Aishah Shahidah Simmons and NO! The Rape Documentary featured in FORBESWOMAN article, by Brooke Axtell, on Black Women and Sexual Assault
On April 25, 2012, FORBESWOMAN published Brooke Axtell’s “Black Women, Sexual Assault, and the Art of Resistance” article. Axtell is the creator of SHE: Survivor, Healing & Empowerment, which is “a healing community for survivors of rape, abuse and sex trafficking, as well as their allies.” So, it comes as no surprise that she would write an article exploring the specific challenges facing Black women survivors of rape and sexual assault. Citing sobering statistics compiled by Black Women’s Blueprint, The Black Women’s Health Imperative, and the US Department on Justice, Axtell delves into the various reasons why so many Black women choose not to report their rape. She references the scholarship and activism of Lori Sasai Robinson, Dr. Gail Elizabeth Wyatt, Dr. Danielle L. McGuire, and Dr. Charlotte Pierce-Baker, who have each spent numerous years researching and writing about Black women and rape. Axtell also places Aishah Shahidah Simmons and her documentary film NO! along a continuum of Black women’s creative resistance against all forms of sexual violence perpetuated against Black women and girls. Black Women, Sexual Assault, and the Art of Resistanceis another powerful intervention in raising awareness about the horrific impact of the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality on many Black women rape and sexual assault survivors. Axtell writes,
[…]Historically, law enforcement has been used to control African-American communities through brutality and racial profiling. It may be difficult for a Black woman to seek help if she feels it could be at the expense of African-American men or her community. The history of racial injustice (particularly the stereotype of the Black male as a sexual predator) and the need to protect her community from further attack might persuade a survivor to remain silent. We need more research to fully understand the scope of violence against Black women and the barriers they face to receiving support services. This requires both the political will and funding to make their lives a priority. Unfortunately, due to a long history of systemic racism and classism in the United States, the violation of Black women’s bodies is often rendered invisible.
You may read the article in its entirety by clicking here.
As of April 30, 2012, “Black Women Sexual Assault and the Art of Resistance” has been picked up by several sites including: