the hopes of preventing

it from occurring. Unfortunately, the national statistic “1 in 5 women and 1 in 16

men are sexually assaulted while in college (Christopher P. Krebs, 2007) ” has

not changed much in the last 20 years. Here at Duke, based on the most recent

Student Experience Survey, “40% of undergraduate women reported they were

sexually assaulted since enrolling” (Duke University, 2017). Also, based on this

survey, “Black/African American and Hispanic female students reported higher

percentages than other race/ethnic groups among undergraduates” (Duke University,

2017). Women of color are often forgotten about in the discussions of gender

violence prevention. Prevention has advanced tremendously; and while students

understand sexual assault and consent and are aware that it happens, we still

have practically the same amount of assaults happening on college campuses

around the world.

There is a need for the voices of women of color on campus to have a place

at the table when discussing the issues of sexual violence, intimate partner violence,

sexual harassment, and stalking. The prevention work that the Women’s

Center does is steeped in intersectionality and Womanism; however nothing

speaks volumes like the voices of the female students of color. Not only do we

need the voices of the female students of color, but we also need for our male

students of color to be a part of this movement as well. Discussions about gender

violence are a great place to start, but we also need action on campus. This

means taking a look at ourselves, and holding ourselves accountable for changing

the culture on campus. Shifting the culture on campus for students of color

comes in many forms. Here are a few to start with:

1. Being an active bystander.

2. Attending a sexual misconduct taskforce meeting, so that students of

color are represented.

3. Creating a taskforce within your organization.

4. Collaborating with the Women’s Center.

5. Calling out inappropriate behavior of peers.

6. Using your voice!

Works Cited

Christopher P. Krebs, C. H. (2007). The Campus Sexual (CSA) Study: Final Report. National Institute of Justice.

Emilie Buchwald, P. R. (1993). Transforming A Rape Culture. Minneapolis, MN, US: Milkweed Editions.

University, D. (2017, February 20). Duke Student Affairs. Retrieved February 18, 2018, from Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response:

https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/sites/default/files/2017-07/Student_Experience_Survey_1.pdf

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