“When I was five years old I was molested and just, you know. I remember feeling, literally right before it happened, I just could not believe that this person was going to do this to me. That thing followed me all my life. “The shame of thinking my molestation was my fault – it led me to believe I wasn’t worth anything.”
– Mary J. Blige, VH1’s Behind the Music
The Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine child molestation cases bring up a very serious topic of child molestation. But does this apply to the black community?
There may potentially be skeletons so old in the black community’s closet that they may as well be fossils. The topic of sexual abuse is taboo, but when applied to the black community, it simply would be an understatement to say the least.
This very act has victimized children from many communities for decades; and perhaps centuries. The vulnerable nature of young children makes them an easy target for their abuser. With a child’s innocence being stripped from them, one can only imagine the many psychological horrors these young children carry with them into adulthood.
Sexual abuse has been a reoccurring theme in quite a few African American films. Particularly, Antwone Fisher and Precious tackled the heavy hitting topic with each film’s protagonist experiencing sexual molestation as an adolescent.
Movie goers watched in shock the abuse Claireece Jones suffered at the hands of her mother and father in Precious. But people may figure such plights to only occur in film. Sadly, this is not the case. According to tellusdetroit.com, Stephanie L. Jones, best selling author of The Enemy Between My Legs, states “Child molestation has always been a problem in our community and it’s even worse today than it was 10 or 20 years ago.” She further elaborates, “Statistics show that one out three females are molested.”
With the hyper masculine nature of the black community, it is very rare to find an African American man to willing admit to sexual abuse. More recently, renowned individuals in the black community have revealed a horrid past.
The nation cried with Tyler Perry as he appeared on Oprah detailing a painful childhood filled with physical and sexual abuse. Radio listeners knew it was no laughing matter when famed comedian Rickey Smiley revealed he was sexually abused as a child on his morning show.
Viewers were even more shocked to hear CNN’s own Don Lemon reveal his own past in light of Bishop Eddie Long’s recent sex abuse scandal. Many found it even more heartbreaking to learn he didn’t even tell his own mother the pain he endured until he was 30 years old.
According to 1in6.org, researchers estimate that one in six men have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences before age 16. This startling statistic combined with the rarity for men to admit such abuse is cause for concern, expecially given the potential that these numbers may be much worse.
The black community rarely talks about the issue of sex abuse. Individuals, such as Perry and Lemon, should be applauded for their bravery and honesty. Given the recent scandal surrounding Bishop Eddie Long on his alleged sexual abuse case, there’s a dire need for more dialogue to surround this issue.
No child should be traumatized from this and endure a lifetime of psychological imprisonment. Furthermore, no man should be ashamed to tell their parents or guardian for fear of being deemed a homosexual.
Jones states sex abuse is the one reason why teen pregnancy, abortion and AIDS continue to plague the black community. Kollege Kidd will provide the spark needed to fuel discussion on this horrible topic and be the extinguisher to douse the flame that’s fueling the personal hell many people are mentally living in.
With dialogue, the horrible past many people can’t run away from can simply be a thing of the past.
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