Sat December 8, 2012
Strange Fruit: Kasandra Perkins & Jovan Belcher; Sexual Assault in Communities of Color
It's been one week since Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher shocked the football world by shooting his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, then himself. In the intervening seven days, people have tried to make sense of his actions in different ways. Could he have suffered concussions during his time on the field, which made him prone to violence and poor impulse control? Some outlets speculated Belcher was angry at Perkins for various reasons. ESPN was criticized for airing a graphic in tribute to Belcher.
To try to make some sense of the story and resulting coverage, we called Gina McCauley, who blogs at What About Our Daughters. McCauley says all the speculation about the causes of last Saturday's events is offensive, and an avoidance tactic. "Why are we going out of our way to ignore the fact that the reason this woman was murdered is because of misogyny and sexism?" she asks. "She was murdered because he wanted to control her in some way. He couldn't, so he killed her."
Her post on the murder cites the CDC statistic that black women ages 25-29 are about 11 times more likely than white women in that age group to be murdered while pregnant, or within one year of giving birth. She had a lot to share with us about the disparity in those numbers and why the media doesn't talk about it in cases like this.
We also spoke this week with documentary filmmaker Aishah Shahidah Simmons, who directed "No! The Rape Documentary." In the film she examines sexual assault in communities of color, and unique issues surrounding survivors within our community.
- The Crucifixion of Kasandra Perkins: Victim Blaming, Black Maternal Homicide, and Stupidity, by Gina McCauley
- Getting Played: African American Girls, Urban Inequality, and Gendered Violence, by Jody Miller (mentioned by Gina McCauley during her interview)
- No! The Rape Documentary, produced, written, and directed by Aishah Shadidah Simmons