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.
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.
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.
What does #LoveWITHAccountability look like?
"If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoy it." ~Zora Neale Hurston
The rhetorical question most especially in instances of unspeakable violence is how does one break the silence about the pain?
So often victim-survivors of child sexual abuse, adult rape, and white supremacist violence are either encouraged/coerced to mute their pain OR not display any residuals of anger or outage when discussing their pain. More often than not, the feelings of the harm doers/perpetrators AND bystanders supersede the actual violence or harm that was caused.
In late February 2010 white queer feminist sibling survivor Jennifer Patterson asked me if I would contribute an essay about my child sexual abuse for her anthology in process Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Sexual Violence Movement (QSV) I didn’t know Jennye very well and she definitely didn’t know the details of my incest herstory. She reached out to me both because of [my film] NO!’s impact on her life, but also because of my publicly identifying as an incest survivor. I was both horrified and terrified at the thought and told her as such. I essentially told her that I would consider the invitation but doubted that I would be able to participate. Less than one month after Jennye’s invitation, the life of the beloved family member who molested me over a period of two years in grave danger.
That was a major turning point in my life. I began taking the small steps, which over time became giant strides and leaps in my own rebirthing process. I took an unflinching look at my incest herstory and its last imprint on my life. Through that process, I put pen to paper or key to screen and for the first time in my life I took an unflinching and yet, deeply compassionate look at what happened to me as a child and the subsequent latter years (three decades) of the man who molested me never being held accountable by my parents in his lifetime for what he did. This is not a mommy/daddy dearest narrative but instead an opportunity to reflect upon what #LoveWITHAccountability looks like in the most compassionately humane ways.
My essay “Removing the Mask: AfroLez®femcentric Silence Breaker” is one of over twenty-five essays and poems written by radically diverse LGBTQIA activists, scholars, healers, cultural workers who center queerness while we/they write about sexual violence. This anthology is a paradigm shifter in a society and dare I say frequently pathologizes queer survivors.
There are no words to express the depth of my personal gratitude that Jennye never ever gave up on her vision because there were many reasons along her six-year journey to just throw in the towel.
The anthology is hot off the press and available for purchase TODAY. For more information about the anthology and the upcoming readings (May 10, 2016 in NYC at Bluestockings is the launch), please visit the website.
SPREAD THE WORD and GET YOUR COPY TODAY!!!!!
Friend-Survivor Tonda S. Clarke’s COURAGEOUS March 14, 2015 Facebook post informed my reflection.
Incest/Child Sexual Abuse survivors must come to grips with the fact that those who were charged with protecting us believe that they have the right to say and/or do anything when we were children AND even when we are ’good AND grown’ adults without being privately challenged, held accountable, or exposed. When Incest/Child Sexual Abuse privately or publicly break our silences, we are often accused with allowing negative forces to harm ourselves and others, not being mentally stable, not caring about and/or loving those who “love us the most.” It’s quite ironic that in the name of familial love and loyalty, we are overtly or covertly encouraged to remain silent. Yet, familial love and loyalty didn’t keep us safe.
Friend-Survivor-Confidante Amita Swadhin either coined or taught me the term #bloodsupremacy. Prior to learning it from Amita, I hadn’t heard the term. I agree with her wholeheartedly that blood supremacy is one of, if not the most powerful forms of global oppression. So much emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, mental, psychic, and/or spiritual violence happens all of the time and all over the world in families in the name of blood.