Saturday, March 21, 2009

Yesterday I Understood

Someone asked me why I was writing a lot about domestic violence lately.

I had to ponder the question and thought, why not writing about this epidemic? It affects more people, women, than we realize, or more than we care to admit.

Just yesterday I read a very disturbing article in the St. Louis Argus. It was about a 18-year-old man who sexually molested and beat to death his girlfriend's 14-month-old daughter. Then he went to sleep. The mother trusted her boyfriend (we'll talk about this mistake later) to watch the child while she went to work. When the mother came home, the boyfriend was sleeping in the living room. The mother asked the whereabouts of the baby and he told her she was "sleeping." The mother then found the most horrific scene any mother could imagine.

No one can know the anguish of this young mother, simply trying to work since our government threw her and many women like her off the welfare rolls. She had her own apartment and because childcare is prohibitive on a service job, trusted her boyfriend to care for the baby. Only someone who has been in her shoes can understand the anger, the guilt, the anguish, the nightmares that accompany someone you know killing your baby.

Domestic violence is about power and control. It thrives on fear. Black women live with this fear daily, real or perceived. Society has fed a steady diet of the less-than-worthy status of these beautiful brown sisters. Say the word "welfare queen" and the automatic thought is of a single mother with a bunch of multi-fathered children living in the projects off the public dole, this is far from the reality of the majority of welfare recipients being poor and rural whites or the likes of AIG. Black women have had to fight for our womanhood every since the first slave master had his way with the first black woman. The media then continues to perpetuate this image of our less-than-worth-mentioning-life. Even Nancy Grace, the great voice of missing and exploited white girls and white women fails to mention the many missing and exploited black girls and black women.

I write about this because it is time. We have a beautiful brown sister in the White House who has made the traditional powers-that-be re-evaluate their perception of black women. This powerful and educated woman will open up the airways for discussion of this epidemic because there are women who hold graduate degrees, work in their chosen profession, and live every day in fear of their husbands.

We saw with the election that there is power when many voices come together and say no more. We are seeing this nationwide with the populist outcry against the greed of Wall Street and the AIG bonuses. I am looking for an outcry against the assault on the lives of women living with domestic violence.

Women in these situations drive a Lexus and catch the bus. They are Ph.Ds, and GEDs. They are married and single. They are all of us and we demand a voice in the justice department, a removal of the stigma, an end to blaming the victim, and real help that doesn't require the woman to become destitute.

Yesterday I understood why I must continue to speak out about this. This cycle must end. Every woman is worth her self-esteen, her beauty, her promise, and her life. This is why I speak.

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