Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Women convene open talk on sexual abuse

    Sexual violence, black women and college campuses
     One in four black women will be sexually abused by the age of 18. 
     This statistic, from Black Women’s Blueprint was one of many topics of discussion at a program facilitated by Mills College student and ethnic studies major Nikita Mitchell for Sexual Abuse Awareness Month. At the April 9 event, which took place at Mills College, about 15 women gathered in a circle to openly discuss sexual abuse and black women. 
     Black women of all ages formed a circle and were prompted to jot down words that describe how black women are perceived in society, on the back of paper plates. Words like angry, expendable, hypersexual, ignorant, loud, wild, ugly cover one side of the plate. 
     On the other side, women were asked to write how they viewed themselves. They put words like strong, resilient, happy, queen, intelligent, revolutionary. These women view themselves through very different lenses than they believe society does. 
     After this, the group talks about any correlation between the way society views black women and the sexual abuse towards them.
    30 percent of black women with documented histories of childhood sexual abuse were sexually abused in adulthood. 
    So within this context the floor was opened to a discussion of the sexual abuse of black girls. These women begin to take a look at statistics of sexual abuse and cycles of this abuse from generation to generation and the silence that perpetuates it.
     When one talks about sexual violence within families, communities, schools and other institutions one constant is usually silence. One woman in the group, who also works with sexual abuse survivors, adds that she believes that girls are taught at a young age that they can prevent sexual abuse by covering up their bodies, not being sexual, not being alone with boys or men, so often times when a young girl or woman is sexually abused, there is a sense of shame and guilt as if she is to blame and not her abuser. So then silence is not just an option, but quite often the only one.

    sexual abuse

    For every black woman that reports a rape, 15 do not. 
    In a broader sense the discussion lead to sexual abuse on college campuses. 
    One in five women will be sexually abused while in college.
    Every 21 hours there is a rape on an American college campus.
    The circle began forming questions around the large number of rapes and sexual abuse of women of all colors, on college campuses and why the number is so large. Is it because there are no strict policies surrounding the sexual abuse of women? Is this because it is expensive for colleges and universities to pursue allegations of sexual abuse? Is it because colleges and universities just don’t want people to know that in fact sexual abuse happens on campus? 
    Before disbursing, this group of women decided this would not be the end of this conversation of sexual abuse but the beginning and hopefully other campuses would take responsibility for their own dialogue.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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