April 11, 2014
How Does A Sister To A Rape Survivor Heal?

#SAAM #BelieveSurvivors #NOtheRapeDocumentary #ALongWalkHome #Sisterhood

(photo: Joan Brannon)

"…Fall 1996 Salamishah (Tillet) told me over the phone about her sexual assaults and that she was a multiple survivor. I was frustrated. I didn’t know what to actually do when she told me that she was raped. Should we talk about it? I didn’t know what to do. Two years later in a social documentary class at Rutgers University, I asked Salamshah if I could do a documentation of her healing process…How does a sister to a survivor heal as well? That’s one thing I learned. Not only was it easier to talk about her healing, look at her healing, but how do I heal as a survivor’s sister and break that silence and begin to talk about it with my sister and help her heal?” ~ Scheherazade Tillet , Visionary Photographer, Co-Founder & Executive Director of A Long Walk Home, Inc. in NOtheRapeDocumentary.org

How Does A Sister To A Rape Survivor Heal? She co-founds and executive directs an organization that educates and empowers young women to work towards eradicating a rape culture!

February 3, 2014
Woody Allen's Good Name by Aaron Bady

"This is a basic principle: until it is proven otherwise, beyond a reasonable doubt, it’s important to extend the presumption of innocence to Dylan Farrow, and presume that she is not guilty of the crime of lying about what Woody Allen did to her…

…Because I am not on Woody Allen’s jury, I can be swayed by the fact that sexual violence is incredibly, horrifically common, much more common than it is for women to make up stories about sexual violence in pursuit of their own petty, vindictive need to destroy a great man’s reputation. We are in the midst of an ongoing, quiet epidemic of sexual violence, now as always. We are not in the midst of an epidemic of false rape charges, and that fact is important here….

What is the burden of proof for assuming that a person is lying? If you are a famous film director, it turns out to be quite high. You don’t have to say a word in your defense, in fact, and people who have directed documentaries about you will write lengthy essays in the Daily Beast tearing down the testimony of your accusers. You can just go about your life making movie after movie, and it’s fine. But if you are a woman who has accused a great film director of molesting you when you were seven, the starting point is the presumption that, without real evidence, you are not telling the truth. In the court of public opinion, a woman accusing a great film director of raping her has no credibility which his fans are bound to respect. He has something to lose, his good name. She does not, because she does not have a good name. She is living in hiding, under an assumed name. And when she is silent, the Daily Beast does not rise to her defense.

In a rape culture, there is no burden on us to presume that she is not a liar, no necessary imperative to treat her like a person whose account of herself can be taken seriously. It is important that we presume he is innocent. It is not important that we presume she is not making it all up out of female malice. In a rape culture, you can say things like “We can’t really know what really happened, so let’s all act as if Woody Allen is innocent (and she is lying).” In a rape culture, you can use your ignorance to cast doubt on her knowledge; you can admit that you have no basis for casting doubt on Dylan’s statement, and then you can ignore her account of herself. A famous man is not speaking, so her testimony is not admissible evidence. His name is Woody Allen, and in a rape culture, that good name must be shielded and protected. What is her name?”


May 13, 2013
Savaging Women (and Men) by The Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney

"…It is not enough for good men not to rape. It is not enough for people of faith to condemn atrocities after the fact. We must nurture human dignity in each child, each adult; teach and model manhood that is not based on conquest or dominion. The savages among us are savaging the illusion of civilization. No amount of digital technology can prevent the deployment of a weaponized penis yet technological advances and innovations further rape and trafficking. It is far past time to target men and boys and our rape-normative culture with messages of transformation. You are not savages. We will not be savaged.

The time has come for rape-culture to be buried in a grave from which it will never rise again.”

May 5, 2013
Aishah Shahidah Simmons joined Spelman College’s Fight to End Sexual Violence on HBCU campuses

I was honored to receive an invitation from Dr. Beverly Guy Sheftall to return to Spelman College on April 25, 2013 to join their fight to address and end sexual violence on Historically Black College and University campuses (HBCU).

With the news about the recent arrest of four Morehouse College students on sexual assault charges, it is explicitly and undeniable clear that now is the time to continue the very difficult dialogue about eradicating rape and rape culture. Make no mistake, rape and other forms of sexual violence are happening on all college campuses across the country. Tragically, there aren’t many “rape free” spaces. In a culturally specific context, however, the horrible combination of racism and misogyny often results in a deafening silence when Black men rape Black women. This is evident on too many HBCU campuses.


