Rick Ross is definitely not the first and he will not be the last to engage in speech, behavior, and productions that keep all of us steeped in rape culture and he will not be the last until we begin to hold all levels of the hip hop industry accountable for undermining our survival.
The news that yet another hip hop artist had rendered himself a pawn and participant in the systems that ensure not only Black women’s debasement, but his own oppression was upsetting, but not surprising. Rick Ross is yet another artist whose ignorance has been exploited by the hip hop industry; an industry primarily white male dominated; an industry that practices exploitative economic politics. Moreover, these politics are informed by a racist paradigm which for centuries has kept its foot on the necks of Black women, while confining men to a destructive code of masculinity that undermines their humanity.
When Rick Ross, a rapper says, “put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.” He is speaking to a generation already oversaturated with all the damaging propaganda that rape culture has to offer.
The lack of control by Black communities over the media productions and images of Black people, and images of Black women in particular has placed us all in danger. In recent years, we have been-in the midst of several disturbing cultural and even constitutional debates and controversy around the words and messages in hip-hop and rap music.
The messages in some strands of hip hop that sex is synonymous with violence, manipulation or coercion, that Emmett Till—a Jim Crow era victim of racially motivated murder and mutilation is fair game undermines our survival as a people. We are still grappling with the trauma of racism. These recent incidents with Rick Ross’ date rape lyrics, Lil Wayne’s reference to Emmett Till reaffirm the assertion by Black feminists like Beverly Guy Sheftall & Johnnetta B. Cole in their 2006 publication of Gender Talk: The Fight for Gender Equality in African American Communities, that the ideas propagated in some strands of hip hop that “young black women’s bodies can be purchased cheaply on the open market and as mere commodities, giving up sex in exchange for liquor, jewelry or less is a grim, modern-day reminder of slavery. In some ways Black women are still on the auction block”.
Rape culture thrives in our everyday environments and in the various media of entertainment our communities consume. Sexual violence, sexism, sexual dishonesty, homophobia, transphobia and the portrayals of Black women as either subservient or emasculating in television sitcoms and films disguised to empower Black women all hammer away at the sense of self of many young black women and girls. The use of intentional language, glorification of violence, and profound objectification and disrespect of women all are deeply connected to patriarchal values that are pervasive in our American society and radical intervention is needed.
Join Black Women’s Blueprint in a coordinated initiative with people in our communities, partner organizations and community groups so that Black communities can regain cultural power over media productions and images of Black women, to hold current power-players accountable for spreading intentional messages that then become internalized about rape and access to the bodies of women, that impact on the self image of young girls, and perpetuate myths about the meaning of masculinity for young boys. Energy and time is the resource we need to stay fired up.
Contact Black Women’s Blueprint at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Holistic Healing Practices:
Many people are able to resolve even serious trauma disorders like PTSD in a short time. Take this as a sign of hope. You can’t change what happened, but you can change its imprint on you. You can heal. This will not happen automatically, but it can happen if you give yourself over to the process of healing. You may need to try many different tools and therapies before finding the combination that works best for you, and this combination will likely change at different times. The following are some tools that others have used which are considered alternative from the usually recommended ways of engaging in the healing process:
- Biofeedback (teaching people how to relax by guiding them through mediation, relaxation etc. and monitoring their physical response)
- Creative Arts Therapy (Dance, Visual Arts etc.)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR, help getting rid of negative trauma-related feelings and behaviors through eye movements and other rhythmic simulations)
- Hypnotherapy (deep relaxation leading to intense concentration)
- Reiki (type of bodywork based on the principal of internal energy)
Remember to celebrate your progress, however small. Each step of healing is a victory. It’s never too late to heal and never too late to have some happiness.
Healing is not easy; on the contrary it can be a painful process that takes years. But no matter what kind of violation you’ve suffered, feeling better is possible. And getting professional help can be an essential part of recovery.
In The Aftermath of Sexual Assault/Rape:
Being strong and brave is getting help, not suffering in silence. Go To Our Resource Page to Learn The Psychological Effects of Sexual Assault.
- f you have friends that you can talk to, if you have a minister that you can talk to, if you have family that you can talk to, and it works for you, consider therapy as an additional resource.
- Not everyone is aware of some other benefits of a non-judgmental, stable therapy experience.
- In counseling with a trained professional, your conversations won’t be tainted by personal considerations. It is a space for you to focus solely on you, and not have to worry about the other persons’ problems being included in the mix.
