by April Taylor
As a black woman who is a survivor of an unreported rape and who is also the mother of two young boys, I have to stand up in support of Boyce Watkins. The recent backlash from his blog entitled, “How Sleeping With the Wrong Woman Might Turn You Into a Rapist,” makes me realize just how brainwashed some people are by liberal media talking heads. Not every piece of information or writing about the subject of rape has to be from a liberal, feminist perspective. Black men have the right to discuss rape and how it is most relevant to their experiences in our society.
Dr. Watkin’s blog specifically addresses black men and helping them avoid situations where they could be falsely accused of a crime that carries significant prison time and a profound social stigma. Nothing that Dr. Watkins wrote is misogynistic or degrading to women. As a black man, he is simply speaking out about an aspect of their lives that is all to often left out of standard news cycles.
Nothing about the blog indicates that he thinks that all women are “wolves in freaks clothing.” Just as it is okay for a woman to write a blog about male rapists without insinuating that all men are rapists, a man should be able to write about false rape accusations without insinuating that all women are lying. The blog is simply him advising men that the time to consider whether or not a woman may possibly be vindictive or deceitful enough to lie about being raped is not after it happens. In addition, Dr. Watkin’s does not insinuate in any way that men are falsely accused of rape as often as women are raped; the blog is written for black men, so he discusses what is most relevant for that audience. There is no crime in doing that.
As the mother of two teenagers who will soon be black men, this is just one of the conversations I will have with them about protecting their futures by not giving someone else the power to risk their freedom. While some may be blind enough to believe that this is not a relevant subject, the fact that black men have been lynched for being falsely accused of rape during my grandmother’s lifetime and the fact that the American justice system has a dismal track record of incarcerating black men for crimes they did not commit means that it is relevant for those who do not have their heads in the sand.
Rather than attacking each other as men and women, it would be more productive for us to stand in solidarity and consider what about our society perpetuates the existence of such injustice and violence and also blinds us in a way that makes it impossible to see the validity of another person’s struggle even if it seems juxtaposed to our own. I know men and women, who like myself, have been victims of sexual violence, and I also know men who have been falsely accused of rape; I stand in solidarity with them all and ask anyone who cares about the injustice experienced by rape victims to also care about the injustice experienced by all victims of any crime.