I was going to write a post about how I came back to this town to deal with the racism, in its extremity, once again. But I think there is something more pressing that I think I need to talk about…
THE VIOLENCE PERFORMED ON BLACK WOMXN AND THEIR BODIES.
I’ve come to learn, over time, that black womxn are seen to be at the bottom of the totem pole. I have known that this is how we are viewed for quite some time. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less. To think that you are not seen as anything other than a shell for men to perform their power onto you. You are just a piece of property, for anyone to rent for their using. You do not have any agency, you are not a self-serving human with any kind agency. Everything you do is for men, for their pleasure, for their protection. For their nurturing.
This means that you are at risk, every waking moment, you are at risk of being violated. Either to be taught a lesson because you are too opinionated, you are asking for it because you dress and act provocatively, or you are not allowed to do certain things because “that is not how ladies ought to perform”.
Our actions are restricted. Our humanity is limited.
It gets even worse when there are more ‘burdens’ added onto your already double-barrel cross. As if it is not enough that you are a black womxn, some of us have to be weary of the men that want to teach us a lesson because of our sexual orientation. Black womxn are brutalised, and sometimes killed, because of their chose to publicly perform their sexuality. They chose to be openly gay, to be themselves openly and men take it upon themselves to ‘fix’ them because they do not fit into their ideas of heteronormativity.
When I was about 14, I had already heard about what they called “corrective rape”. I knew little about it though but I could never understand the logic behind the perpetrators’ actions. I never understood how these men thought forcing themselves on womxn would make the womxn turn straight…
And then it happened to someone I knew. It happened to my cousin, who was raped, along with her partner, and then killed by the very people that she called her friends. Her own fucking “friends”.
This is when I realised that rape was NEVER about the sexual act itself, it was not sex at all. Rape is about power. It is about assuming ownership. You either have the ability to rape, and then shame the womxn for the rest of her life or kill her after violating her. But either way, you have the power to either figuratively or literally end her life. And this is what many seem to not understand…
You want to own us and you want us to continue being subservient. And then you don’t understand why we are not letting that happen.
This is why we are outraged. This is why we protest while the president of this country is addressing the nation. How do we even trust this said president to rule us as a people when he can violate those that are close to him, those that are meant to trust him, those that grew up right in front of him?
And then they shame us. They shame us to the point where we have to assume pseudonyms, and flee the country. We have to be cross-examined, we have to be asked why we were wearing a khanga, why we didn’t scream louder, why we didn’t try to walk out of the room. We were asking for it. We even stayed behind for breakfast afterwards, we enjoyed it and now we regret it all and are crying wolf. We are re-raped by every single person that tries to justify the actions of the perpetrators, or nullify our screams.
And dare we speak against it at all. Dare a group of “agent-less” womxn speak up against the unspeakables performed on their bodies. Dare womxn have a voice. Dare womxn save themselves. How dare they? That is not the space. That is not how it ought to be done. There are platforms for it. It is undignified. The perps should be assumed innocent until proven guilty. What about the accused reputation? They are just looking for attention.
And… We are NOT yours to take and make your play things.
Signed: Siyamthanda Gaxamba