Saturday, October 31, 2009

DAMN! Can We Respect Our Women Please

When the news broke that Rihana and Chris Brown had an incident this past winter, it shined a white hot light on the issue of domestic violence which continues to be a pervasive problem across the nation. Later sports fans learned about Denver Broncos' wide receiver Brandon Marshall's stormy past with girlfriend Rasheedah Watley. Just last week, Cleveland Cavaliers guard, Delonte West, already facing charges for being stopped with an arsenal of weapons, added a domestic violence charge to his resume as his wife filed a report against him that they fought after he tried to take her wedding ring. One would think that the mounting instances of domestic violence in the public eye would cause discussion that might lead to greater awareness on how to curb these issues, but clearly this is not the case as I read about the HORRIFIC GANG RAPE involving an estimated 20 students at Homecoming dance in Richmond, CA.

Full story on The Root

My reaction is simple, this is disgusting...If it doesn't do something to you emotionally to hear that a 15 year-old girl was raped for over 2 HOURS by at least 4 men, and there were witnesses, then you have no soul. It says to me that clearly the way masculinity is portrayed in pop culture has gone over the top, and that women, particularly those of color, have been objectified to the point where they are regarded as little more than targets of sexual conquest.

The Richmond Gang Rape indicates that WE as a culture have done a poor job of engaging youth in critical conversations about sexuality and how to explore it responsibly. Wrap It Up PSAs during TRL and 106& Park aren't going to make a dent when 8 out of the Top 10 videos of the day feature either a woman being showcased for her parts or an artist celebrating his ability to be a attract any woman he wants. The same is true for our print media. On top of that some of our school systems implicitly give the okay to risky sexual behavior by preventing students from being taught about abstinence. I'm not calling for the banishment of visual forms of expression in any medium, as troubling as they can be. Music videos were a major form of entertainment for me as a teen (as was after hours HBO), but I got checked on what I was watching constantly and sat through many a lecture from John C. Carroll about the responsibility of becoming sexually active before I was ready. These critical conversations are what I'm calling for now and I hope that every young person who gets arrested in connection with this heartless act is forced to sit in and listen to women trying to piece their lives back together after being violated in this way. I can't even begin to imagine the psychological scars, but I can easily see how if it were my daughter, they would have to put me in lockup for at least a week to keep me from committing a more serious crime. The quote below from the parents of the young girl, read in a statement by their pastor, succinctly details what everyone should make time to do in their community. Mass media will not change as long as their are dollars to be made from objectifying the human form. So that leaves it to consumers to make sure that they are responsible and make sure that their young loved ones are just as responsible as they engage with media. The coldness of character needed to perform this act, or standby and witness it is not born overnight. We must all think about how we can help prevent another young girl's life from forever being altered.

"Volunteer at a school. Go help a neighbor. Be courageous in speaking the truth and in holding people accountable. Work toward changing the atmosphere in our schools and in this community so that this kind of thing never happens again. Please do not let this happen again."

1 comment:

  1. Well said professor. I was shocked when I heard about the story. I can't imagine something like that happening, let alone to a family member or a close friend. Not sure how to prevent these types of attacks from happening again, but something has to be done.