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Monday
Sep122011

A Post Every Black College Student Should Read (Despite the Title): Survivor of Philly's Greek Week Speaks Out

We rarely hear the girl's versions of these events. We've seen and heard about young Black women attending large Black festivals and being set upon by violent mobs who strip them of their clothes.  The original title over at Clutch is called "You Can't Take Black Folks Nowhere."

 

As we were walking through the crowd, a band of guys stopped to warn us: “They’re ripping girls’ clothes off down there.” Thinking we dodged the danger, we thanked them for the heads up and pivoted to head back to the car. Then, the impending drama: I turned to make a comment to my friend and she wasn’t standing there. She was about five feet behind me on the ground, screaming, clawing, punching at six or seven dudes who were circled around her, pawing at her like animals. Janelle Harris

Unfortnately the title does the actual post a great disservice because it instantly causes the knee jerk reaction to defend Black men by marginalizing a REAL phonomenon that is occurring out there that no one wants to speak about. 

I suspect that the reason we rarely hear accounts of these events from the young women is because they are ashamed and embarassed. I'm certain more than a few of you will tsk that they shouldn't have been there in the first place, as if women are somehow responsible for men acting in barbaric ways in public. 

We all grow up being taught that there is safety in numbers, but that's not true. There is safety in shared values. There is safety in men and women coming to an agreement that we're not going to do this to each other. When you create a culture where public gatherings become places where young "emasculated" men are permitted to prove themselves in public rituals of sexually assaulting young Black women without fear of rebuke or recrimination, then you might want to talk about that PUBLICLY!

I don't want the message to be that young Black women should not go to large public gatherings. I've been to large Black gatherings, large White gatherings, large hispanic gatherings. When i studied abroad in Spain, I went to the Festival of San Fermin aka the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona and we were surrounded by drunk dancing Spaniards all night long. Slept outside in the park-no problems. The message should be that there should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior and if it means law enforcement on every corner so be it. 

However, instead of asking how we prevent this or how we should react when this happens, the discussion moves immediately to trying to cover up what happens by arguing that "other people do this too, not just Black people!" Okay, fine. You're right. Let's talk about how to stop the Black people who are doing this!

Final thought.

When these trolls descend on posts like this to try to make it seem as if what happened to this writer is no big deal. Or when they try to brush off her concerns by whining that Black men aren't the people that can engage in this type or behavior. Or start to quote Wikipedia about rape statistics from Sweden ( go read the comments at Clutch) , I want young Black women to know that YOU'RE NOT IMAGINING THINGS! It isn't all in your head. You're not making this stuff up. Its happening! If it wasn't, the obfuscators, apologists, and coddlers wouldn't be working so hard to cover this up.

Repeat after me: You have the right to walk the streets of America UNMOLESTED if you are molested, the molesters SHOULD GO TO PRISON... for a very long time.

Reader Comments (27)

I read that post Gina. I try not to comment on Clutch if I can help it. Like too many online sites for black folk it has become regrettably phallo-centric. Thank you for bringing it as usual.

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoslyn Holcomb

Notice I didn't comment over there either. I have a follow up to this post about the comments over there.

September 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

Respectfully, I have to dissent from how this issue is being framed for this conversation. Talking about "how to stop the Black people who are doing this" is an extended crusade, not anything practical that will help the potential prey who are being targeted (i.e., Black women and girls) avoid being preyed upon.

This phrasing of the issue also obscures what's actually been going on for the last 2-3 decades:

(1) It's not "Black people" who are increasingly sexually assaulting Black women in public places. It's African-American males who are doing these public sexual assaults in increasing numbers. I haven't heard of such behaviors going on at public gatherings in the US that are primarily filled with Black folks from other ethnic groups (Panamanians, Haitians, Africans, etc.). Let's be clear about exactly who is doing what.

