This past week I did a presentation on how society makes black girls grow up too fast. It was based on an essay written by Tressie McMillan Cottom, and it talked about how a black women can never truly feel like victims of rape. The essay continued to talk about how the victims can be put to shame by complete strangers, and even by their own family members.
After reading the essay and doing a lot more research for my presentation, I found that a lot of the things discussed were so relatable to how I was brought up myself. Black women are raised to not let things bother them and to be strong. At a young age, I remember my own parents telling me to be strong and not let things bother me. Now when you think about it, it doesn’t sound like such a bad thing to say to a child because they do need to know how to be strong in certain situations. But after reading essays and stories, I began questioning this age old teaching.
When I did research, I found that black women would blame themselves for things men would do or say to them. The notion that “they should’ve known better” is instilled in them. But what exactly should’ve been known better? That the person raping them has the right too? That what’s happening to them is their fault? It’s not okay for black women to feel that way.
I think that black women should be aware that they have a safe place to speak about troubling things like rape and assault. There is no need for them to feel scared that people won’t believe them, or fear having their own family be disappointed. It’s not okay for black women, or any women, to feel this way.
Society needs to stop putting black women on a standard at such a young age. No young girl should have to worry that they’re going to be advanced by a young man and that it’s their responsibility to know better.