Content Warning, Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
This is a powerful community contribution we received from Kelly Diels-Rostant.
From the time I was four years old until the age of 11 or 12, I was sexually abused by a male family member.
Imagine, now, that there’s an event organized to celebrate the empowerment of women, and, accordingly make a strong statement against violence against women and girls.
Imagine that I’m invited to speak!
Now imagine that my abuser, the pedophile who violated and raped girls in my family, was also invited to speak.
In fact, a number of abusers were invited to speak. There was an entire panel composed of men with a history of violating women and girls.
The organizers at the pro-empowerment event invited both victims and abusers because they feel that’s a good way to end divisiveness and show we can all work together, abusers and victims.
Should I speak at this event? Should I attend? Should I withdraw quietly…
…or should I make a lot of noise and protest that abusers including my own abuser have been invited and featured at this event?
Personally, I would boycott and I would protest. I would not share the stage with my abuser.
This, to me, is the position Black Lives Matter is in with respect to the Pride parade. Black Lives Matter does not want the police included in the parade, because the police are the people doing the racial profiling and enacting brutality against them.
Black Lives Matter Vancouver does not wish to march in a parade with their abusers.
Please note that the point many people of colour and Black Lives Matters activists are trying to make is this: The Police Are Their Abusers.
The Police are Their Abusers.
This doesn’t mean that all police officers are abusers or that all cops racially profile and use excess force.
It means that there is a culture in the police force that protects the people who DO commit those crimes. They don’t get indicted for those crimes. They get suspended with pay and maybe some counseling.
Now, nice white people who haven’t had negative experiences with the police and who haven’t been racially profiled might not understand or agree with that. “The Police are Their Abusers” is a statement that might really sit badly with us, because we’ve learned our entire lives that the police are our friends and they protect us.
But for many people of colour – including my husband – the police are the ones who stop them for no reason except that they are black and brown. Many people of colour have experienced being harmed by police officers.
Black Lives Matter is a civil rights movement trying to end police brutality.
Why are you asking them to march with their abusers?
Why are you criticizing them for protesting being asked to share the stage with their abusers?
When my black husband was racially profiled by the Surrey RCMP earlier this year and I posted about it on Facebook, many kind white people said that was terrible and offered us their support.
They did not, however, write a post on Facebook complaining about the Surrey RCMP. They did not call their local police office to complain. They did not say, “see this is why we have division in our community; because police are racially profiling people of colour”. They did not criticize the police at all.
But the same nice white people people are quick to jump on Facebook and criticize of Black Lives Matter Vancouver for refusing to march with police at Pride.
If you have not criticized the oppression; if you have not spoken up to the POLICE against racial profiling and police brutality…
…then please do not criticize the victims and activists.
You’re literally blaming the victim and taking the side of the abuser.
I doubt you would ask me, a lovely white woman who is the survivor of sexual abuse, to share the stage with my abusers.
Don’t ask it of people of colour and Black Lives Matter Vancouver, either.