Daniel Holtzclaw used his power as a police officer to exploit the most powerless group of women he could find–black ones. He targeted sex workers and drug addicts because he thought no one really cares about “these types” of women, nor are they often believed when they do report sexual assault, especially if it’s the guy in the blue uniform ostensibly keeping the peace.
This criminal is now facing 243 years in jail for 18 counts of forcible rape. Good. He’s getting what he deserves, because the women, although seemingly powerless, bravely spoke up. It’s kind of funny to watch him cry like a baby for getting thrown under the jail, especially since he probably smirked at all the black women who he was made to cry.
While this is great, black women are more likely to be raped in their own neighborhoods by men that look just like them. We can celebrate the conviction of this monster–and for some it is symbolic justice because he represents a white, powerful man who exploited a black person getting what he deserves, unlike times gone by when men of his ilk almost always got away with such things. I get it.
But the community can’t celebrate the punishment of this criminal while ignoring the greater, more prevalent problem of black girls and women being sexually assaulted and exploited by black men and then told not to snitch or guilted into putting another black man in jail, that is, even if they are believed.
The Department of Justice estimates that for every white woman that reports her rape, at least 5 white women do not report theirs; and yet, for every African-American woman that reports her rape, at least 15 African-American women do not report theirs.
According to an ongoing study conducted by Black Women’s Blueprint, sixty percent of Black girls have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 18. More than 300 Black women nationwide participated in the research project. A similar study conducted by The Black Women’s Health Imperative seven years ago found the rate of sexual assault was approximately 40%.
There are many reasons why Black women may choose not to report incidences of sexual assault. Survivors of all races often fear that they will not be believed or will be blamed for their attack, but Black women face unique challenges.
Historically, law enforcement has been used to control African-American communities through brutality and racial profiling. It may be difficult for a Black woman to seek help if she feels it could be at the expense of African-American men or her community. The history of racial injustice (particularly the stereotype of the Black male as a sexual predator) and the need to protect her community from further attack might persuade a survivor to remain silent. [SOURCE]
In both instances of the rape and exploitation of black women, the perpetrators are using their power to elicit silence from the victims in order to escape punishment and continue to commit these crimes without fear of punishment. The cop had the power of his position. gender, and whiteness. The black men who do the same have to power of their gender and victim status as targets for incarceration to guilt women not to speak up. One is not worse than the other. They are equally evil, and the punishment should also be equal. Rape is rape.