For decades upon decades LGBTQIA anti-sexual violence activists have worked TIRELESSLY to stop the vicious homophobic and transphobic conflation of sexual violence with sexual orientation and gender identity.
Rather than focus on ending sexual violence routinely committed against children and adults, especially those who are the most marginalized, attention is focused on why someone is LGBTQIA.
This is one of many reasons why Kevin Spacey's coming out of the celluloid closet responses to being accused of causing harm 30 years ago to a 14-year old boy are despicable and unprincipled. What the HELL does his (FINALLY) living as an out gay man have to do with his attempted sexual misconduct with a minor twelve years his junior? These are separate issues.
I do not want to hear about sexual exploration and I write as a unapologetic Black lesbian/queer woman child sexual abuse and adult rape survivor who also explored her sexuality as a teenager. I want to hear about adult accountability. PERIOD.
LGBTQIA children and teenagers are some of the most vulnerable to being sexually violated by adults.
If you are looking for resources to help you get a grasp of sexual violence outside of the heterosexual cisgender man/boy harming the cisgender woman/girl, here are three of several: sibling survivor/comrade/friend Amita Swadhin's Mirror Memoirs project has collected over 40 (to date) oral her/hxstories/histories from queer and trans child sexual abuse survivors of color. What they are uncovering through this groundbreaking work is mind blowing. Sibling survivor/comrade/friend Ignacio G Rivera's The HEAL Project aims to prevent and end child sexual abuse by making visible the hidden tools used to guilt, shame, coerce and inflict violence onto children. Sibling survivor/comrade/friend Jennifer Patterson's edited award-winning anthology Queering Sexual Violence features multi-racial, multi-gender LGBTQIA survivors and activists whose writings are at the intersection of survivor status, race, sexuality, gender identity, mental health and disability.
Let's work to end ALL forms of sexual violence committed against ALL humans.
One of my teacher's Toni Cade Bambara used to always say, "It's the community you want to name you."
Full body bow of gratitude in honor of my very dear The Feminist Wire managing and associate editor sibling/comrade/friends for lifting up my name and labor in concert with others whose work both precedes me and also stands with my own in the anti-rape movementS. #NORape
What an honor for me to present about #LoveWITHAccountability, share and learn at WomanPreach!, Inc. and Children of Combahee's For the Sake of Our Children: Confronting Sexual Violence in Church Spaces gathering. It was a sacred, safe, and welcoming space for this Black queer Sufi Muslim raised, Vipassana Meditation practicing child sexual abuse and adult rape survivor woman to wade in very deep conversation with my Christian sisters and brothers. We listened, shared, and explored how to best address those horrific sexual violations of the body/mind/spirt that, if spoken at all, are often spoken in hush tones and on the margins. Full body deep bows to Rev. Dr. Valerie Bridgeman, Ahmad Greene-Hayes, Sister Rev. Jené Colvin, and the entire organizing team for their unwavering commitment to break the unspeakable silences.
Too often child sexual abuse survivors, adult rape survivors and survivors of other of forms sexual violence are expected to forgive the harm doers (including the bystanders) without too much, if any accountability for the harm caused.
Seeking accountable forgiveness is important. However, no harm doer should expect it just because they sought it.
It is the survivor who has the right to decide if and when they will accept the request.
Demanding or expecting forgiveness is another form of violence. Once again, the survivor is being asked to perform an action they may not be willing or even able to perform.
Forgiveness comes from within. It may happen in the absence of the harm doer(s) seeking it. It may not happen when the harm doer(s) seek it.
Forgiveness is an important journey and simultaneously, it is a complex process.
I call upon the wisdom of Toni Cade Bambara, who was one of teachers about speed and movement.
I'm grateful to live long enough to experience and witness parental accountability both last year and this week. This work plays a seismic role in my continued healing around child sexual abuse that first began in 1979. There are layers upon layers upon layers upon layers of this excruciatingly painful and radical self care work. It is consistently ongoing, often at a snail's pace. And yet, there's movement.
LOVE shout out to my beloved partner Sheila who, without my asking, took a 2 ½ hour drive to hand deliver flowers, supported my getting out of the literal and metaphorical bed of depression to attend my 30th High School Reunion, and lovingly bared witness to part of my slow climb back up from the child sexual abuse legacy downward spiral.
I would not be able to do my public NO! The Rape Documentary and #LoveWITHAccountability anti-sexual violence work if I weren't doing my private anti-sexual violence work. All of this work is possible because of 25-years of therapy with a Black feminist licensed clinical psychologist, 15-year practice of vipassana meditation, AND the cultivated/chosen village.
Love IS A Verb.
I have been intimately dancing with food addiction and a self loathing body image since I was first molested in 1979 when I was ten years old. I am looking forward to digging in and digging deep with Roxanne Gay’s memoir.