By Beverly Gadson-Birch
It was interesting to watch the Golden Globe awards and women in solidarity calling “time out” against men who used their positions of power to sexually harass, molest or engage in unsolicited sexual acts against women and children. However, not enough attention was focused on the same harassment, molestation and atrocities committed against black women and children. If you really want to get down to the nitty gritty, black women and children were victimized and beaten into submission for years without due process or any action taken against the abuser. In fact, you know many of the abused and abusers. The abused were black descendants—women and children and the abusers were lawyers, judges, business owners and slave masters. The abuse did not stop during slavery but remained long afterwards.
Powerful white men have always used their influence over women for sexual favors. Black men weren’t bringing home enough bacon to feed their families, so white men took advantage of their inadequacies. Without jobs and financial stability, black mothers were forced into performing sexual favors for white men to feed their families. And, even when black women and children were molested, they held onto their dark secrets and took them to their graves. Who would believe them? After all, the powerless always concede to the powerful.
While I am not naïve enough to believe that only white men abused black women and children, I wish to call attention to hundreds of undocumented but sexual acts lawfully perpetrated against black women and children during and after slavery. Is their situation any different than the “Me Too” accusers? If my memory serves me right, there haven’t been any type of public acknowledgements, apologies or financial pay-outs to the descendants of the abused.
Abuse is abuse no matter who is doing it. One high profile case of a black man abusing his powers against a black woman was that of Anita Hill vs Clarence Thomas. It became a “you say, I say” case and Clarence Thomas went on to become a Supreme Court Justice. It has always been a male dominated world. So, who is going to believe a woman over a man when men head up most major companies, judgeships, etc.? Now that male dominance is changing in the workplace, women are fighting back.
Does “Me Too” apply to massa’s female slaves? If it does, there is not enough ink to print the endless list of victims or enough dollars in circulation to repay the descendants of the abused. I have been following the “Me Too” movement and most of the women coming forward are white professional women. Where are the black women? Where are the black children who are now adults and have lived with their secret for so long? Where are they? Where are the black mothers that have lived with the shame of having children fathered by white men who forced themselves upon them? Where are they? Are they afraid to speak out for fear of retribution? While I understand the hidden secrets women have had to live with for years, there comes a time of reckoning.
I was watching a video on YouTube where children were forced to have sex at an early age in order to procreate. The more servants massa had the more powerful and wealthier he was. Children as early as 13 were mated to increase massa’s numbers and to work the fields.
Black women, this article is for you. You don’t have to be a professional to tell your story. It is time to join the “Me Too” movement. If you can’t do anything else but stand in the gap for those women and children who died never receiving justice, stand for them and say “WE TOO”!!!