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Black America, DRC, Feminism, Gender Violence, Haiti, Queer Politics, South Africa

Blogging for Justice: Protecting Black Women From Rape

Protecting Black Women From Rape has been organised by Afrosphere to publicise two horrendous cases of rape against Black women in the United States.

Ms. Megan Williams

Megan Williams thought she was going to a party. For more than a week, authorities say, the 20-year-old black woman was kept captive in a shed, tortured, beaten, forced to eat rat, dog and human feces, and raped by six white men and women who taunted her with racial slurs. “They just kept saying ‘This is what we do to niggers down here,'” Williams told The Associated Press in one of her most extensive interviews since the shocking case made national headlines last month.

In Dunbar Village Case

4 males aged between 14 and 18 have been charged as adults on a 14 count indictment

Hoping to steal money and jewelry, Avion Lawson, 14, said he and someone else wore masks when they entered the 35-year-old woman’s apartment that night, according to the documents. Once inside, Lawson said, he and his accomplice, whose name is blacked out on the report, encountered the woman in bed with three other masked males around her. Lawson told police he sexually assaulted her and stole two video games and a truck.

The victim returned home from her job delivering phone books about 9 p.m. the night of the attack, according to her statement to police. While fixing her son something to eat, a young male with braids knocked on her door to tell her the tires on her truck were flat. Once outside, she said, she saw a male with a large gun and two others armed with guns. They wore black clothing over their faces, she said, and ordered her back into the apartment, where they demanded money.

After being told there was no money, the attackers tore off the woman’s clothes and raped her until five others arrived, according to the documents. The new arrivals took turns having sex with her and then sodomized her. The mother was then ordered into a tub filled with vinegar and water where they used hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, nail polish remover and ammonia on her. At gunpoint, the assailants forced the mother and son to have sex.

Throughout the attack, the victims suffered beatings, including having a bowl and light bulbs smashed over their heads. The encounter was recorded on a cell phone camera, according to the mother.

Reading about these two horrific acts of violence against women, I am reminded of a piece I wrote after the rape, torture and murder of two South African lesbians this past July, Sigasa and Masooa and the millions of other Black lesbians, bi-sexual and heterosexual women who have been raped over the centuries. Raped by white men, by black men, by gangs, violated in the most horrific ways.

I have been thinking about the rapes and murders. Wondering about the safety of my friends. I do want to know the why and the who of rapes of women. I am sure much has been written on why men rape and who these men are. But I want to think this through for myself. When rape takes place every minute then I have to ask some more questions on why this is happening. People are not sleeping thinking about being raped. Thinking about their mothers, sisters, daughters and friends being raped. Who have been raped. Women are suffering from terrible anxiety thinking about these things. The pain of one rape goes beyond the victim or survivor and spreads to every other woman she knows. The knowledge that you were raped because of your sexuality, when that sexuality is viewed as being unnatural, doubles your anxiety. When everyone around you is continually saying you are sinful or ostracising you because of who you love — it fucks up your head. You are strong but at night you cry. You live in fear because every time you walk out of your house or compound the predator(s) maybe watching and waiting.

We are living in fear, in Darfur, in the DRC, in South Africa, the US, in Haiti, in Britain – everywhere we are living in fear of rape and hate. The hate, the misogyny It comes with attitudes and language as well as physical, emotional and sexual violence. It is not just men who need to take account of their brothers, fathers, sons and male relatives and friends. Often women are themselves complicit in these acts of violence, less often they are participants.

We all have choices every time silence is chosen over speaking one more woman is left unprotected against violence.



  1. Excellent post, as usual Sokari! I’ve included it in a post on my blog entitled “This is Africa?”

  2. Lex

    Why is it called “protecting” black women from rape?

  3. Comment by post author


    You have a point in pointing to the word “protecting” which in some way could assume a third party; could also assume a lack of empowerment in that “we” need protecting from in this instance rapists.

    I think the point the organisers are trying to make is that by raising the awareness around the rape of Black women in our communities and elsewhere will lead to a safer environment for Black women.

    On the other hand we (Black women) need to protect ourselves and each other by speaking out against any form of violence and shaming those who commit violence against us. Black men as part of our community also need to be involved in ending violence against women by also speaking out.

  4. Yes, i agree, black men need to stand in solidarity with black women to minimize the brutality and acts of violence inflicted upon them. Neither can remain quiet on this issue. Women are ignored in society, especially Black women. Awareness can only be raised by both black women and men voicing out against this violence.

    Great post