Ramesh Kathandhi and Aishah Shahidah Simmons (photo: Lani Jones)

On the evening of April 25, 2013, we were small in number in Spelman College’s Cosby Auditorium. And yet, we had a powerful post-NO! The Rape Documentary discussion about breaking the silence about sexual violence and ending rape culture on our college campuses, in our families, our communities, and society at large. I was very fortunate to co-facilitate the dialogue with Ramesh Kathandhi, who is the internship coordinator at Men Stopping Violence. Drs. Beverly Daniel Tatum (President of Spelman College), Darnita Killian (Vice President of Student Affairs), and Kimberly Ferguson (Dean of Students) were also in attendance and expressed a commitment to tackle this issue head on with the students.


Aishah Shahidah Simmons (middle) with Drs. Beverly Daniel Tatum, Cynthia Neal Spence, Lani Jones, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, and Darnita Killian

We will continue and broaden this dialogue at Spelman College in the fall 2013 and in the spring 2014.  Stay tuned for details when they become available.

Infinite gratitude to Drs. Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Cynthia Neal Spence (Associate Professor of Sociology and Trustee of the Board), and Spelman College’s Women’s Research and Resource Center (WRRC) for their tireless and relentless work to not allow (the too often silent) rape epidemic go unnoticed, unchecked, and/or unaddressed. Founded in 1981 by Dr. Guy-Sheftall, the WRRC has been long-term supporter of NO! The Rape Documentary from conception (1994) to completion (2006) and distribution (present day).

April 18, 2013
Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA) hosts a series of panels/discussions featuring Aishah Shahidah Simmons participating on panels/roundtables with students who are addressing rape, rape culture, and homophobia in our families, on campuses, and society at large. The day will culminate with a screening and discussion of her film NO! The Rape Documentary.

Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA) hosts a series of panels/discussions featuring Aishah Shahidah Simmons participating on panels/roundtables with students who are addressing rape, rape culture, and homophobia in our families, on campuses, and society at large. The day will culminate with a screening and discussion of her film NO! The Rape Documentary.

April 15, 2013
Aishah Shahidah Simmons will screen NO! at Claremont Graduate University

Claremont Graduate University presents: a screening and discussion of NO! The Rape Documentary with Aishah Shahidah Simmons.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 7:30 pm
Claremont Graduate University
Albrecht Auditorium in Stauffer Hall (corner of 10th and Dartmouth)
CONTACT: Lisa Maldonado at 909.607.3509 or <lisa.maldonado@cgu.edu> (PLEASE RSVP)

This event, which is free and open to the public, is a part of a two-part series at Claremont Graduate University to explore issues surrounding the Violence Against Women Act.


A deep heartfelt gratitude shout out to my Sister/Comrade Linda Perkins, who, since her first meeting Aishah at the 2006 world premiere of NO! at the Pan African-Film Festival in Los Angeles, has been an invaluable source of support in a myriad of ways.

April 11, 2013
Screening and discussion of NO! The Rape Documentary at Florida State University at 7pm on Thursday, April 11, 2013.
Gratitude Shout Out to my Brother/Comrade Dr. David Ikard for his critical leadership role in making my presence on FSU&#8217;s campus a reality.

Screening and discussion of NO! The Rape Documentary at Florida State University at 7pm on Thursday, April 11, 2013.

Gratitude Shout Out to my Brother/Comrade Dr. David Ikard for his critical leadership role in making my presence on FSU’s campus a reality.

March 30, 2013
"I wish we could be as passionate about ending rape & rape culture as so many of us are about protecting those who rape or those who promote rape. In the specific instances of people of color and anti-racist white people, it’s uncanny how so many us are absolutely clear and razor sharp with our analyses about the horrid impact of racism and white supremacy upon our communities. And yet, when it comes to sexism, misogyny, and gender-based violence perpetrated against cis/trans women and all gender non-conforming people, the response is too often a combination of crickets, a rush to blame the victim/survivors, and/or a rush to protect/contexualize the behavior of perpetrators."

