I mean this genuinely. For one tiny moment in time, #MuteRKelly had people all over the world talking about what a disgusting disgrace Robert Kelly has always been, and it felt like for a moment that we were being noticed. It felt like we mattered.
And all of a sudden, as is the way of the world these days, everyone moved on and people stopped talking about the Brown girls again and I don’t understand why.
Why do people forget us so easily? Why are they so willing to let us fall into the cracks, where we are raped, beaten, abused, tortured and murdered without a second thought?
It takes extraordinary circumstances for people to care about anything these days, but it’s always been true that no one cares about the Brown and Black girls.
Largely because we ourselves are taught that our lives matter less by every person that surrounds us, social media and everything we grow up consuming.
In the 90s, the music industry’s entire focus was on the beefs and battles of the Hip Hop side of the industry, there were very few women to look up to, so the only one I really had was Queen Latifah.
I remember seeing her in her purple and yellow tracksuit on Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper for the first time and I was struck by the fact that she was both the same color as me, and not tiny. By not tiny I will say that the Queen was a larger woman in the nineties, somewhere between “comfortably fat” and “kinda not that big at all.” Which is why I just can’t say she was fat, because she wasn’t.
She was a bigger boned woman with this persona of “I’m here, what’s up why aren’t you all excited to see me,?” and I felt that so deeply that for the first time I started to believe that Black women could and can do anything.
When I saw Baraq Obama I saw Michelle Obama take the White House and I thought, “I wonder if our African Sisters from the days of Slavery ever saw that coming,” and I could only imagine what it must have been like to be in those slave tunnels wishing life were different for their daughters as they escaped via the underground railroad into Winnipeg.
I can only imagine what it must have been like to live in the days of slavery and dream of the idea of freedom. I will never understand what that was like. But I do know what it’s like to spend your teen years trying to hide from rapists, sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night because you are subconsciously afraid they are going to break into your room again.
I remember what it’s like to be terrified to find out the boy I loved was in jail while his best friend supposedly raped me on the front lawn of my house. I remember being told what it was like to see that and think I wanted it, which is why help never came.
I remember what it is like to feel ignored, unwanted, and to worry what that my existence is an inconvenience for those around me.
I know these things because I was trained to believe that my life matters less to others than it should. I learned this because the people who should have protected me, were too wrapped up in their own lives to notice the signs of abuse that was happening to me.
And while I have forgiven the people who forgot I existed, I won’t forget, I won’t forget to ask why no one asks about the Brown girls.
What is it about us that makes us more susceptible to abuse than our whiter lighter counterparts? Why are we less important than our Asian or Latino sisters?
Don’t tell me it’s poverty, because plenty of white families live in poverty and never have abuse touch their homes.
Plenty of people live in situations where abusers do not exist, and I can’t understand what fucking contest in the heaven’s they won to get that lucky.
Sadly however, the stories of those who have been abused, far outnumber the stories of those who have not. And the majority of the stories of who has been abused, belong largely to the Black and Brown communities and I would like an answer.
My friend Heather right now is asking the city of Kelowna to start a sexual assault and trauma team for the RCMP. I don’t think this is a huge ask. I think that rape is an epidemic on this planet. Sexual abuse is a fucking terrorizing event in anyone’s life, and in order for it to be stopped we need the proper tools and education.
What we need more than anything is for people to care. In general, about the ones who fall through the cracks. Before it’s too late not after.
Sending all my love to my sisters and brothers in the unarmed war on sexual abuse,
Devon J Hall