Sisterhood Agenda

Sexual Assault Survivors Speak Out

kesha

Angela D. Coleman

Angela, Founding President of Sisterhood Agenda, is a sisterhood activist, publisher and author.

Latest posts by Angela D. Coleman (see all)

Huffington Post had a great slideshow highlighting the trauma suffered by sexual assault survivors speaking out the best way that they can.  Like Kesha, the pop star whose claims of abuse, including rape, were not taken into serious consideration by the courts, there are many women who come forward and are not believed.

Recalling sexual assault without support and guidance to heal can create deeper and more institutionalized traumatic experiences.  This is hitting a nerve with a lot of women, who are now uniting in support of Kesha, in the spirit of sisterhood.  It makes sense:  the majority of women have experienced sexual abuse by the time they are 18.

In her article on Catch News, Manimanjari Sengupta asks the very valid question:

“This woman is an international pop phenomenon – a wealthy, attractive white celebrity, who epitomises the privileged class. When a woman in a position of power like pop-star Kesha Rose Sebert, is told that her experiences of pain and assault are at best ‘speculative’ when compared to state contract law, is it possible for victims of sexual assault to have faith in a justice system?”

As women, especially those with careers in the entertainment industry, we have to take note.  Institutions, such as local court systems, do not generally have the interests of women at heart.  Instead, they often prioritize maintenance of status quo commericial interests at the expense of those marginalized. Those who are not in positions of social power suffer most from institutionalized marginalization and institutionalized trauma.

(Pool photo by Jefferson Siegel) - Kesha (center in white) cries as she learns she will not be released from her record label contract in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday, February 19, 2016. A judge said she would not allow Kesha to leave her record label. (Pool Photo by Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
(Pool photo by Jefferson Siegel) – Kesha (center in white) cries as she learns she will not be released from her record label contract in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday, February 19, 2016. A judge said she would not allow Kesha to leave her record label. (Pool Photo by Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Historically, court systems have marginalized women and other groups, too.  For example, we can see how courts denied voting and property rights to ethnic groups and women, upheld the legal rights of men to kill Native Americans and the “rights” of slave-owners over the men, women and children of African descent who were treated as “property,” plus maintain inhumane treatment in many U.S. prisons and mental health facilities. Is it no wonder that women today are treated as commodities for corporate representatives to exploit for personal and professional gain?

Antiquated in their thinking, our local legal systems often have to catch up to modern times, particularly regarding our current knowledge about crime, women and trauma. Sexual assault is a widely unreported crime.  If courts make it difficult for women to get justice, it will remain so.

“Kesha had the courage to take a stand.  While she did not ‘win’ her legal battle, she is winning by bringing awareness to the issue of sexual assault and trauma.  She has inspired our sisterhood.  We must speak out:  injustice for one is injustice for all. We are all connected.”

Speaking out and reclaiming your voice is not just good for raising awareness and connecting with other women.  Speaking out is an important step in your healing and recovery process.  We must also reclaim our bodies-the right to do what we want, when we want, how we want to do it, and with whom.  Allowing others to do it for us leaves us vulnerable.  Reclaiming our bodies for ourselves is empowering.

Want sisterhood support?  Check out sisterhood Agenda’s trauma-informed Sister Circles for empowerment and healing.

Source for Huffington Post Images

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