*Content Warning: This piece contain a reference to sexual assault, which may be triggering to some.*
The self-loathing part that most survivors go through after assault is not only common but, in theory, completely insane. Within the black community, we often brainwash black women and all others to see black women as hypersexual. So much so that when we choose to deny men going against this perception we are shamed, and treated as if something is wrong with us.
We as humans have the right to say no in any situation and should be afforded the agency to exercise this right without persecution from our own community. Our bodies have been commandeered by not only just our community and their media, but by the white community and their media.
What are we to do when everywhere we go and everything we see is black women being the “sex object” or the “other women,” the dark sexy secret, the “juicy blackberry.” How are we to be more than just what they created and perceived of us?
I went to Cuba last summer on a school trip. It was my first endeavor abroad and I was reasonably very excited. I learned so much over there along with growing a huge appreciation for little things we have in abundance in America. But what else I learned is how prevalent this perception of black women was. Especially when Cubans would approach me, insinuating such things as this perception. Or when it was discovered I was from America, the same line of questioning: “Are the women like they say they are?” “Are you all sexy?” “Every day you sex?”
It made me feel triggered and gross, but also opened my eyes to a problem I never really acknowledged. Along with helping me combat it, I had to find within my mind the peace to understand that I cannot control how others see me or my bod, or how they lust after me or not.
But I can control how it affects me. I can control my thoughts and not let them be controlled by others; instead of using them to tell myself that I look and feel healthy today. Beautiful inside and out — two happy thoughts for one dark thought that comes.