The recent wave of sexual abuse allegations launched against big named Black celebrities has inspired #MeToo, National Women’s Law Center, and Time’s Up to release a joint statement in solidarity of supporting “Black survivors.”
Titled “Open Letter in Defense of Black Survivors,” the letter addressed victims who have been “routinely dismissed, disbelieved, and disenfranchised” for sharing their stories of abuse and misconduct, reports MadameNoire.
The group unapologetically name-dropped celebrities to make their point abundantly clear.
“Over the last week, we know countless of you have come forward with credible accusations of horrific sexual abuse and violence at the hands of Black celebrities – including Soulja Boy and T.I. and Tiny,” they wrote. “R&B singer Raz B has spoken out once again about his experience of sexual abuse – yet no media outlets, corporate actors, or systems of justice have centered survivors’ stories or promised accountability. Like you, we are carrying the emotional weight of this news and know that we are reliving a collective trauma akin to the exposing of Cosby and R. Kelly.”
If you recall, T.I. and Tiny were linked to over 15 women who accused a couple of salacious acts ranging from kidnapping, violence, date rape, heavy drug usage, among other things. In a separate incident, Soulja Boy was named by a former personal assistant who claimed the rapper kicked, body-slammed, punched her, and later raped her. All three artists are seeking legal action and vehemently maintain their innocence in those matters.
On the other hand, Raz B has spent years publicly accusing former manager Chris Stokes of molestation during his teenage days in the group B2K. The singer is now resurfacing the allegations and willing to stake its validity on a polygraph test to prove his statements as truth.
The open letter goes on to scrutinize the lack of support. Black survivors endure when they report their violations. These victims are more likely to be discredited and mocked in an attempt to silence their stories instead of questioning the accusers for their alleged behaviors.
“Black survivors who report sexual assault or violence are less likely to be believed than their white counterparts,” the letter continued. “Our stories are often quickly discarded as lies before they are even fully heard. Black survivors are not afforded the level of attention, care, and impartiality that we deserve – and problematic media and cultural depictions fuel a culture of disbelief that pushes survivors further into the shadows.”
In their call of action at the end of their statement, the group asked the media to treat Black survivors’ experiences with journalistic integrity and properly investigate the claims made against abusers. The community was asked to avoid victim-blaming and to hold violators accountable for their actions. As for the survivors, the letter reiterated their continued support and listed helpful information to anyone who may be in need of help during their time of healing.
Read the full letter here.