Aishah Shahidah Simmons was featured on NBC News with a piece covering the recent news that Whitney Houston's survived child sexual abuse.
"It seems that Houston’s childhood sexual trauma and her decision, conscious or not, to not fully disclose what happened and receive support was also a festering wound that she could not heal.
Despite all of the powerful, survivor-affirming awareness around sexual violence that has been growing, child sexual abuse — especially in families — remains a very taboo topic."
You can read the full piece here.
They talked about Aishah's deeply personal and very public #LoveWITHAccountability work, the rigors of healing work, and reflections upon the pending Cosby trial's larger societal implications.
Aishah Shahidah Simmons weighs in on Trump and violence against women in the New York Times:
The offensive video of Donald Trump talking with Billy Bush and other men is the latest reminder that the work being done to end violence against women is never-ending. These vulgar and egregious conversations about women happen regularly throughout this country: What’s unique is that Trump and Bush were caught on tape.
But despite the overwhelmingly negative response, and the immense progress women have made over the past 40 years, the threat of violence against women is still a very serious problem in this country.
While many have jumped to condemn Trump, others have sought to dismiss his comments as mere "locker room talk" or, even more disturbingly, just "what happens when alpha personalities are in the same presence." These excuses illustrate how this violence is perpetuated when powerful men are not held accountable for it.
When high-profile white men assert what they see as their right to do what they want to women, it sanctions all men to do the same. This type of behavior becomes normal, excused as a “boys will be boys” phenomenon. It transcends race and culture because it’s about dominance over women, but more often than not, it is the most marginalized women who suffer the most. Men may not be able to degrade a famous actress to her face, but if they feel free to speak in such vulgar terms about her in private, imagine what they might feel they could say or do to another woman without the same visibility. Or, more broadly, imagine if Trump's defense of "locker room" language is accepted by judges or those who end up on the jury of a sexual assault case.
This "locker room" talk has trickle-down consequences.
Not only do attempts to brush off Trump's comments minimize the everyday experiences of survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault, but it buries our fight under an extremely dangerous excuse — that this is just how the powerful talk.
Wealth, privilege and power are never excuses for any type of violence, against women or otherwise.
Over two years ago Dylan Farrow wrote a powerful open letter about her Academy Award-winning prolific filmmaker father Wood Allen. Many apologists for Nate Parker and Jean Celestin point to the fact that he, Woody Allen, is still making films as a celebrated auteur. Like Nate Parker wasn’t convicted of rape, Woody Allen wasn’t ever convicted for child molestation.
Does that mean that Nate Parker didn’t participate in a gang rape with Jean Celestin in 1999? Does that mean Woody Allen didn’t molest his biological daughter and marry the step daughter he helped to raise?
Yes, clearly racism and white supremacy work in favor of white celebrities who are accused of crimes against women and children. Without question Black celebrities are scrutinized in ways that white celebrities are not.
What is the goal? Is the goal that Black men should be afforded the same “rights” to (allegedly) rape, molest, and murder women and children with impunity. Is that what equality looks like?