The Hu-Womanity Series: Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence – Report His Butt (Part 1 of a 4 part series) By Irrayna Pittman

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I am not sure how many lessons I would take from Gabrielle Union’s life (I’m thinking of one D.W.), but the woman impresses me because she’s a rape survivor with a positive attitude. After her rape at the age of 19, she resolved to view herself as a survivor instead of a victim. She took intentional steps to heal instead of overstaying her welcome at a pity party. In fact she says she learned to recognize which people she needed to cut off because they fueled her victimization.

Like Gabrielle, most women hate re-victimization. The scene is all too familiar. A woman finds herself alone with a man whom she feels she can trust, or at least one she has no reason to distrust. She appears unfazed when he asks everyone else to leave when she comes to visit him. She trusts him. He rapes her. A relative encourages her to hush the situation because the rapist was a brother. Local authorities react in anger, only. She lives the rest of her life in isolation. So goes the biblical account of the rape of Tamar, the king’s daughter.

Tamar must have been King David’s African-American daughter. Her life plays out the familiar tune African-American women instinctively learn. The lesson must leak into our subconscious, because I can’t recall ever being taught that I am African-American first. In fact unlearning a second-skin attitude proved hard because the lessons were lounged deep into so many aspects of my life. To extract it almost required a recreation of my identity. I am still an African-American woman, but I am a “being” first. Claiming my right as a human gives me the same rights as any other “being” regardless of sex or race, even if everyone else thinks otherwise.

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