Thursday, October 29, 2009

silence the violence SPEAK OUT!

Richmond High Responds to Homecoming Rape from New America Media on Vimeo.

WRENAGADE: Never been afraid to speak on it, Never would stand by and not protect a sister getting assaulted, forever working hoping and praying that this world is safer, better for the next generation, especially for young girls and my future daughter...any women who has been assaulted, harassed, raped, through out history, whether by a soldier, or someone that's supposed to protect you, a preacher, or a stranger, you are not invisible. We are all victims unless we speak out.
First off I am filled with a lot of emotion about this incident that happened in the near by Bay Area city Richmond, California, to a young 15 year old girl. Especially, but not just because of the fact that, it is reported that there were by standers that did nothing and even cheered on the attacker. My first reaction is just that this is one act of horrible violence, that is one of way too many. I have too many friends who have confided that they too were raped. I have heard too many stories through out history of soldiers raping women, not just in some foreign land, but also right here, the American Holocaust. Too many in history that is not what you read in the books, too many in my life time, and too many who have felt invisible, and stayed silent. Too many communities with out unity. Too many young people exposed to violence. Too Many young girls staying silent. Too Many victims who feel they can never heal that there power is taken from them, and they wish to hide to never reveal. Too Many women have been assaulted, and felt it was there fault, or known that people would look down on them, as if they brought it upon themselves. Too many have kept silent, held back pain, supressed the crimes done to them. Its 2009 and its time for any hidden crimes to shine so that justice can be reached. Rapist have no face, n they are definitely not 1 color (although statistically in the U.S white male rapists are the highest percent) I dont know the whole stoy of went down in Richmond but ive already heard ignorant voices about Richmond and Race and the crime that went down and people assuming. All i know is what i heard that 2O something people stood by while a young girl was raped, i dont have words to describe how out of pocket that is.

This incident is not a local problem and it should mos def not be what richmond is known for, no matter what the media spins on it, this is an injustice that is found around the world and will continue to go on unless people speak out everytime it occurs and demand justice. Forget what you may think, and think of your children and your wish for her or him to be protected.

According to the LA times:
Bay Area girl gang raped at school while witnesses watch but do nothing October 26, 2009| 5:41 pm A 15-year-old girl who went to her homecoming dance was repeatedly gang raped and beaten at Richmond High School for at least two hours while more than a dozen witnesses saw the assault but failed to call police, authorities said today.The attack occurred Saturday around 9:30 p.m. after the girl had left the dance and was waiting for a ride from her father. She saw a male student she knew, who took her to a dark alley behind one of the school buildings, Richmond police said.Police said alcohol was consumed but were awaiting toxicology tests.The male student and about six others began raping and beating the girl. As she struggled, more than a dozen witnesses passed by or watched what was going on. The ordeal lasted 2 to 2 1/2 hours, police said."The victim was beaten, sexually assaulted and robbed," said Lt. Mark Gagan. "What's equally disturbing is that other people saw what was going on and did nothing."Police were finally called after a female student overhead people talking about the rape. She called 911 and told dispatchers what she had heard, according to Gagan.The girl was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.A former student, Manuel Ortega, 19, was arrested a few blocks away Saturday night and booked on charges of rape, robbery and kidnapping, Gagan said. Ortega was being held Monday on $800,000 bail.

For this young victim and for anyone who has been raped, you are not invisible, and there is no shame in speaking out against the horribe crime done to you, you are not damaged, the only one in the wrong is the person that commits the rape, or anyone who stands by and lets it happen.

{by singer, song writer, all around fly artivist: Siaira Shawn}
What does it mean, if things obscene seen and no help you bring
The song I sing, silenced, the quiet violence or the noisy love
To both you shrug and ignore the blood

Am I invisible or do you just not care to look
Am I expendable, do you care when my life is took

Sweep things under the rug, until they have to be dug, from under
Appalled at the plunder, slumber on it, but still condone it
Treat us like enemy or your opponent

Am I invisible or do you just not care to look
Am I expendable, do you care when my life is took

her thoughts on writing this piece:
SIAIRA SHAWN:I wrote this awhile ago, it was sparked by an incident that happened to a young women who went to Mills and she was attending school in New York. She was living with roommates and they discovered her dead body in the room days later; she had been beaten to death by her former boyfriend and left for dead.

Around this time other violent crimes against Black women were happening as they have for centuries and there was no or little media coverage or outcry. It seems that when something happens to women of color we are supposed to take it and be silenced, we are not valued or respected and that is why things like this young girl in Richmond getting beaten and gang raped while people watched can occur. What are we teaching our men, our women, ourselves? These things must not be allowed to go on!


*Statistics indicate that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men will become victims of sexual assualt during their lifetime *36% of new victims served by the Rape Crisis Center are between the ages of 0-17 *Every two and a half minutes someone in America is sexually assaulted *More that 1/2 of sexual assualts go unreported, (last year Rape Crisis served 313 victims, so just imagine how many more victims are out there that never reported the crime!) *False accustations of sexual assualt are estimated to occur at a low rate of 2%- similiar to the rate of false accustations of other crimes *The chances that a woman will develop PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) after being sexually assaulted are between 50%-95% (Proving that this is a serious crime, and not something that happened in one night and someone can get over easily!)

For more information and statistics visit:

After posting a note about this incident I was outraged to find out that based on a law that diferentiates between victims that are 14 vs 15 (the age of the victim) those people people that stood by and laughed while this crime was commited will not be charged with anything:
Catherine-Mercedes Brillantes Judge

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

California police now say as many as 20 people were present at the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl outside a high school homecoming dance last weekend. 10 people were involved in an assault in a back alley at the school that went on for more than two-and-a-half hours. 10 people stood around and watched without calling 9-1-1 to report it. Police say some witnesses took photos, while others laughed.