Aishah Shahidah Simmons

October 14, 2011
Two photos from DSK and Justice Open Forum

I’m both reveling and invigorated post a powerful evening with Kala Ganesh, Kimerle Williams Crenshaw, Traci C. West, and Beth Ribet at the Open Form on “DSKand Justice: The Politics of Getting Off In A Rape Culture.” This Free Open Forum, which was held on October 13, 2011 at Columbia Law School, was co-sponsored by CONNECT - Safe Families, Peaceful Communities, and Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies. The interactive dialogue with everyone who attended resulted in each one of us moving towards taking individual and collective concrete steps to ensure that “It’s Not Over” for Dominque Strauss Kahn.

Laughing after…

Traci C. West, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, Kala Gannesh, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, and Beth Ribet

Now, for the serious “respectable” (LOL) picture…

Traci C. West, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, Kala Gannesh, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, and Beth Ribet

October 10, 2011


CONNECT~ Safe Families, Peaceful Communities and Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies and their Center for Gender and Sexuality Law are hosting an Open Forum on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 at 6:30pm in the Jerome L. Green Hall, Rm 105, 435 W. 116th Street, New York, New York. 

Confirmed Panelists:

Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw is a professor of law at UCLA and Columbia.  She has written in the areas of civil rights, black feminist legal theory, and race, racism and the law. Her work has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the National Black Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, and the Southern California Law Review. A founding coordinator of the Critical Race Theory workshop; coeditor of Critical Race Theory: Key Documents That Shaped the Movement. Professor Crenshaw lectured nationally and internationally on race matters, addressing audiences throughout Europe, Africa, and South America. Her work on race and gender was influential in the drafting of the equality clause in the South African Constitution. In 2001, she authored the background paper on Race and Gender Discrimination for the United Nations’ World Conference on Racism and helped facilitate the inclusion of gender in the WCAR Conference Declaration. In the domestic arena, she has served as a member of the National Science Foundation’s committee to research violence against women and has assisted the legal team representing Anita Hill.

Elizabeth (Beth) Ribet is the Research Director at the Center on Intersectionality and Social Policy in the School of Law at Columbia. She is simultaneously appointed as an adjunct professor and is team-teaching “Intersectionalities” with Kimberle Crenshaw, in the 2011-2012 academic year. She holds a PhD in Social Relations from the University of California-Irvine, and a JD from UCLA with a concentration in Critical Race Studies. Her doctoral dissertation was grounded in interviews with Jewish daughters of Holocaust survivors in the U.S. Her additional areas of teaching interest in Law include disability law, international law, prison law and policy, torts, labor law, and various areas of critical theory. Professor Ribet writes primarily about the production of new or “emergent” disabilities and illnesses, produced by intersecting dynamics of racial, gender, economic, sexual, ethno-religious, age, and citizenship based stratification and subordination.

Aishah Shahidah Simmons is the producer, writer, and director of the internationally acclaimed, award-winning film NO! The Rape Documentary, which unveils the reality of rape, other forms of sexual violence, and healing in African-American communities. Subtitled in Spanish, French, and Portuguese, NO! also examines how rape is used as a weapon of homophobia. Since its official release in 2006, NO! has been used and is currently being used as an educational organizing tool throughout North America, and in numerous countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, South America, and the Caribbean. Ms. Simmons essays, some of which have been translated into French, Spanish, and Italian, are featured in several anthologies and journals. She facilitates workshops and lectures extensively on the issues of gender-based violence, and the impact of the intersections race, gender, and sexual orientation on the lives of Black women at colleges/universities, high schools, rape crisis centers, battered women’s shelters, prisons, public libraries, non-governmental organizations, religious institutions, government agencies, and film festivals in North America and internationally.

Rev. Traci C. West is Professor of Ethics and African American Studies at Drew University Theological School. She received her PhD from Union Theological Seminary. She is the author of Disruptive Christian Ethics: When Racism and Women’s Lives Matter (Westminster John Knox Press, 2006), Wounds of the Spirit: Black Women, Violence, and Resistance Ethics (New York University Press, 1999), and the editor of Our Family Values: Same-sex Marriage and Religion (Praeger, 2006). She has also written several articles on violence against women, racism, clergy ethics, sexuality and other justice issues in church and society. She is an ordained elder in the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist church who previously served in campus and parish ministry in the Hartford Connecticut area. She is a member of United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church. Professor West is also a featured interviewee in NO! The Rape Documentary, and Breaking Silences: The Supplemental Video to NO! both produced and directed by Aishah Shahidah Simmons.

DSK  and Justice FlyerTo RSVP for this free event contact Divine-Asia Planes at

dplanes “at” connectnyc “dot” org or (212) 683-0015 ext.215

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