(Unedited) I’ve been slow to post this, though I jotted down some thoughts on Thursday, after seeing this Complex article. I was hesitant mostly because I’m over giving Nate Parker attention. But yeah, the article started my wheels to churning and now the Ebony article sparked even more thoughts.
C O N S E N T is at the heart of all of this, and in working with youth I have come to realize over and over again that teaching children (ALL CHILDREN, not just females/girls) about consent should commence at birth. Consent is far greater than sex, it’s about emotional intelligence, healthy relationships, positive decision-making, effective communication, one having the right to change their mind and having control/agency of oneself/body. Moreover, in exploring consent, it should include an understanding that silence does not automatically mean yes (or no).
So, my further thoughts on the Nate Parker situation . . .
- We do not have to defend white girl privilege or negate a history of false accusations to also be empathetic and fight against patriarchy and disrupt and dismantle the rape culture in which we live.
- For those of us who attended predominately white colleges or universities we do not have to suddenly be silenced about what we saw and experienced with how both white female and male students navigated alcohol and sex when they were inebriated. For many of us, this looked distinctly different from how we did our thing as Black students. Which, we cannot have that convo regarding Black students without talmbout the ever present white gaze at PWIs.
- The people who invested in Birth of a Nation, fronted the money was down with distribution etc. knew about Parker’s college history. So AFI cancelling it and acting new is called “game.”
- Parker saying how horrible of a period that was in his life supports patriarchy and confirmed that he still didn’t have a clue.
- However, his follow-up interview in Ebony implies either he’s truly starting to “get it,” gaining insight…or he Olive Pope’d the situation and hired a better PR Team. I am prayerful that he is truly getting an understanding of male toxicity, privilege, power and control.
- At this point what would be a restorative way of handling this with Nate Parker? As it seems that the accountability piece is coming together.
- Yes, there is a history of “white girls falsely crying rape,” but there is also a history of ALL womyn being raped—the stat is 1 in 3. Therefore, race never trumps my gender, they intersect.
I am reminded of a heated exchange I had with an adult who was mad at me for addressing the physiological response to rape with girls. Whenever I engage youth in comprehensive sex education, I always begin with CONSENT & DECISION MAKING. And then I cover SEX POSITIVITY, PLEASURE, POSITIVE BODY IMAGE, VULVA/VAGINAL HEALTH and I address RAPE. I cover STIs and safety as well.
Back to the adult, she thought I shouldn’t address rape because it’s taboo and can be triggering. 1.) I have the tools, training and expertise to address this, and 2.) if the stat is 1 in 3, then why the fudge are we avoiding talmbout it? Moreover, often survivors are ashamed of the physiological reaction they had when violated. It is my responsibility as a therapist and overall person who cares to: 1.) Assure them that Rape is not their fault and 2.) Normalize the bodies natural response. (I don’t know what’s up with me number things in this post…lol lol lol)
I am also reminded of some years back when I was working with a group of high school students. The very week that I was covering comprehensive sex education several non-consensual things happened that some adult teaching artists thought were micro, but were macro as it relates to consent. It was macro as it relates to rape culture, misogyny, patriarchy and overall power and control with Black boys/men towards Black gyrls/womyn.
One situation was…
A very tall and solid 17 y/o male student went up to an adult female teaching teacher much shorter and smaller than him, and went in for a hug, without asking her permission. The student ignored the “boundaries cues” of the teaching articst and pressed forward until she aggressively had to push him away. While pushing him away, the student said: “You are rejecting my affection.” The student was dumbfounded and felt rejected. The teaching artist stopped in that instance and had a convo with the student. The convo went something like this…
Teaching Artist: No, I did not reject you but you did not ask my permission to touch me.
Student responded: But I was showing you love.
Teaching Artist: I have a right to have control over my body and to tell you that I do not want to be touched or hugged. Every girl and womon has that right. You cannot force something because that is what you want.
Student: So you don’t want my love.
Teaching Artist: I expect for you to respect my personal boundaries.
Student: Oh well you’ve hugged me before.
Teaching Artist: That was before. And I’ve also heard you say disrespectful and sexual thing to other teachers and that’s not right.
Student: Oh, I just be playing around.
Teaching Artist: You shouldn’t just play around like that because it can cross boundaries.
What do you think about this exchange?