This island has been cracked open and will never be the same again.
Women broke every silence.
We spoke of street harassment: girl, yuh pussy fat!
Principals who made no room for comprehensive sexuality education but slut-shamed girls who were themselves sexually abused.
Rape by current and former partners.
Years of sexual abuse by fathers, step-fathers, uncles, cousins.
Stories of men who told us that they’re waiting for our four-year-old daughters to grow up.
Men who offered jobs or rides or food or protection only to demand sex. Only to split our bodies open when we refused.
Men who raped us because we are lesbian, because we are women, because we are girls, because they could.
We exploded every myth about how good girls and good women are protected from this violence. That good men will protect us. That all we have to do is call in our squad of brothers and and uncles and fathers. We asked, and who will women and girls call when our fathers and brothers and uncles assault them? We affirmed that asking men to protect us from male violence is not freedom. All men benefit from male privilege and unequal relations of gender which disadvantage and devalue women and girls. We demand autonomy not protection!
We split this island open for every woman and girl who has had her body split open.
We split this island open and let all the secrets fall out.
We put flesh and blood and tears to the bones of statistics like:
Every force-ripe gal, every slut, every walking cemetery, every girl sent to Summervale because she was difficult, delinquent, let wunna know wha wunna prefer to pretend not to know. Now you know. Girls that survive sexual abuse are more likely to get punishment than justice.
That hashtag #lifeinleggings has cost us family, friends, homes. Bajan women are not afraid to name names and nicknames and addresses. Families can’t deal. Won’t heal. Abusers can’t deal. Rapists are having a hard time. Men who would never yell, girl yuh pussy fat!, still feel that someone is looking to take a way a right from them that they would prefer to keep, thank you very much.
Who say Bajans passive never met a Bajan woman posting through tears on the #lifeinleggings hashtag? Deliberate and afraid of nothing.
Deliberate and afraid of nothing.
Deliberate and afraid of nothing.
The backlash has been swift and misogynist. Here’s how you can help. Read the #lifeinleggings hashtag on facebook and twitter. Feel free to share your stories if you can. Not everyone is in a place where they can and that’s OK. Encourage women and girls in your community to participate. Help us drown out the misogynist noise and raise women and girls’ voices higher and higher.
We will not be silenced.
Press for #lifeinleggings:
Further reading from CODE RED for gender justice!
Disaster time again, for our sisters and brothers in Haiti. Already the vultures circle, using this tragedy as another opportunity to take advantage or worse, to engage in the pornography of suffering black bodies.
Now is not the time for tears, hand-wringing, there are lots of organisations that are quietly doing good work in Haiti that does not line the pockets of multinational aid corporations, or continue to fatten the Port au Prince elite.
The following is a list I’ve compiled thanks to friends in Haiti and its diaspora. Please do your own research on the organisations listed below. I’ll keep updating it as more info emerges.
Donations in Trinidad
ITNAC Trinidad based organisation sending volunteers soon to Haiti asking for donations…
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Polish 800m runner, Joanna Jozwik is reported as saying she felt like a silver medalist even though she placed fifth:
The top three places in the 800m went to African women: South Africa’s Caster Semenya, Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba and Kenya’s Margaret Wambui.
By Jozwik’s logic these three African women are not women. The only women are white women which is why she states that she is proud to be the second white to cross the finish line.
The category “woman” is saturated with whiteness, with white femininity. Black women’s exclusion from this category also marks our exclusion from the human.
Radical black Caribbean intellectual, Sylvia Wynter argues that the project of Black Studies that emerged in the 1960s was NOT one of an ethnic studies a la multiculturalism but the undoing of the entire system of Western thought itself and the racist, ecological and anti-human violence which it supports.
That must be the goal of any feminism worth having. Not leaning in to an unsustainable lifestyle based on consumption on white, Western bourgeois terms.
Garinagu involvement in revolutionary movements in Honduras similarly identifies the confluence of white supremacy and global capitalist interests in ecological destruction, repressive violence against activists and threats to the livity of Indigenous and African peoples. As Miriam Miranda states:
We have to challenge this model of living, because it is a predatory one, a murderous one which dehumanises us.
Black feminisms ask:
How do we create a world where we value each other, all human and non-human animals and the environment of which we are a part?
How do we create a world where the most marginalized among us can learn to trust our own consciousness?
A world which recognises multiple ways of being and being human.
A world that makes rural living sustainable.
A world that recognises Black and Indigenous Peoples’ right to be.
A world without prisons, warfare, violence.
A world where gender is not a source of violence.
A world that is not disabling.
Black feminisms is not an ethnicized, separatist, compartmentalised standpoint. It is not a sedimented, essentialist, atavistic identity politics. (Don’t let the white supremacists nor the black nationalists fool you.)
Black feminisms and the solidarity communities we make with the sources of our strength, these are the feminisms and movements that we need now.
View the #blackfeminisms blog carnival entries here and submit your own stories.
Learn more about AWID’s Black Feminisms Forum here. CODE RED for gender justice is proud to be a Black Feminisms Forum content partner.