(2) As far as I can tell, these public sexual assaults by increasing numbers of African-American males started about 25-30 years ago. I saw what appeared to be the beginnings of this African-American male group behavior pattern when I started college in the early 80s. That's when those criminal, gangbanger-type behaviors started seeping into what had previously been the African-American "mainstream."

I'm going to name some names:

On my campus in the 80s, the African-American males in the local Omega Psi Phi chapter were the first ones to begin engaging in that public groping/sexual assault of random Black women at African-American parties. At that point, the other AA fraternity members were not engaging in that sort of behavior, and the gentlemen I knew among the Alphas and Sigmas loudly condemned that sort of behavior. Unfortunately, those attitudes started to shift---in the wrong direction---toward silence in the face of barbarism---over time. I have some thoughts about how all of this came to be, but that's not relevant for this conversation.

I'm not talking about "rights" here. "Rights" are a beautiful thing. But I believe enhancing one's safety from sexual assault should be the first priority in this conversation. I'm talking about practical, public safety for Black women. On a practical, Black women's public safety level, the message should be clear: STAY AWAY from public gatherings with large numbers of African-American males!

The crusaders among us can fight for Black women's right to attend public gatherings with large numbers of AA males. In the meantime, while waiting for these rights to be secured, each woman needs to ask herself, "What's in it for me? What's of greater immediate value to me---my theoretical 'rights' to be fought for or my immediate safety?"

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKhadija Nassif

I "liked" Clutch magazine on facebook thinking it was some progressive magazine for young women of color. I am always shocked by the stories that appear in my news feeds. If they are not constantly contradicting themselves, they are writing articles that are so obsessed with seeking male approval...it's frightening. Also, their worship of all things celebrity is bizarre.

I mean I know young folks like to stay attuned to the latest fashions/music/shows, but they are a little ridiculous with it. (i.e. using someone like Beyonce as a guide to their lives. there was recently a story about how Beyonce has lived her life "the right way." Dated for a long time, then got married, now having a baby within marriage. Of course they completely glossed over 1) she was 19 yrs old to Jay Z's 31 when they first started dating something that would only happen in the land of la la In real life, parents that aren't pimping out their kids would run off a man that old sniffing around their young daughter. 2) Jay Z was a damned drug dealer! And pretty much still operates with a drug dealer mentality. 3) she is a rich woman with yes people and of course will look to be on the surface an "ideal" life, but who knows what goes on behind closed doors).

I just thought it was so crazy to write a whole article wagging their fingers at working single mothers about how "good" they could have had it if they just did it like Beyonce! lol!

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTJ

Do people still go to these events, they have been over-run with non college students and ghetto people for years now. Any time black college men and women have an event where they can party and hook up together and have an event off campus, the local hoodrat crowd wants in. And many colleges are in the hood part of town so the hoodrats are always close by

Us regular folks just need to stay away NOT from Black events b/c things like this don't even happen at most black events. I am talking about events where the main idea is to walk around and look for attractive people of the opposite sex.Those events never end well. Basically let those be confined to your campus.

This kind of thing even happened at the Puerto Rican day parade a few years ago. But the guys who did were mainly black. They actually went to another ethnic groups parade to grope girls who were dressed up to celebrate their culture.

I actually blame Luther Campbell and 2 Live crew for that kind of walk and gawk freak type culture. I never heard of black folks doing such things before that. Walking down Myrtle Beach or Miami half naked looking like they just stepped out of a strip club. After him, some black events started being called Freaknik, freak this and freak that. Women and men acting a total fool. And Luther Campbell aka Uncle Lukehad the nerve to lash out at the Miami Beach crowd for their hoodrat shenaningans when he is probably part of the reason hoodrats from all over flock down there now.

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterblkchik

I read the post yesterday. I always look at the comments to see where the mindset is and of course it was as you said, a bunch of people trying to find a way to defend Black men in the indefensible. I did not make a comment because there really was no point in doing so. The mindset that was expressed over there in the comments section is exactly why I know where my teenage daughter is at all times and why I raise my daughter to never travel alone and to always be on guard.

