Domestic Violence Awareness Month (1)

Recently, a few black women activists and myself, decided to start a local black feminist group. It’s an opportunity to talk about issues affecting black women in our city, as well as nationally.

This month our discussion was in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

“Evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October, 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect battered women’s advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.” http://www.ncadv.org/takeaction/DomesticViolenceAwarenessMonth.php

We talked about an article I read in the newspaper, where the black male author did a lot of victim blaming. In “For Once, Let’s Have A Real Discussion About Domestic Violence” by Devin Robinson, Robinson wrote a convoluted article stating why it was okay for men to retaliate against women.

“Here’s the thing. Just like blacks spend so much time proving we are not racist that we make it easier for the racist to be racist, women spend a lot of time unconsciously proving they are not equal (with the wrong rhetoric) that it makes it easier for the chauvinists to be chauvinists. But I get it. In this country of “who has less are automatic victims” it also holds true in the world of domestic violence; who loses the battle is the victim, forgetting that we are in the middle of a bigger war of mankind.”

Wait…what?

One of the attendees at our meeting does work around domestic violence (DV) and black women. We talked about the implications of this article and about the accepted (and encouraged violence) against black women in/outside of the black community.  It’s alarming when people try to make the argument that it’s okay for men to hit women if they’ve been “emasculated,” as black women already have high rates of violence used against them.

“Compared to a black male, a black female is far more likely to be killed by her spouse, an
intimate acquaintance, or a family member than by a stranger. Where the relationship could be determined, 94 percent of black females killed by males in single victim/single offender incidents knew their killers (415 out of 443). Nearly 15 times as many black females were murdered by a male they knew (415 victims) than were killed by male strangers (28 victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 2011. Of black victims who knew their offenders, 52 percent (216 out of 415) were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders. Ninety-three percent (459 out of 492) of the homicides of black females were intra-racial.” When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2011 Homicide Data

We also discussed the stereotypes about black women and the limited lens people tend to view us through. This also becomes a justification to be abusive towards us. If black women weren’t “loud,” combative,” “smart-mouthed,” we wouldn’t find ourselves in these situations. Even if a black woman does have those traits, it is most likely due to having to navigate an Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy.  Majority of black women have caught on that they live in a society that doesn’t give a damn about them. They know they only have themselves to rely on.

Domestic violence is a heinous act that needs to be eliminated in the black community. While it’s good that we march for black men murdered by police, we also need to march for black women murdered in their own homes.

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Photo from: http://www.jetmag.com/

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bell hooks

March is Women’s History Month. I’ve been trying to think how I could honor this month. Since this blog focuses on black feminism as a tool to resist oppression, I thought it would be proper to show love to a woman who helped revolutionize black feminism. That woman is the author bell hooks:

“bell hooks, is an American social activist, feminist and author. She was born on September 25, 1952. bell hooks is the nom de plume for Gloria Jean Watkins. bell hooks examines the multiple networks that connect gender, race, and class. She examines systematic oppression with the goal of a liberatory politics. She also writes on the topics of mass media, art, and history. bell hooks is a prolific writer, having composed a plethora of articles for mainstream and scholarly publications.”  http://www.egs.edu/library/bell-hooks/biography/

I first learned about bell hooks in college (which is way too late if ya ask me). I took a course all about bell hooks. We read her books and discussed them in class. The thing I love about bell hooks is that she keeps it real. As a poster responded to an interview with hooks,“she gives it to you straight, no chaser.” This can be off-putting to folks, especially folks who have bought into what bell hooks calls Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy. She is going to hurt your feelings. Rip out your heart, really. But it’s only because she wants you to think deeper about the world around you. Too many folks believe racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, etc., that it’s “just the way it is.” These oppressions have been normalized in our society. However, we must resist this conditioning. Someone shouldn’t be viewed as more valuable just because of the whiteness/lightness of their skin, because they are male, rich, etc. We all deserve to live our lives with respect and dignity.  That is all bell hooks is saying.

So much love to her this month and every month. I also like to give  honor to other pioneer black women feminists: Sojourner Truth,Fannie Lou Hamer, Alice Walker, Michele Wallace, Audre Lorde, and Patricia Hill CollinsOf course, this list  could go on forever!!

Happy Women’s History Month 🙂