For some odd reason, it may not be that odd, but my stomach actually drops when I type the word rape, at least it feels like it. It's such an ugly word. It's one of those words that make your face scrunch up. So, to avoid that feeling as much as I can, I won't even bother putting the word down on paper. Well, I will try not to anyway. The "r" word and I have a pesky relationship. To be honest, I hadn't given the word, the meaning behind the word, nor any actions associated with the word any thought until that whole thing with my brother. Now my ears and eyes are open and I have noticed that my perspective is uncommon. I think it's safe to say that most women haven't had their younger brothers taken to prison, falsely, on a rape charge? Most mothers did not have to witness their 16 year old son being dragged away by the cops because some girl said he raped her, to know her son is no rapist. Most families don't have to worry about reading the local newspapers wondering how to respond to all the folks slandering your loved one's name in their defense. I get it, they might not get where I am coming from. That's fine. They might not ever understand my perspective and that is fine too. Truth is, when I hear the "R" word I am sometimes skeptical. There I said it!
While there are ton of folks out there quick to call Nate Parker a rapist, I am still choosing to call him brilliant. Hearing of his rape incident in which he was exonerated I was absolutely appalled for a few reasons:
1. This wasn't new news
2. There were folks selecting to hop on bandwagons without fully knowing the details
3. There were and still are talks of boycotting his monumental film "Birth of a Nation"
This is was my take on it in a series of tweets, initially:
This is how I still feel now, so there is no need to elaborate on any of these points. I took a few days to calm down because I was just at the point of lividness about the entire ordeal. There were attempts to stay away from bloggers and even his own social media accounts because I knew what I would see; commenters simply making presence known with one hateful or another.
Then I saw some opinions of men and how "white girls" approach the "r" word. I could relate to their accounts because I have had my share of "white" roommates. It got me thinking to my own story.
This was YEARS ago. I am not going to say any names or give any specific time just to protect him. I was in a relationship with a guy. We visited each other frequently, as those in a relationship do. This particular timeI was visiting him at his place. Unfortunately, I was sick, like really sick. I had a horrible cold and it could have possibly been the flu. I had to have really been sick because I took some cold and flu meds (which I normally don't do) and went to sleep. It was one of those after church and brunch kind of naps. Somewhere in the middle of the nap I wake up, woozy, not really sure what was going on but I do know that my then boyfriend was feeling me up. Maybe I drank too much Theraflu. Maybe I was still asleep and kind of dreaming. I wasn't sure at first. So I just laid there. I was definitely not in the mood to be intimate but there was something holding me back from saying or doing anything. Finally, I got the strength to open my eyes, just before it got real heated. I mustard up enough fortitude to say very quietly and calmly, "hey, what are you doing?" Do you know he looked at me like nothing was going on. "What?" He shrugged. It was almost like he was completely clueless that what he was doing was not ok. I sat straight up in the bed and said "um, how could you possibly be think I want to do it right now? I am sick." At this point I don't know what was going on through his head but the look on his face said that he was embarrassed. He apologized. He got up and left the room. I rolled over and went back to sleep. We never spoke about that moment again. Did I say no, absolutely? No. Had we had sex before? Yes. Had he waken me up to have sex before? Yes. So was this time an attempt at rape? I don't think so. But I am sure somewhere some "feminist" will have something to say about him and how he handled this situation. Now if I would've gone full throttle with this incident, I could have had gone ballistic and accused up of trying to rape me. But I don't play with the "r" word. EVER.
The point I am trying to make is... I think we have all encountered some form of blurred line, rather it was the "r" word or some other kind of word that makes you extremely uncomfortable. I honestly feel really bad for Nate Parker. This one incident has seemingly negated all of his brilliant work. Again, I am not defending anyone who is an actual rapist but do we really know who is a rapist unless we have been on the other side of the rape? Are we just quick to judge? Are we saying once a rapist, always a rapist? Is it the same for thieves, adulterers? Are we saying one cannot grow, mature, reform and be redeemed?
Just something to think about. What say you?