Stand with Her: Black Men as Anti-Rape Activists

As black men in America, we are hurting, but black women are hurting, too, and often because of us.

As we fight through various movements concerning “Black Lives”, we should only focus on the fatal incidence that happen e.g. police brutality on blacks, but also on the emotional torture our women experience due to rape and sexual violence.

Six months ago, a group of 10 black men sat together in the living room of Black Women’s Blueprint in Brooklyn, N.Y., to discuss these things openly and honestly, without holding back. They spoke of ways to stand and support black female survivors of sexual and intimate-partner violence and also pledged to be conscientious of our socialization into a society that prizes misogyny and sexism. They also laid down strategic ways to move from theory to praxis and from talk to action.

Black men led and sustained an anti-rape movement at the height of white supremacist Klan terror. Despite the widespread anti-black violence that ensued following the legal eradication of slavery as it had formerly been practiced, black men unapologetically mobilized against racialized rape and sexualized racism alongside black women.

Instead of sitting down and joking about the severity of accused rapists, Bill Cosby, and alleged molestation by R. Kelly, black men should mobilize against rape within black communities.

Even though cultural history bear witness to the ways that white supremacists depicted black sexuality as deviant and perverse, in cacophonous contradiction, white women and men lusted after what Vincent Woodard has called “the delectable Negro.” Pathological engagements with black people’s bodies rendered black men and women sexual beasts.

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