I haven’t been able to write any posts as of recently due to writing papers and studying for tests for college. I have been busy with trying to get adjusted to college life and getting around school. But I have been paying close attention to the events especially events that affect Black women. Some of the events such as Vanessa Williams being apologized at the Miss America Pageant has surprised me. While other events such as Viola Davis winning an Emmy for her role in the TV series, How To Get Away With Murder have made me happy and excited. However, my research lead me to some very disturbing information: Black women are becoming victims of gun violence at the hands of their boyfriends and other intimate partners at an alarming rate.
I decided to write this post because October is domestic violence month. I also believe that African American women particularly the ones in the younger generation need to hear this message. Not only are African American women targeted mentally and psychologically by racist and sexist images and messages from the media and society telling them how unwanted and undesirable they are, they are being murdered in the hands of their intimate partners. African American women are three times more likely than White women to experience domestic violence and more likely die in the hands of their abusers. And they were more 2.5 times more likely to be murdered by someone that they know than a White woman was as well.
Every nineteen hours, an African American woman is murdered by a man that they know. Every twenty one hours, an African American woman is killed by a Black woman. Out of the four hundred and fifty three murders of Black women committed in Black America, four hundred and sixteen of these murders are intra racial. According to research done by Violence Policy Center, ninety percent of African American women were murdered by those that they knew. And fifty nine percent of these women were murdered by a gun by an intimate partner in a course of an argument. And four hundred and fifty three African American women were murdered at the rate of 2.36 per 100,000 compared to 0.95 per 100,000 for White women.
Why did I decide to write this post?
I decided to write this post because I knew women close to me that had experienced domestic violence and were eventually killed. Everyone told me to get out of such a relationship and leave but these women stayed and made excuses for their abusers. Sadly, they were killed by guns in the heat of an argument with their boyfriend or spouse. It pained me to go to their funerals and realize that they were murdered by their abusive boyfriend, spouse etc. It made me wonder how come the woman didn’t just leave? But as I did my research, I realized that it was hard for women in domestically abusive relationships to leave. Often times, their self esteem had been beaten down so much that they feel that they wouldn’t have anywhere to go if they left their abuser. Or often times, these women relied and depended on their abuser for food, shelter and security that just the thought of leaving meant that she wouldn’t have the security and shelter that she needed. Worst of all, these abusive men were often times manipulative and would use tactics to get the woman to stay in the relationship. Again, I am not condoning that women should stay in abusive relationships nor do I have ever found myself in such situations when it came to relationships. I know I should consider myself lucky to not ever have found myself in an abusive relationship however I realize that these women weren’t lucky enough to make it out alive. This post is for them and other women who have experienced domestic violence.
Also a recent experience also led me to write this post. I got off the public transportation bus, known as the HART in my area, and walked to another bus station in the bus terminal. I had just taken that bus from school. I stood on the sidewalk, waiting for bus 18 Livingston to come and take me home. Then all of a sudden, this tall, dark man walked over to me and gave me a glance. I looked away but he walked closer to me and whispered sexual expletives to me. Scared, I backed away and told him no thank you. Then he gave me a look, asked whether or not I was African and walked away. Bus 18 Livingston came afterwards and I went home but I will never forget that incident.
That incident is still stuck in my mind but it made me realize that I must protect myself at all times. Many men out there love to prey on young, ”innocent” college aged women such as myself. I told my mother and close friends about this incident and they told me to stay away from such men. One friend told me to never show fear when these men approach me like that because I can’t let them get the best of me and win. Second of all, she told me that I must avoid areas where I am more likely to be preyed upon by creepy, older men. Last but not least, she suggested that I take self defense classes so that I could learn how to fight off these men if they do attack me. I took her words to heart however I learned a lot from that situation.
How is this related to growing number of Black women who are becoming victims of gun violence?
Well, many Black women around my age and older have also experienced being approached by creepy men. And many of these creepy men are only out to use the woman for sex and then discard her. However, this is related to the rates of gun violence that is happening to Black women because many Black women who rejected advances from strange men have been shot and killed. Mary Spears, a beautiful young woman, was fatally shot and killed last year because she refused to give a strange man her number. And there are many more incidents of women being shot and killed for rejecting creepy men who are only out for one thing. Needless to say, I am lucky that I didn’t get shot and killed by rejecting the man but I knew that my life was in danger that day. Thus I did what I had to do and backed away from him and politely rejected him.
Here is a picture of Mary Spears, the young woman who was murdered in 2014 for rejecting a man’s advances.
What can Black women do to protect themselves?
Black women should avoid areas where creepy men and predators reside. Don’t go out at night or go to places such as the bar, club or any predominately African American populated area by yourself. You are much less likely to meet such men when you are in an environment that is safe. This isn’t necessarily an guarantee because there are creeps and predators everywhere you go but you lower your likelihood of being approached by such men when you avoid these areas.
And if such men do approach you, don’t show fear. In other words, keep your composure and look them in the eyes and tell them that you aren’t interested. Or simply walk away from them. If any of these men start to put their hands on you or threaten you, scream out for help. But I suggest calling the police on these men and turning them in. For battered women in domestically violent relationships, calling the police is a good idea as well. That way, the police could arrest the man and charge him with battering his girlfriend, wife or fiancée.
However, I believe that the best scenario is taking self defense classes. Join classes where you learn how to fight others and shoot guns. That way when these men try to physically attack you, you can fight back or even shoot them in self defense. As for women in domestically abusive relationships, I also suggest that these battered women take self defense classes. Whenever their abusive partner strikes, these women can strike back in self defense and protect themselves and their well being at heart.
How come more Black women don’t call the police and turn these men in?
In the Black American collective, there is a no snitch policy. The no snitch policy is a policy that tells others in Black communities not to ”snitch” on criminal activity done by others in the collective because it would make you seem like a ”sellout” to turn that person into the police. This policy keeps rapists, murderers, predators on the streets and their victims traumatized and defenseless. This is related to Black women refusing to turn in their attackers because many Black women also follow the no snitch policy. They fear being seen as a sellout if they report their abusers to the police. Also, Black women have always held down the ”community”(there isn’t a such thing as a Black Community if you ask me) and don’t want to see another ”Brotha” being arrested and turned in by the police. In other words, fear of what other people would say and the belief of racial loyalty to Black American collective is what keeps many Black women in such abusive relationships.
Most of all, I believe that domestic violence along with street harassment, catcalling and objectifying women’s bodies is somehow connected to domestic violence. And domestic violence leads to many women particularly Black women being gunned down in a heat of an argument. Unfortunately, I don’t see this trend getting any better soon but it is up to us to protect ourselves and our well being in a racist and patriarchal society.
Links to confirm the information: