It ain’t no fun/if the homies can’t have none. – Snoop Dogg
You know, there are a lot of people weighing in on this Amber Cole thing. But most of the conversation is about her, as is par for the course in our culture. The boys involved are still anonymous in the eyes of the world. For me, I always wonder why there aren’t open letters to these kids? There are tons to Amber Cole – people saying they could be her father, people saying STFU with all that victim-blaming and feminist-scapegoating madness – but no one seems interested in writing letters to the boys involved.
But hey, maybe it’s just me. I guess when one of your friends – along with a person who sexually assaulted you – ends up in jail for gang rape, you start thinking about things a bit differently.
After I wrote the Not Rape Epidemic, right after I submitted the essay, but before it was actually published, I ran into an old friend at my local library. I hadn’t seen this friend in a decade – indeed, I didn’t remember her name until I left the library. Yet somehow, we both happened to be in the same library, at the same time, on the same day, after not seeing each other for ten years. We say hey, make small talk.
And then she asks me: “Did you know T got out?”
We both were silent for a second. We hadn’t talked since before the incident. She didn’t know that I had been to that trial. She didn’t know I had seen the girl. And I had forgotten she was far closer to him than I was. When T and the other kids were sentenced, we calculated they would get out when we were in our 30s or 40s. We didn’t realize how the system works, and how a lot of people end up released early. T had been incarcerated from age 14 to about age 24.
“His sister called me,” my friend continued. “She asked me if I wanted to come to his his welcome home party.” She looked at me, stared hard so I could feel the weight of her pain.
“How am I supposed to look at him after he did something like that?” Continue reading