Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 10.58.13 AMDetails have emerged about the NBA star Derrick Rose’s rape case and they are absolutely disturbing. Back in 2015, an unidentified woman filed a lawsuit claiming that Rose and two of his closest friends gang raped her while she was unconscious. Court documents reveal that Rose pressured the victim to engage in various sexual acts, including webcam and group sex (which she refused to participate in). On the night of the alleged rape, the victim left Rose’s house intoxicated and got in a taxi to her apartment. Rose later decided to show up to her house with his two friends, even though she wasn’t answering her phone or responding to text messages and that is when the alleged rape happened.

In a deposition, Rose highlighted the unstated reason why he and his friends went to the victim’s home:

Q: Did either Mr. Hampton or Mr. Allen tell you why they wanted to go to Plaintiff’s home on the night in question?

Rose: No. No.

Q: So they just said, ‘Hey, it’s the middle of the night. Let’s go over to Plaintiff’s house’ and they never gave you a reason why they wanted to go over there?’

Rose: No, but we men. You can assume.

Q: I’m sorry?

Rose: I said we men. You can assume. Like we leaving to go over to someone’s house at 1:00, there’s nothing to talk about.

“We men. You can assume,” is the rationale of a man bound to myths of hypersexuality, hypermasculinity and rape culture. That anyone can assume another person’s consent to sexual acts, is the inherent problem in this entire situation.

This all comes on the heels of the backlash against Nate Parker, following distasteful interviews he did about his rape trial back in 1999. And the conviction of ex-NFL star Darren Sharper who recently received an 18-year prison sentence for drugging and raping as many as 16 women in four different states.

“I would like to apologize a thousand times,” Sharper said during his sentencing, “I’m still trying to figure out why I made some of these choices.”

Why rapists rape is most certainly an important question for which there is no simple answer. However, I think it is equally important to also question why so many Black men refuse to take a stand against what is evidently a culture of rape? A culture where every year we are confronted with male sexual violence against women and yet we continue to pretend that culture does not exist.

As these victims and the 60% of Black women who are sexually abused by the age of 18 know: It does.

Conversations surrounding rape culture and the sexual abuse of women have sprung up, not only because there are public figures being tried for such cases, but because women are empowering other women to speak up about the abuses they face and challenging the system to listen to the pleas for change. Women are saying “no means no” and drawing the lines that establish consent and men must learn to respect those lines. Consent culture was created to combat rape culture; promoting a paradigm shift.

Black women no longer care whether or not our declarations that Black men need to stop raping and sexually abusing women have a negative impact on the Black men’s overall public image. Yes, we very well know that stereotypes and myths about predatory Black men have long been used as racist tools of White Supremacy. We also very well know that rape and sexual abuse are misogynistic tools of abuse used by Black men against Black women. These two realities simultaneously exist. And they can simultaneously be defeated.

How?

More Black men need to publicly stand against rape culture and the sexual abuse of women. Black men need to not rape and condemn those who do rape. These actions would combat misogyny and promote better relations with women, while dismantling myths of the predatory “hypersexual” Black man. Instead, too many Black men are cowering like boys; hiding behind White daddy patriarchy and racism, demanding Black women be silent about the abuse of our bodies.

In this new paradigm, rape culture can no longer be a viable option. And neither can silence about it.

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