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBlack Butterfly

Gina, I don't know if you were posting a "just sayin'" but that person was right on the money when she said that today there is nobody out there checking each other's behavior. That is true, years ago when a child did something wrong, someone corrected you, today everybody's too buys and too into themselves to care, and this includes a child's own parents. I also think single parent families are an issue. It's not that a woman can't raise children by herself, it's that it's a lot HARDER. And if everybody in the neighborhood is a single mother, then where does a child learn what a relationship is? How does a boy learn how to treat a girl? How does a girl learn how to act around a boy?

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEva

Regarding the avoidance strategy - I just don't believe Evil works that way. I don't think that Evil sits in a corner and observes boundaries and will leave me alone because I avoid it. If it did, I would be right there with you saying avoid avoid avoid. I am unwilling to cede the public streets to marauding hordes of rapists ANYWHERE. I don't care if a black community takes a vote and puts out a sign saying "Rapists Welcome!" I will still believe that a minimum level of human rights be observed everywhere by force if necessary.

I agree and am working on targeting my energy towards to most effective strategies for me, but if you think for one minute that these barbarians that did this to those girls are going to limit their lawlessness to Black gatherings, recent history tells us otherwise.

Just look at Chicago and this flash mob phenomenon.Or at the Wisconsin State Fair where the FOOLS- IDIOTS started targeting random White people for their barbarism. Evil isn't staying within its zip code.

So while I will never ask any Black woman to sacrifice her life to prove my point, there are always going to have to be a tiny few who draw a line in the sand and fight-where appropriate.

My purpose for this post was A) to raise awareness so young Black women will not be caught off guard and B) to reaffirm the fact that even when that right isn't recognized, they do in fact have a God given right to walk where they dayum well please without being stripped naked and sexually assaulted.

I'm not becoming a recluse subject to the whims of these ignorant predators. One solution is to withdraw, the other is to fight-strategically neither option is right or wrong, it depends on your disposition.

But to the victor goes the spoils implies that somebody fought over something. To me, middle class Black people with decent values went into a catatonic state in the 80s. I'll wave the White flag of surrender when some wages a real battle with these predators.

September 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

I agree with what eveyone is saying about Clutch and other Black websites. I don't know why so many black women insist on apologizing for disgusting behavior of some black men. At first notice this when I was young and then I found it to be amazing. Like someone else said, this started in my generation with Luke and the 2 Live Crew and other rappers who glorified treating black women and girls like sex objects. The rape statistics involving young black men is alarming and unsettling. Still, no one really wants to talk about it. Black girls are always asking for it and should've known better, while white girls were innocent victim even in date rapes.

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentershell

"You have the right to walk the streets of America UNMOLESTED if you are molested, the molesters SHOULD GO TO PRISON... for a very long time."

No, they should not go to prison. Sexual predators are rarely, if ever, rehabilitated. So spending our tax dollars to house, clothe and feed them just to let them back out only to re-offend is useless. Even if they remain behind bars for life, they are still costing us money.

All sexual predators, serial killers, and other violent criminals should be bansihed to a remote island in the middle of the ocean. Just drop them from a plane with a parachute and a few basic supplies. Then let them live amongst each other and fend for themselves for the remainder of their days.

