Quotable: Gabrielle Union on Rihanna’s ‘Man Down’ video

Saw “Man Down” by Rihanna. Every victim/survivor of rape is unique, including how they THINK they’d like justice to be handed out. During my rape I tried to shoot my rapist, but I missed. Over the years I realized that killing my rapist would’ve added insult to injury. The DESIRE to kill someone who abused/raped you is understandable, but unless it’s self defense in the moment to save your life, [it] just ADDS to your troubles #mandown. I repeat, SELF DEFENSE to save yourself/protect yourself, I’m ALL for. Otherwise victim/survivor taking justice into your own hands with violence equals more trouble for you!! The “Man Down” video did a GREAT job of getting the entire world talking about rape. I hope that leads to healing and prevents rape.
– Via The Root

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  • http://twitter.com/SeditiousX Seditious

    I think, actually, that Art is the EXACT PLACE for people to express their righteous anger at a rapist (and against any oppression.)  It’s a music video.  It’s not a sermon, not a political platform, not a public workshop on What To Do After You Get Raped. 

    Frankly, I think the SILENCING of women’s anger at abusers is part of THE CULTURE THAT TELLS MALES IT’S OKAY TO ABUSE us!  Why do we spend more time being worried about a woman POSSIBLY simply CONSIDERING  becoming violent towards her abuser than worrying about the  ABUSERS?

  • Pingback: In the Future, We Kill Our Attackers: Rihanna’s “Man Down” as Afrofuturistic Text | Nuñez Daughter()

  • Krystalo144

    Rihanna made an excellent point in her response to the criticism about her video…which is that we know how difficult it is to discuss the topic with our parents….1 in 4 girls are victims of violence in a relationship.

    If parents groups are up in arms over what Rihanna showed in her video, what are their children going to do if God-forbid they become victims of violence in their dating relationships????

    If a girl is raped/beaten and her parents are self-righteous, then where the hell is she gonna go to talk about it and seek out comfort and help??? 

    And I co-sign that when you get sexually assaulted, you wish that person dead. Rihanna’s video is art showing how that feels. 

    A friend of mine brought up an excellent point, that in the video she should have been dressed in regular clothes to drive home the point that rape has nothing to do with what you are wearing but about power and control.

    • Anonymous

      Wait, what exactly are these “regular clothes” your friend wants Rihanna to be dressed in? For the season, where she’s living, and the activities she is doing, what Rihanna wears in the video are “regular clothes.”  I’m sorry, but your friend’s comment falls a little too close to “she was asking for it because of what she was wearing.” No bueno. At. Fucking. All. Regardless of what she–or anyone else for that matter–rape is *still* about power and control through sexual means.  

      Gawd, I had mixed feelings about SlutWalk. Your friend’s comment just crystallized my support of it.  Tell your friend I said thank you for that!

      • alex

        Whoa, that’s an unfair accusation. 

        My friend is a sexual assault survivor who was making point that putting a woman in regular clothes in the video creates a powerful  message (on behalf of many survivors) that men who do this to women do not care what the woman is wearing –they assert power and control

        Putting casual clothes aka regular clothes on Rihanna’s character in the video creates a powerful visual image of that. We are used to Rihanna dressed sexily that the message of rape being about power and control can be easily missed.

        The parent group backlash has been more about women using violence in response to rape than about how horrible rape is.

        And as a sex assault survivor myself, I know that no one deserves to be raped–clothes are a non-factor in that. . Let’s respect each other as women by discussing the issue without attacking each other.

        • Anonymous

          Forgive me for saying this, but I stand by what I said and how I said it.  Now, I’v survived a rape myself. So, we’re all talking as women who’ve gone through this experience.  With that said, let’s get one thing abundantly clear: I’m not attacking *you* or your friend–I’m going after your comments.  If you’re stating that you understand that “no one deserves to be raped–clothes are a non-factor in that,” then your own comment refutes your friend saying that Rihanna in “casual clothing” would have made a more powerful statement precisely because whatever she’s wearing wouldn’t have stopped the rapist from violating her.  Again, your friend is implicitly stating that what Rihanna wearing is a factor when, as you stated, it’s not. Rihanna’s character wasn’t raped because her clothes enticed the rapist, it was because he thought he had the right to violate her for refusing him.  And, I’m sorry, but it’s that “clothes as piviotal factor” thinking that’s the reason why women around the world are doing SlutWalks….and has motivated me to support it. 

    • siendopeligroso

      True. This, I would consider art. Most other things with unnecessary violence used only to titillate, not so much.

  • http://DeadAmericanDream.blogspot.com AngryBroomstick

    too true. and kudos to Gabrielle Union for speaking out about her rape experience and her desire to kill the rapist. Can’t have been easy, but Im glad she opened up and was honest about it.

  • Logoskaieros

    It’s really frustrating hearing people talk about how her video is inappropriate because it glorifies vigilante justice.  All I keep thinking is, of ALL the violence in videos to condemn, you’re focusing on this??

    Considering that some courts of law accept that punishment for a man murdering his girlfriend (not even wife!) for cheating should be *slightly* more lenient since the betrayal he experienced was ‘so grave’ (sorry too lazy to provide links today)……people harping on this as inappropriate violence makes my blood boil. 

    People feel the need to comment on THIS video because (1) a person who’s Black is being violent (run for the hills!!!) and (2) a woman is violently reacting to the violation of her body (instead of you know, just taking it.) 

    Somewhere inside me, I believe that non-violence is the more productive, healthier, morally superior action.  But for some reason, I just don’t think it would be a travesty if more women who are abused or raped responded violently to their attackers (unless of course this is more likely to ended up getting them hurt/killed themselves, which sadly I hear is the case for women who fight back during a rape attempt.)