Police say a student at Richmond High School was gang raped outside during a homecoming dance.
Police say a student at Richmond High School was gang raped outside during a homecoming dance.

California law makes it illegal not to report a crime against a child, but the cutoff is 14-years-old. Since the victim in this case is 15, cops say they can't arrest the spectators. The law needs to be changed immediately.

Meanwhile this horrific rape of a young girl follows that brutal beating death caught on video of a 16-year-old honor student in Chicago.

That case has been hampered by the refusal of witnesses to come forward. These kids in Chicago also stood by and watched this teenager murdered - beaten to death in broad daylight - and did nothing.

Experts say the reason crimes aren't reported could be a social phenomenon known as "the bystander effect" that means the larger the number of people involved in any situation, the less will get done...

One famous case happened in New York in the 1960s - where people watched or heard a serial killer rape, rob and murder a woman named Kitty Genovese. At the time, one witness said: "I didn't want to be involved."

Here’s my question to you: Should people who witness a crime, like the gang rape of a 15-year-old California girl, face jail for failing to report it?

Beautiful Resistance ft. Eligh - Mystic

Beautiful Resistance
(inspired by @thatgirlmystic 's songs, albums, and beautiful spirit)

he Tried to devour my soul today
They tried to take my power away
Feels like I dont have a choice
But its still a beautiful resistance
Born into this world
Hurled into it
I can smile thru tears
Because I cry flowers
Seen friends killed with my own eyes
So I know violence
Too wise for the lies
Heard my mamas cries
ReLiving being raped
Vowed to be my families protector
at the age of 8
For the young girl who stayed silent
When he said dont tell
For the woman who still
Lives with the memory of Hell
For wives who stay silent
thinking it wont be considered violence
For anyone thinking that its accepted
For the young girl neglected n molested
For the victim who blamed herself
Because she was reckless
For all women who wear shame like a necklace
The only one shamed or in the wrong is who did it
or anyone that didn't put up a Beautiful Resistance
Speak on it because the world needs to hear you
Speak on it cause every young girl hurled into this world
need to hear it
No one can take your beautiful spirit.

In thinking about this incident as what it represents as problem in our community, just like any problem of violence or harm, as an activist I begin to think of solutions. I have had many conversations with close friends who like myself organized at the Ella Baker center against Police Injustice and the murder of Oscar Grant. One thing that we all noticed was that the amount of women organizing for justic for this young mans life was way more than the men that chose to come with us. In thinking about this injustice to this young woman I thought about that, more in theory than in actuality. What if men protected us in the ways we protect them? I just read an amazing poem by someone I am honored to call a friend, and his words brought my questions to actuality. There are men out there who are wise and willing to teach, and it gives me hope when I hear men speaking out like this:

To the Young Men who Watched and Said Nothing
By Josh Healy
I went to the Peace March this part Saturday that was organized in response to the recent gang-rape at Richmond High School. It was a healing event for a lot of folks. Despite the tragedy that brought us together, the spirit of love and solidarity was strong. Dennis Kim gave one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard at a rally. Youth Speaks had a contingent out to support, and I felt good about our presence. But something strange happened as well. First once, then twice, and finally almost a dozen times, I was approached by women in the march who said to me, “Thanks for being here.” Almost like it was a surprise that I, a man, was there to take a stand against violence towards women. There were a decent number of men at the march, but I realized that, amongst many other things, we really do need men speaking to other men about this issue. Despite the media hype, the Richmond High incident unfortunately is far from isolated. This shit happens all the time – and not just in Richmond. It does no good to further criminalize East Bay youth. The question is: how can we stop sexual violence against women EVERYWHERE? As someone who’s had the privilege of working with some brilliant, amazing students (young men & women) at Richmond High, and across the Bay, I wanted to talk directly to the folks who I think could make the change we need. To the Young Men who Watched and Said Nothing i call you young men,not boys.but i don’t mean thatas a compliment. boys play freeze tagand three-on-three.young men watcha mob assaulting their classmateand go home to watch MTV. i don’t know your names,but you knew wasn’t Jane Doe. i know this shithappens heard what the football teamdid to that girl in El might have been pushedagainst a wall yourself once.pants pressed to your ankles,forced to turn around and take itlike a man. you know what rape is. you should have been inside at the dance.getting your off-beat grind onor standing awkwardly in the cornerlike teenage boys are supposed to. but you went outside, to the courtyard.and you saw what they were doingto her. you said nothing. you watched them:punch, scratch, choke, violate herfor one hundred and twenty seven minutes. you said nothing. you left to go to the bathroom,came back, and they werestill at it. you said… and i know you were scaredthat you’d get jumped.get called a snitch, a bitch, a punkwho’s as white as his tall tee. but what colors did you see that night in Richmond?do you remember the reds of her knuckles? the blues in her eyes?the blacks of her throat as she screamed for Someone, Anyone? i am not perfect. not evenin the same area code as perfection.i am a young man myself, after all. i have never hit a woman, but thatdoesn’t mean i have never hurt one. i was raised by my mom,grandmom, aunt, and my little sister-cousin.she is 16 now. the same ageas the girl you saw in that courtyard.who do you think i thought of when i heard?can you look your own sisters in the eye? and i was raised by my saint either, but he was with meat my Bar Mitzvah, the day that i became a father is a good man. he loves me. and i still love a brother, who’s fucked upin ways I couldn’t have imagined.l ike a student, who’s brilliant but got caught up in some horribly stupid a young man,who isn’t a boy no more

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