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMommieDearest

WOW. I cannot believe it BUT I know in my heart of hearts it's truly happening. Savage behavior as the norm. Someone mentioned the lack of functioning man-woman relationships in Black homes. I'll buy a pinch of that. However I believe this is a witches' brew with many ingredients. You live at home with momma. She's unmarried but dates...so you see men in the household but they come and go and you basically accept that they will not be around for long. Momma loves you and nobody else is worthy of you...she teaches you to beware of the 'fast' girls, hoes, chickenheads, hoodrats and other assorted negative archetypes of Black female existence. In the street among your peers it's bros before hoes. Females are to be controlled, mistrusted and disavowed. The only female that has your best interest in mind is your momma...and we all know we only get one momma...so that pretty much leaves the rest of the female population in the lurch. In the end everywhere a Black male casts his eyes he is taught a Black female is nothing but trouble, toil and something to be controlled before it controls you. She is never a girlfriend or even a former girlfriend...but if she's unlucky she'll be your baby's momma. You do not think in terms of marriage but if she sticks it out with you and endures any and all drama while never asking for more than the bare minimum then you may refer to her as 'wifey'. The disfunctionality of Black life is amazing and sad. And the fact that men you do not know. You have no previous experiences with good or bad would set upon you and strip and beat you in public gatherings shows just how far Black America has sunk.

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChele Belle

I read some of the comments on Clutch and this one by Kaydee stood out:

"Keeping the converstation going is the key. But the topic must shift from where we are now in this forum to organizing on all fronts. Black women need to align with the Black men who condemn this violence and teach each other. Men talking to other men about why this is wrong. Women talking to other women about why it’s unacceptable to shame other women. And both groups teaching both men and women to step up and shut down the men who are violent. However, I will say that then onus is largely on men at this point; we tell women how to act, dress, what they should and should not do, but we don’t teach men to not mistreat women regardless of how she is acting, dressed, doing or not doing. People are quick to say “She shouldn’t have been out that late alone,” but not “He should know better than to respect her space being out there that late and alone.” These conversations need to happen in the media, at home, in the car, at school…and most importantly, BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER these huge events."

I really like what she has to say, particularly the last half where she speaks of the onus being on men. I get so tired of folks acting as if men and boys cannot be held accountable for THEIR OWN actions, The only way decrease the cases of sexual assault is for people who COMMIT sexual assaults (and it's majority MEN) to stop doing it,. Take the focus off the victims and put it where it belongs, on the perpetrators.

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMommieDearest

When I was in college and bunch of friends and I went to an annual Halloween party in Santa Barbara 'thrown' by students from UC Santa Barbara. It was not a party sponsored by the school....just a whole lot of people walking around VERY crowed streets going into and out of stragers apartments. There were no issues of public sexual assaults ( who knows what went on between people hooking up). There were MANY police around primarily concerned with drinking in public and public intoxication. We had a blast and jsut thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the pretty people and meeting some cute hot guys...Very public police presence....felt very safe....So it's possible to have a large group gathering to check out the opposite sex without public sexual assaults happening.....

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

um, I don't think it's off-topic or racist or whatever to say that this type of nasty behavior is perpetrated by some males of every ethnicity, though you may have good intentions (and good reasons also) for focusing on how this affects Black women and girls. Although Blogmother was careful not to do this, acting as if that nasty behavior is performed ONLY by Black males seems more racist to me, as if it is only Black men and boys who would do such a thing. I would go further, however, in my condemnation of any woman (of any ethnicity) who make excuses. Women have to be stuck in a massively male supremacist mindset to even feel the urge to protect such animals. And make no mistake: these individuals are indeed animals -- with their own choices they have rescinded the right to be considered human. I don't mean they are beyond eventual redemption (because choosing to behave themselves AND make amends is their choice as well) just that other people now have the legitimate option to consider them sub-human.

The dictionary prefers to define "human" as "anybody who acts like an animal". HA, try again cos it's legal to shoot dogs without a leash and who appear to be a threat. It's a twenty-five dollar fine and that's all... Anyway, it would be racist of me to assume that it is only (violent) Black men who fall into this threatening category when in reality all violent men of every ethnicity qualify. Why keep trying to tolerate those whose inclinations is towards violence? Just get rid of them and move on with your life.

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterm Andrea

@melanie of course its easy to go to large gatherings without this foolishness. I think however, there are communities, that sit by quietly and allow people to act a fool and then the behavior escalates. No doubt that if these marauding rapists had gone to the same party you went to, they would have minded their Ps and Qs. Criminals know which lives are valuable and which are not. Criminals know which groups will be protected and which will not.

