Tag Archives: domestic violence

Bruises: A Litany

by Guest Contributor Fiqah, originally published at Possum Stew

*Trigger Warning*

I don’t know how to tell you this. There’s so much I can’t say.

I didn’t want to write this ever. I wanted to forget today even happened at all. I wanted to continue on with my shit today and ignore the incident guiding my fingertips in a furious, staccato blur across my keyboard right now. I wanted, for just one day (please God please God please please ANY listening God) to Live My Life. Without bullshitting myself with this little daily meditation for guarding the hope that lives in my heart.

But some days, dear reader, I’m weak. And I. Just. Can’t. I’m not Atlas. I’m just Fiqah. My shoulders are really about to give out.

I don’t know how to tell you this. There’s so much I can’t say.

Maybe I should just tell you what happened.

This afternoon, I decided to do a few loads of laundry. After throwing a few lighter necessities into my laundry bag, I headed to my elevator bank, stopping for a moment to be grateful that I live in a building with three elevators. (This is something anybody who has ever lived in a New York City walk-up does after they move into a building with an elevator, by the way, especially when doing errands.) I pressed the call button and waited for the middle elevator to descend from the floors above. When the doors opened, I was pleasantly startled to see one of my neighbors standing there.

“Oh! Hello, how are you?” I chirped, a smile of greeting on my face.

My neighbor, a stunning older Latina woman with pale golden skin, high cheekbones and a riot of sandy curls, nodded curtly to me. I was taken aback: typically, my neighbor greets me with her own dazzling smile in return, warmly, with sustained eye contact. She’s usually TOO nice with her hello, in the overly-solicitous manner that lighter-skinned women of color greet darker-skinned ones, in that way that says, “Please don’t hate me on sight. I’m not a stuck-up bitch. I’m not looking down on you. I’m your sister, too.” (I think this is part of why I like her; having been on the giving and receiving end of this dynamic at different points in my life, I understand. It’s hard to explain to anyone who isn’t a Black woman.) Slightly put-out, I settled slightly behind her into the opposite corner of the elevator, wondering what had crawled up HER butt and died.

That’s when I saw it. Continue reading

Rihanna, Sasha and Malia

by Guest Contributor M.Dot, originally published at Model Minority

A couple of weeks ago, 50 Cent conceded that Rihanna getting beat by Chris Brown wasn’t real to him. James Montgomery of MTV News writes,

“After I saw the photograph, that wasn’t funny anymore,” 50 said. “I didn’t have any information on it. You’re just going on what the public actually had. It shifts the whole thing. Even if you’re saying you’re in a dysfunctional relationship, I understand that. There’s a point when you’re already past a woman fighting you back. You look at [the picture], and it’s obviously past that point. There’s some issues there that definitely gotta be addressed. Not to take any shots at Chris or Rihanna or take sides in any way, [but] it’s really not cool. It’s not funny anymore, so there will definitely be no more reference to that from me in any way.”

Why is a picture needed in order to convey the seriousness of the topic?

In many ways, I think that it wasn’t real for many people.

According to The Domestic Violence Institute, Black women comprise 8% of the U.S. population but in 2005 accounted for 22% of the intimate partner homicide victims and 42% of all female victims of intimate partner homicide.

African Americans account for a disproportionate number of intimate partner homicides. In 2005, African Americans accounted for almost 1/3 of the intimate partner homicides in this country.

According to a survey conducted by Tufts University,

- Approximately 40% of Black women report coercive contact of a sexual nature by age 18.
- The number one killer of African-American women ages 15 to 34 is homicide at the hands of a current or former intimate partner
- In a study of African-American sexual assault survivors, only 17% reported the assault to police

Continue reading

Beyond Gossip, Good and Evil

by Guest Contributor Elizabeth Mendez Berry, originally published at Ill Doctrine and MendezBerry.com

The Bloods have a strict policy against domestic violence. That’s what a 16-year-old male affiliate proudly told me last year before a weekly “gang awareness” meeting of about fifteen teens, most of them Crips, Bloods or Latin Kings, at a high school in Castle Hill, the Bronx. That week, the topic was domestic violence, and several members of the group, including the 16-year-old, said that hitting a woman was never acceptable. Others argued that there were situations where it just couldn’t be helped.

The conversation turned to an article I had written about domestic violence in the hip hop industry for Vibe. The rapper Big Pun grew up near the high school, and his devastating abuse of his wife (which started when the couple was just 16) was described in the piece. “I heard she cheated on him,” said the only young woman in the group, and others repeated some of the many rumors that swirled around Pun’s wife when she told her story (up until then she had been Soundview’s favorite widow). Several people enthusiastically launched into scenarios where it was OK to hit a woman. There were many. The bottom line: sometimes you’ve got to teach a woman a lesson if she gets out of line. It sounded like a man’s responsibility.

In the midst of the rationalizing, one usually talkative young man stood up and walked out. When he returned twenty minutes later, he quietly told the group that his aunt had recently been murdered by her abusive boyfriend. Continue reading