I knew he had them hot and rugged finger tips-
from the time he playfully brushed them through my hair.
but this time they felt different
When he touched me down there…”

She was sitting with me at a bar, the place was empty, probably about 6 people in there including us and the bartender. My friend was a beautiful Black woman, her hair natural, pulled back into a bun in the back of her head. Her face almost always owned a scowl, she was usually angry. But today she looked like she was 10 years old. Her features mirrored innocence, not the kind of that you see from kids running around laughing on playgrounds, but more like a child who looked down to hide the fact that she had been hurt by someone she had loved. I nudged her and asked her was she okay, she finally looked up and glanced straight ahead, refusing to look into the eyes of her best friend. “Yeah, I’m okay. But can I ask you a question?” “Sure”, I said. “Okay, I know this is probably a weird time to bring something like this up, but I need to talk about it. Have you ever been molested or anything before?” The question halted me in place. Was this simply inquisition, or was it a confession? Seeing the hurt on her face that it could definitely be the latter, I placed my hand against her back and answered “No..have you?” That was all it took for the tears to come streaming down her face. Here she was, 26 years old and strong as a rock but crying like her breaking point came the minute she had been violated. The realization was hard for me to swallow. I didn’t want to press her for too many details, as I wanted her comfort of vulnerability to come naturally and it did. She told me that her uncle had taken her places that no child should ever have to go. At the age of 8, she found herself sitting in his vehicle, her eyes covered with a brown bandanna, and her mouth placed upon areas of a male body that should be forbidden for children. The details were enough to make me- a woman who is usually more logical than emotional, to shed a tear. I thought about how many Black women face the same issue, the same daunting memory.

The world is filled with epidemics. Some directly affect us, while others may not hit close to home but can allow you to stare a victim right into their eyes. I came across a study last week focusing on the number of Black women who were sexually violated or assaulted before the age of 18. The number was sickening, with it reaching well over 60%. The ages range from young to old, with memories that are both fresh and distant. The problem can be blamed on a number of things, from a lack of both parents influencing protection on the children, from what society teaches our children about the act of sex and what is acceptable and not acceptable. My dear friend, she is one of many women who have faced this terrible situation, and I want to do what I can in order to bring awareness to this abuse.

  • Sexual abuse is actually reported more in low income areas where a high number of blacks live. This is because low income areas tend to be more in contact (for a variety of reasons) with public agencies like the U.S. Department of Welfare and the Department of Health  and Human Services, etc, where they are more closely observed.
  • Those who tend to report abuse are teachers and doctors because they are more likely to expect abuse in lower income families.
  • Most African-Americans report abuse by their uncles as opposed to their fathers.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men report they were sexually abused as children. Of that statistic, 3.3 million African-American women have been sexually abused and 1.9 million African-American men have been sexually abused.
  • Family members and acquaintances account for 93% of predators.
  • 66% of pregnant teens report a history of abuse.
  • 66% of all prostitutes were abused as children by a father or father figure.
  • Incestuous abuse of blacks was more than three times more likely to be “very severe” (involving oral, anal or vaginal intercourse) compared with that of Whites…and involve force or physical violence and verbal threats.
  • Men who have been abused are more commonly seen in the criminal justice system than in clinical mental health settings.

Some men even feel societal pressure to be proud of early sexual activity (no matter how unwanted it may have been at the time).

It is hard to determine who to trust these days, as most of these predators are our own neighbors, family members, or friends. But..we can keep our children in the best environment possible, and teach them to come to you WHENEVER they have any inclination of discomfort while dealing with someone. Most of the women (and some men) who are molested/raped are silenced simply by the fact that they feel uncomfortable sharing what has happened to them.

Lets reverse these statistics, and soften our women. We are beautiful creators of life and we should be honored, not violated.

Sometimes, we forget to think universally. To humanize others enough to feel compassion and empathize with what a stranger is going through. My goal is to get every human to embrace every other human being with blossoming acceptance.

Humanitarian Quest 2012

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