September 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

Urmmm,
Okay, thank you Gina for pointing out that you can go out and have a good time and NOT have to be worried about your clothing being torn off of your bodily person.
If any black women are wondering if this writer made this story up... she isn't. I don't know her personally, but I had to distance myself from black women who were primarily interested in going to group events much like this one. I kept hearing too many stories of women having to physically defend themselves while able bodied males (not men) stood by and watched situations escalate with NO in-group male policing. So I didn't go out with them anymore to events they invited me to because I didn't trust them to know where "not" to go. Fast forward a bit, and I found out that even THEY stopped attending certain events because one almost got physically beat down at a bar dance night by some dude that she wasn't interested in (this was not a majority black bar/club, just a promotional night at a normally upscale establishment)*. I'm grateful that it never had to go that far for me to "let some folks go".

Whatever heyday community fun-times existed pre-mid 90's is no longer there. So for your own safety, I don't think "open" AA events are safe for black women when the initial entrants are not screened. Basically, the underclass is working on overtime to come into formerly "safe" black environments and ruining it for everyone.

If you don't know folks, I wouldn't (and I don't) go to all access available black events. I've seen too much in the news about things popping off with dudes having pre-existing "beef" with someone to risk my life to see a parade, a party, etc... without knowing WHO is going to be there, or allowed in.

*Said promotional night doesn't really exist anymore, there were too many problems with the men. It was and still is an "everybody" space.

September 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDailyLattes

Never went to those events as a college youngster (Greek Fest, Freaknik, and the like). This entry reminds me why it was best to stay away from those events. Someone also mentioned the Puerto Rican Day parade - I was at the parade the year that those girls were assaulted. It's by a sheer stroke of luck that my group of friends didn't walk into the midst of the assault. We'd gotten to a fork in the road; my friends wanted to go to the left but I wanted to go to the right. We did a show of hands to decide which direction to walk. Since majority ruled, they said "you lose (Spinster)! we're going this way!" so I acquiesced and followed them.

Thank goodness for their judgment, otherwise we might be telling a different story today.

After finding out about it when we all got home, that parade hasn't seen me since, nor will it ever again.

September 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSpinster

When I was in college and bunch of friends and I went to an annual Halloween party in Santa Barbara 'thrown' by students from UC Santa Barbara

1- Greekfest is not really sponsored by students, its an event pretty much open to everyone. Many college students and alumni have abandoned it b/c of the presence of too many locals just like Freaknik in ATL Being that the victims were freshman they probably didn't know this.

2- This was in Philly which is a city currently struggling with a crime problem especially with the youth. Does Santa Barbara even have this element.

3- Like I said this doesn't happen at a vast majority of black events, but having an event like this in the current state Philly is in, is not a good idea right now.

4- Black folks are beautiful and I will continue to support black events. Will I go to a Philly Black Arts Festival- or the Roots Picnic- yes, would I go to Greekfest- No.

September 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterblkchik

So how do we become valued? I know we are valued amongst ourselves, meaning most Black women value other Black women. Where do we start? How do we become a protected class as well? If someone knows, point me there and I will concentrate all of my efforts on achieving that goal.

September 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMena

How disgusting.

This reminds me of a video I saw a year or two ago. A group of black male savages dragged a young lady out of her car and stripped her of her clothes. The cowards made sure their faces weren't shown on camera. But hers was.

There has got to be a way to send these men to prison. Clearly they want to be there.

September 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterViviJ

" There were MANY police around "..this this this!!!! Where are they???? When I go to the LGBT events, they're flooded with police and everyone gets to wear whatever they want without sexual harassment, hate harassment or what not.

