Commentator's Column: Raging Against Our Rape Culture

I miss wielding the “power of the pen” as Ida B. Wells, an African-American leader, journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, and newspaper owner along with her husband Ferdinand L. Barnett, potently declared during the early stages of the civil rights movement.  I love the creative energy of all forms of writing from poetry to blogging to the journalistic prowess of interviewing local Black entrepreneurs and community leaders in the city of Philadelphia.  When Empress Phile, the Founder of the National Million Women’s Movement asked me to join forces with her as she celebrates the Sweet 16 Reunion of the Million Women’s March and to address the victimization of women as a “rage against the machine,” I humbly accepted.

As most of you know, I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse; particularly, female on female incest.  So, of course, I would write about sexual victimization against women, particularly, because it ties directly into my curriculum titled, Demystifying Sexuality & The Impact of Trauma: An 8-session Holistic Psycho-educational Curriculum About the Impact of Trauma on Sexuality, and the work my husband, William, and I do on the affects of sexual victimization within Black heterosexual relationships.  William’s ability to connect the theories derived from Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome and  identify and communicate the appropriate language to what Black men experience in intimate relationships when their partners are triggered, distrustful, fearful, hurtful, defensive, unaware, emotionless, emotional, irrational, cold, disheartened, shamed, dishonored, dishonorable, disrespected, disrespectful, etc. is reflective and enlightening.  Furthermore, as I obey the 4 aspects of the Universal Law of Value, according to the 12 Universal Laws of Success by Herbert Harris, I consciously value my time, thoughts, actions, and money.  In other words, if my actions, endeavors, friendships, partnerships, etc. do not align with my purpose, then I opt out.  Thus, I accepted with gratitude Empress’ consideration of me as a rage against the machine through wielding power through my pen.

Candidly, wielding the power of the pen as a rage against the machine seemed daunting initially.  However, the sleeping giant within me awakened and the Google search began.  My research led me to an unfamiliar concept of “rape culture.”  Although, the term’s first use dates back to the 1970s, I never heard of its definition or ideological context.  Further goggling, led me to read Marshall University’s definition of rape culture, which is “an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.  Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety”.  After I read this definition, I decided while I was wielding and raging that I also needed to re-frame my paradigm of sexual victimization of women.  Aligning my wielding and raging with Empress’ vision of the Sweet 16 Reunion allowed me to broaden my scope of sexual victimization from a micro, personal experience to macro, cultural phenomena.

Thus, I extend my first invitation to you to follow my weekly blog posts every Thursday on the Greatness page.  Next, I invite you to wield, rage, and re-frame with me as I continue to Google, interview others, and comment about the rape culture interwoven in the fabrics of our world, which is apparent to some and inconspicuous to others.

Wielding, raging, re-framing…

Dr. Latisha Webb

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