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!!!!!
It’s excruciatingly painful to read comments AND tweets that contextualize, explain and/or condone intra-racial (so-called) personal violence. Some of the language in defense of rapists/batterers/molesters mirrors the same EXACT language that I hear/read in defense of the police, white supremacists and/or the military.
We, People of Color, MUST HAVE the SAME RAZOR sharp, ACUTE awareness about Hetero, Queer, Cis, Gender Non- Conforming, and Trans* domestic violence, rape, child sexual abuse and other forms of family/intimate partner violence that we have about police murder, white supremacist violence, militarism, colonialism and imperialism… If we don’t, NONE OF US will be SAFE or FREE.