- Counseling isn’t necessarily limited to conversations. Some therapists incorporate tools such as dream analysis, visualization, or journaling, as well as various non-Western traditional healing methods.
- Group therapy or a support group can also be particularly helpful for some survivors. Group therapy is not advisable for someone who is extremely sensible, however. It could be overwhelming for them to listen to other people’s stories of abuse.
- If you can’t maintain a high level of comfort with a practitioner, don’t feel bad about finding someone else. Remember, the therapist works for you.
We will continue to post each week about what alternative exists for those who are not ready for therapy. We will follow with the role of family in supporting the survivor in her/his healing.
The hidden wounds of war on women's bodies--like sexual assault, including rape and sexual abuse, do not heal when left unattended; instead, they may fester for years in depression, homelessness, addiction, and a half-lived existence finished by suicide, which doesn’t end the suffering for those who knew and loved the one who died. Unattended, moral and emotional, as well as psychic injury may linger and show up for generations. Understanding the multiple injuries are a necessary first step in a much longer societal healing process. We should begin that process today.
In I Will Survive: The African-American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault and Abuse, By Lori S. Robinson and Julia A. Boyd (Feb 25, 2003), Lori Robinson has created a valuable resource for African-American survivors of sexual assault (as well as their families, friends, and communities), incorporating personal stories, civil rights history, and a call for community activism. An award-winning journalist and a rape survivor herself, Robinson walks readers through the ways survivors can experience emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual healing, offering her firsthand knowledge on the particular difficulties African-Americans face on their journey toward recovery. She also explores why black women are more likely to experience sexual crimes—an insightful discussion framed in the context of the American slave system and modern institutionalized racism. This groundbreaking guide for African Americans contains an abundance of culturally specific and compassionate advice and information that includes accessible instruction on navigating police, health care, and legal systems, as well as an extensive resources section. The book’s sympathetic, informative, and ultimately hopeful advice will resonate with African-American survivors and all those who wish to support them.
FROM THE BOOK I WILL SURVIVE, WE WOULD LIKE
TO OFFER THE FOLLOWING 4 PARTS OF HEALING
PART 1 of 4 What You Can Do on Your Own
- Stay where you feel safe, with family of friends for a while if it is possible
- Make your home safer by installing security device
- Move if necessary
- If you feel safer carrying a weapon, GET TRAINED to use it; otherwise it may be easy for an attacker to use it against you
- Take self-defense classes
- If you live and/or are dependent in any way of your abuser or afraid of their reaction if you leave, call a domestic violence hotline or a women’s shelter
- Drink lots of water and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Physical health is as important as physical safety
- Regularly exercise in any way you like (workout, dance classes etc.), it helps releasing stress and tensions
- Take some time off work or school if necessary, but don’t stay home just because other people think it is what you should do
- Take notes about your daily life to get back at them and see when your life stabilizes
- Write about your goals (weekly, monthly etc.)
- Take care of a pet or a plant to help keeping you engaged in life
- If you were assaulted at home, rearrange the furniture to change the atmosphere
- Rent light-hearted movies, listen to soothing music, make yourself hot bubble baths etc.
- Choose nonjudgmental, trustworthy people to talk to and be clear with them about your level of comfort about physical touch
- Do not spend too much energy trying to convince people who blame you for what happened, you can instruct them to get educated by a rape crisis center but it is not YOUR responsibility to educate them
- Let people help you. This is a foreign concept for many Black women. If there is a time in your life when you should rely on others and not feel guilty about it, it is now
- If and when you feel ready, talk to your loved ones about their feelings regarding your trauma
- If talking is too hard, try writing letters, drawing, painting etc.
- Positive self-talk is the key to your recovery process
- Choose or create an object to reassure you in case of panic or flashbacks
- Learn relaxations techniques
- Journal your thoughts and feelings. It will give you a way to externalize negative emotions and to see the progress you’ve made
- Write your negative emotions and thoughts and burn them
- Go out. Take a trip, go to pick nick, go to the movies, to museums etc.
- Laugh. Get tapes of your favorite comedians or watch comedies on television
- Incorporate your tradition of faith into your recovery
WHAT ARE SOME WAYS YOU HAVE
USED TO CARE FOR YOUSELF AND FOCUS ON YOUR HEALING AND WELL
In The Next Three
Weeks, We Will Share the Following:
Family and Friends
Other Holistic Healing Practices