We Pledge to Protect Black Women and Girls
Black women and girls deserve to love freely and be loved, to be protected from abuse, and to be taken seriously when we ask for help. We deserve recognition of the full scope of our humanity.
As we enter 2019, Color Of Change and our partners are creating a world where Black women and girls lives and stories not only matter, they’re centered. This is why we’re partnering with Lifetime TV as they premiere their new docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly. Over the past 20+ years, numerous Black women and girls have come forward with allegations of sexual, mental, and emotional abuse at the hands of R. Kelly — they’ve been met with disbelief and ridicule. We’re saying enough is enough.
Studies have shown that racist and sexist assumptions about Black girls and women make us more likely to experience sexual, psychological and physical violence in our lifetimes; to be disbelieved or dismissed when we try to seek out help and support; to be arrested when we call the police to report violence from an intimate partner; and to be assaulted and subjected to sexual violence from police officers. 60% of Black girls are sexually abused before they reach the age of 18 in part because adults view Black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than their white peers, especially in the age range of 5–14, perceiving Black girls as needing less nurturing, protection, support and comfort, and as more sexual, at an earlier age.
The violence against Black women doesn’t end in childhood. Black women face higher instances of domestic violence and higher instances of medical maltreatment and maternal mortality, all due to them not being believed by professionals whose job it is to help. And it is enablers, like R. Kelly’s record label, RCA Records, who continue to provide protection for abusers of Black women and girls and shield them from suffering any consequences.
It is the obligation of all of us to show up for Black women—and to demand a cost from those who won’t. It is our duty as a community to protect Black girls from sexual violence and exploitation. As we begin this new year, we’re letting abusers and their enablers know that their time is up and we’re taking a stand for Black women and girls and we're asking for you to join us in pledging to protect Black girls and women.