Before I begin I know that this blog entry, its content, and the views express, may be met with some controversy.Everyone may not agree with this blogs content, but the black community in its entirty is affected. My goal here is to expose the issue in an effort to create a diolog on the issue. We can no longer ignore the very issues that are the most damaging . LETS TALK ABOUT IT!
We, as black people, for some reason believe that if we don't talk about what goes on in a lot of our homes, then it doesn't exist. If we don't admit these things happen, happened, or are still happening, then we don't have to admit that we do these things or these things are being done to us.
- Children are expendable. Their needs come last. They are told,“This is grown folks business.” “Children should be seen and not heard.”
- There’s no time or place for problems. If children aren’t the priority, they quickly learn, neither are their worries and fears. Many black families get caught up in the daily grind of working to keep a roof over their families head and food on the table. So much so, that it’s easy to become disconnected from expressing problems or feelings. Whether implied or verbalized, the parent conveys that “I have so much going on myself that I just can’t handle any more problems.”
- Ain’t nobody’s business! For years, other people controlled and pried in our lives: Slave masters, welfare workers, social workers, prosecutors, judges, police, parole officers, doctors and employers. Experience has taught blacks not to trust the police or the courts to deliver justice. Thus, we avoid them at all cost.
- Let’s not talk about sex. Some survivors are told that they were being prepared for relationships with men. Some think: “my mom didn’t talk about it so neither do we.”
- Don’t ask, don’t tell. Our home is off-limits. With social service agencies prying into our homes, police, etc., many of us consider our homes off-limits. What goes on in the home, stays in the home. Challenging a parent’s authority over their children.
- Our bodies our not our own. “Go ahead & give your uncle Junebug a kiss,” is an example of the expectations placed on a child. The child is expected not to go against the parent’s authority or risk getting a beating for “disrespecting” an adult he/she may not be comfortable with. Child gets the message that an adult’s needs are more important than a child’s needs.
- Blacks are more likely to house extended family in the home, like cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc., thus, in some cases, exposing the child to a potential predator.
- African-Americans are afraid of airing what is considered by some as “dirty laundry” in public. This makes it easier to blame the victim or not believe the victim at all, in an attempt to protect the reputation of the race or suspected perpetrator. (examples: Mike Tyson and Clarence Thomas cases).
- Some believe that black males cannot be sexually abused or that women cannot be perpetrators, thus making it hard for black males to come forward about being sexually abused. Some black male victims of sexual abuse are afraid of being called gay if they reveal they were sexually abused by a man.
Well I think we need to expose the black community's 'dirty little secrets'! Admit that we are not immune to these 'horrible' situations or issues.
It seems to be the inside joke (that is not quite so funny) that most black family's have that one 'uncle' that 'just wasn't quite right'. That 'uncle' you never should be alone with or never allowed your kids to be alone with because he had a few 'issues'.
The truth is most reports of abuse by a black victim report the abuser to be their uncle as opposed to their father
In fact there are a number of alarming statistics:
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men report they were sexually abused as children.Of that statistic, 3.3 million African-American women have been sexually abused and 1.9 million African-American men have been sexually abused.
- Family members and acquaintances account for 93% of predators.
- 66% of pregnant teens report a history of abuse.
- 66% of all prostitutes were abused as children by a father or father figure.
- Incestuous abuse of blacks was more than three times more likely to be “very severe” (involving oral, anal or vaginal intercourse) compared with that of Whites…and involve force or physical violence and verbal threats.
- Men who have been abused are more commonly seen in the criminal justice system than in clinical mental health settings.
Now, as disturbing as this may sound, some people's belief behind this behavior is even more disturbing. Studies have shown that iinternal and external oppression prevents African American women from addressing the multiple issues of violence as manifested through rape, incest, and domestic violence.
It has also been stated that child abuse in blacks is viewed as reactive in nature-reactive to societal abuse...Additionally, some might say, the history of victimization and sexual abuse dating back to their initial arrival in this country as slaves.
Domestic abuse is a growing problem in the black community. According to a 2002 report by the National Center for Children in Poverty, Domestic Violence and Welfare show that between 3.3 million and 10 million children witness domestic violence annually.
In 2002 African Voices Against Violence at Tufts University reported that the number 1 killer of African American women ages 15 to 34 is homicide at the hands of a current or former intimate partner.
Domestic abuse has long lasting effects among not only black women but all women and children alike.
Black women who are battered have more physical ailments, mental health issues, are less likely to practice safe sex, and are more likely to abuse substances during pregnancy than black women without a history of abuse.
Battered women are at greater risk for attempting suicide particularly if they were physically abused
as a child, for being depressed and to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Black women experience intimate partner violence at rates 35% higher than their White counterparts and 2.5 times the rate of men and other races
Alcohol problems (drinking, binge drinking, dependency) are more frequently related to intimate partner violence for African Americans than for whites or Hispanics
We also need to address the existence of mental illness in the black community.
Whether it is the lack of community resources, our ever present 'struggle' as black people just to survive, or the 'stigma' among blacks surrounding mental instability, we have a tendency react to our environment by 'coping' and 'getting through' our struggle by any means necessary.
However, mental illness represents one of the greatest and under-treated issues facing black people in America. Unfortunately, any hint of mental instability within the African American community carries with it shame and disgrace.
Again, some might say the past has had a damning effect on our future: African-Americans, on the issue of mental illness, has its origins deep in the annals of slave history in America for example, one scientific report went so far as to deliberately falsify the Black insanity rates from the 1840 U.S. census to show that the further North blacks lived, the higher their rates of lunacy. In short, strong evidence that freedom drove blacks crazy.
Whether you believe that we are historically 'pre-disposed' to these types of behaviors (I personally do NOT) we need to acknowledge that things are going on behind closed doors. This is something that we can no longer 'ignore'. We can no longer 'overlook' the abuse of children. We can no longer keep hiding behind our need to not 'air our dirty laundry'.
An alarming amount of black children express that they don't 'feel safe' in their own own. A staggering number of black woman report violence of some degree taking place in the home on a regular basis.
We need to help the abused, and stop excusing the abusers. Otherwise, it will only get worse. Suffering in silence is NO WAY TO LIVE!
and female incest survivors. http://www.lafn.org/medical /isa/home.html
***For a comprehensive list of available resources and support, go to:http://www.dmoz.org/Society/Support Groups/Sexual_Abuse/Survivors/