jessica valenti

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But R. Kelly is an actual predator. It’s well documented. He has actual victims. That’s the other side. He confirms not just the suspicions around black male sexuality, but that of black women’s sexuality. Kelly’s victims are young girls. Had they been young white girls, the collective “we” would have been much more outraged, because their “virtue” is to be protected. Not only do we not care about black girls, we believe their sexuality is something over which they exercise no control. They are jezebels and vixens from an early age. Their sexual appetites are insatiable, and their desire to use their sexuality to “destroy” men is not repressed. They crave the attention. They aren’t human beings with healthy sexual urges or agency. They are hottentots incarnate.

R. Kelly beat the charges against him and went on to produce more music, win more awards, make more money, and establish himself as a pop cultural icon. In his path are the lives of young black girls, now women, that he abused.

Understanding the R. Kelly phenomenon — and then ending it, Mychal Denzel Smith, Feministing  

Mychal’s writing continues to blow me away. If you’re not already following him, please do. In addition to writing for Feministing, he also contributes to The Nation.

When I was a volunteer emergency room advocate for victims of rape and domestic violence, the first question we were trained to ask women who had been abused by their partners was whether or not there was a gun in the home. Because we knew that women whose partners had access to a gun were 7 times more likely to be killed. In fact, women who are killed by their partners are more likely to be murdered by a gun than all other means combined.

Despite this tower of evidence, people will continue to insist that these women could have somehow stopped the violence. (Inaccuracies aside, the idea that women have a responsibility to keep someone from killing them rather than an abuser not to commit murder is baffling.)

"American Horror Story," my latest at The Nation on how the myth-making around domestic violence is killing women.

The average prison sentence for men who kill their intimate partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their partners are sentenced, on average, to 15 years.17 A pair of Maryland cases vividly illustrates this inequality in sentencing.18 In one case, a judge in Baltimore County, Maryland sentenced Kenneth Peacock to 18 months for killing his unfaithful wife. The very next day, another judge in the same county sentenced Patricia Ann Hawkins to three years in prison for killing her abusive husband. Significantly, the prosecutor in the Peacock case requested a sentence twice as long as the one imposed, while the prosecutor in the Hawkins case requested one-third of the sentence imposed.

The Michigan Women’s Justice & Clemency Project (via illegalplumpudding)

“As many as 90% of the women in prison today [2008] for killing men had been battered by those men.15

(via bananapeppers)

Another reason the argument that Kasandra Perkins should have had a gun to protect herself falls flat. 

(via sodisarmingdarling)

Media tributes to [Jovan] Belcher are problematic because they place him, those who witnessed his death, and those will play for the Chiefs without him, before the life and memory of the woman he murdered. When we reduce Kasandra to a role in relation to Belcher in headlines, only refer to her by her gender, or render her nameless and make no mention of her at all, we strip her of dignity and humanity and make her a mere casualty of a “larger” tragedy.

Campus Progress (no author listed)