This Notion of "Choice"

TW: Rape

The notion that you ‘choose’ to ‘let’ Rape happen to you, is such a twisted aggravating, infuriating and incredibly demeaning one. Completely void of the impact on those on the receiving end of this violence and the re-traumatisation they endure because of it. I don’t often speak much on this subject because there are already incredible writings, dialogues and research on Rape culture, hetero-patriarchy, toxic masculinity as well as all its intersections with race done by some powerful (mostly) non-men folk already out there. Especially partaining to women, n non men. So I won’t even address that. Y’all can look. This is specifically to the “brothers” in my own community.

When Terry Crews came out and spoke about his own assault last year, the response from so called ‘brothers’, in particular black men, was nothing short of revolting. I’d be lying if I say it was surprising because it wasn’t. But the degree of malice in which they’ve aimed at him for breaking his silence, and speaking his truth was next level, almost as if he’d broken some strange non-existent code of silence that we’d all gathered together in our little hub of toxicity and agreed should never be broken. It raised so many questions, most which I’ve often interrogated but never publicly in this way. Questions like: How exactly are we holding ourselves (our “brothers”) accountable to the violence we inflict on others, but especially ourselves (I.e misogynoir). what spaces are there for recognising what these forms of violences are if we can’t even recognise them in ourselves? N do we even care enough to recognise the value, let alone want these places to exist in the first place? How are we checking in with each other and calling out toxic behaviours that are key indicators to this and other forms of violence? then after all of that, what are we doing to make safe spaces in which we hone, nurture, develop and nourish young black boys to know that none of this is okay and stop them from becoming the perpetrators of the violence we keep inflicting because “we turned out alright”?! 
No... no we did not turn out okay. The fact that we can’t, don’t an wont talk about this ish often is an indicator. N that as a response in itself is a problem. How we deal with Rape, it’s culture and understand the landscape in which we sit upon is imperative. If our “men” can’t recognise that sex at 5,8,10 or whatever under age you think you began to have it at wasn’t sex but rather sexual assault, and that your baby sister, family members/whoever it was that abused you wasn’t being friendly, or kind or teaching anything they were being your rapist and grooming you because that’s exactly what it was. N normalising these kinds of notions as a way to further discard and diminish our room for empathy until we have nothing left in us but the horrors in which we were raised as our blueprints for being!! N that those notions make us continue to okay rape culture and further perpetuate that violence.

Y’all I’m vexed, I won’t even front, an I’m not just writing this to be writing it, so please. Brothers. Hit me up. DM. whatever you feel comfortable speaking to me in it don’t matter, I deadass want to talk about this ish! Cos I actually can’t. N I’m confused. The psychology around how we’re framing this dialogue (if at all) is so damn scary. How did we get to this point where we’re so damaged that we’ve become nothing but factories for trauma reproduction. 
When someone says you shoulda done this.. or that.. when you were getting... instead of questioning why they feel it’s okay to get raped in that first place is a trip to me. This one hurt. Not as an individual case partaining an individual that I felt was more worthwhile than any other case, but more because it was a reminder that if this is how far gone we are then damn. I don’t even know!! #IsThisBrotherHood

Wani Le Frére