The AA community has lost alot of support from law enforcement due to mediawho#es like Jackson, Sharpton, Najee Ali(LA black male criminal coddler oops activist), Earl Ofari Hutchinson(another LA black male criminal coddler) and other local black male criminal activist/coddlers who scream and hollar everytime local law enforcement/judicial system decides to punish and subdue them by necessary force for endangering innocent lives. Also, rehabilation will not always solve inbred behavioral problems.

When I was eighteen I went to Venice Beach on a Sunday wearing all white. This dirty swapmeet khaki wearing jerk took his supersoaker and soaked me up just because I would not talk to him(mind you I brushed him off nice and assertively with lies and BS). I never went back until I was twenty-seven and it was during the week in the afternoon to go bike riding.

September 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLD

Mommie Dearest wrote:

Sexual predators are rarely, if ever, rehabilitated. So spending our tax dollars to house, clothe and feed them just to let them back out only to re-offend is useless. Even if they remain behind bars for life, they are still costing us money.

I increasingly understand why the nation of Uganda made sexual predation a crime worthy of the death penalty. You never see Ugandan woman have to deal with being mauled by two-legged dogs.

September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFred

@blkchk

Since you brought up Philly, I give Mayor Michael Nutter a standing ovation for telling the truth that the flash mob crime wave is not the fault of poverty or racism. No the fault lies with homegrown terrorists known as Black thugs, who inflict more damage on Black people especially Black women than the KKK.

Nutter called the Black youth and adults on the carpet for giving these barbarians a pass for all these years:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXwCOcBjpbg

More guys must be like Nutter and less like guys who apologize for the thugs whether they be Black (Al Sharpton), White (Mayor Bloomberg of New York), etc. That's the only way horrors like the one described in the Clutch article will end.

September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFred

Here you cannot even attend the black family reunion in peace.it's awful.There is ALWAYS some black boy getting shot or shooting at someone else and every now and again you'll hear about a fight between some young girls but fortunately not often.I haven't been to BFR in years and it used to be really nice too

As far as the story goes it's sad but it does not surprise me at all.The only reason why I don't experience attacks the way other women do is because of my willingness to be a recluse or simply not go to certain areas.A person very close to me was raped and it really upset me.I have never dealt with anything more difficult and mind boggling in my life.I pray for all the survivors of rape.

September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTruth P.

Look there is a basic sociology principle at play.

You can't have large populations of unemployed (unmarried) males and not have problems. And these problems often come in two very real way:

1. Extreme Violence - they often kill themselves and those caught in their cross fire.
2. Extreme Violence against women and girls - Women are colonized by the colnized. For men who hav eno other control in thier lives, they will exact control over the meek/weak among them.

In this country its the historically disenfranchised black male that is the problem. But the phenomenon is found in France, Ireland in the 90's, China and India today. As far as answers I have none. And as other populations begin to experience the econmic desperation common among black americans for generations more of this behaviour will appear across color lines.

September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

The Santa Barbara party was not a primarily black event....I probably could have counted the number of blk people on one hand....there was an ACTIVE police presence because it was open..no fences no entrances and exits..just people walking around meeting people, going into and out of private homes/apartments. I do not think that that type of police presence would be welcomed at an event like the one described in the article.
How can we become valued? One thing that we can do is surround ourselves with people who truly value you...men and women who value you. We can choose to use our collective power appropriately. BW support fools too much and too easily. We look foolish to others who could support us and we look like we bring misfortune on ourselves. It's not fair, but its real. Make connecttions with the powerful people who want to connect with us (marriage, friendships, business partnerships, networking). We need to stop putting our resources onto a sinking ship and maybe we can make connections with those who can do some good for us for a change....

September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

I get what youre saying @ melanie and I do not discount that all of that is useful and a start. Im talking about some real shit, like being a protected and valued class meaning the cops will come look for my ass if I go missing. OR my tormentor will be brought to justice and my suffering will not be tossed to the bottom. All that shit you talking is on some one to one business. I mean how can we start a movement where Black women are valued and protected like white women are?

September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMena

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