Opinions & Features March 20, 2018 at 08:22 am

The cover ups and the shame: Black men and molestation

Farida Dawkins | Contributor

Farida Dawkins March 20, 2018 at 08:22 am

March 20, 2018 at 08:22 am | Opinions & Features

Charlemagne Tha God...Johnathan-Mannion

According to a survey conducted in 2005 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, one in six men have experienced sexual abuse before they reached the age of 18. Dr. Robin D. Stone, author of No Secrets, No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal From Sexual Abuse stated that about 14 percent of child sexual assault victims are male.

Many sexual assault-based crimes in the black community are underreported or unreported altogether; hence the unavailability of studies pointing to sexual abuse in African-American communities. The effects of the trauma are also left untreated.

Charlemagne Tha God, the often controversial and one-third of the trio that hosts “The Breakfast Club” on New York City’s 105.1 FM revealed on the docu-series “UNCENSORED” that he was molested as a child by his cousin’s ex-wife.

He explained: “I was molested when I was 8 years old by my cousin’s ex-wife,” “I didn’t even realize it was something wrong until I saw Tyler Perry on Oprah Winfrey…I thought why is he crying but I enjoyed it? It made me wonder if something was wrong with me? I can’t really remember how it started, but I know it happened a few times.”

When Charlemagne protested against the alleged actions, his perpetrator mocked him about his appearance: ” She would just try to demean me from that point on.”

Terry Crews the football star turned actor has also recalled his experiences of sexual abuse.  After being groped in 2016 by a male Hollywood executive – in front of his wife. Crews was afraid if he retaliated, he would be blackballed or put in jail: “‘240 lbs. Black Man stomps out Hollywood Honcho’ would be the headline the next day” he responded.

Derek Luke shared his sexual abuse in a 1998 interview with CNN about his role in the movie, “Antwone Fisher” “Yeah, I would say. I was molested. I try not to emphasize on me because I feel Antwone had a harder life. I think sometimes people feel it may be selfish as an actor to use what you drew on to subtract from the real story. My whole thing was I felt free when I read the script. I felt like maybe I get to hide behind the script and tell my story. I was molested, and I have my own personal fight. That was a challenge for me, even now talking about it. But my whole thing was to bring justice to the Antwones of the world.” [sic]

Celebrities are afforded a worthwhile privilege in that they can use their status to highlight issues affecting their communities if they so choose.  For every black man that speaks up about molestation, there are a hundred behind him who are cloaked with shame and fear or may think the behavior is acceptable.

We’re taught to keep our dirty secrets with us till we hit the grave.  We are a resilient people nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that our path to healing is any more unique.  The more we are able to talk about the traumas we go through and the effects of generational patterns that are passed down to us, the more we can stop those patterns from materializing further.

So, while it is daunting, it’s imperative we acknowledge that there are male and female predators in our communities that go unpunished, that the pain resulting from sexual assault affects the black family as a whole entity, and black men who discuss it are empowered – not weak or soft.

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