Guest Post by: Kawana Williams, MA, LPC
There are some mis-educated ass Negros walking this earth.
“K’dub, what’chu mean???? I thought that was a title of a book?????”
It is, in fact. It is also, however, a fitting description for a good majority of African-American males and females walking this spinning globe referred to as ‘Earth.’ “What are they mis-educated about?” you might ask…...let me tell you:
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE/SPOUSAL ABUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
About 4 months ago I was made aware of at least 4 homicides that occurred within some days, if not weeks, of each other: two in San Bernardino, California; one in Cleveland, Ohio; and one in Chicago, Illinois, respectively. And while all of the incidents were isolated, they all have one commonality: all stemmed from issues surrounding domestic violence. What I find most disturbing are the reactions of individuals not toward the abusers, but toward the victims………..THE VICTIMS!!!!!!!!!!!! As you read this, please be sure to insert an obligatory deep sigh, 360 degree neck roll, and knuckle pop...all of which I am currently doing as I prepare to offer an education on the intricate nuances of domestic violence and spousal abuse.
I am clear on human nature: I have studied, have earned, and am currently working on a PhD in it. As such, I am aware that it is human nature to have an opinion on a situation which you may only be vicariously privy to. And, beyond being an empath or a seer, all opinions on said situation(s) are subjective. It is also human nature to question that which one does not comprehend or cannot interpret.
Bearing all of this in mind…….
I am aware that, biologically and physiologically, males are the more logical species. You all need structure. You all require numbers. You all demand, what we females refer to as, ‘receipts’ (colloquial for “proof”). I am also aware that biologically and physiologically, females are the more nurturing and learned as the first teachers of this realm. We are also more prone to become CIA-grade investigators when it comes to locating information that they would like to obtain. And considering the very ignorant questions asked and comments being made regarding these murders, I feel obligated to offer the sound, empirical, and logical facts that both black men and women are in constant thirst for.
“Well, he had to have been showing signs before he killed her. How did she miss them?”
LEMME EDUCATE YOU:
I am a person who learns by example. The perfect example, or “receipt,” to further substantiate my response are two movies that give stellar examples of this particularly bothersome question: Enough and Sleeping with the Enemy. In both movies, the male initially presented as very charming, very loving, very attentive, very affectionate, very romantic, very compassionate…...essentially, at the onset of their relationships, these men presented as the prototype of Mr. Right, as most abusers tend to. Not every abuser shows signs at “hello.” Because abusers tend to be controlling and manipulative by nature, they will manipulate a situation to their advantage in order to achieve their ultimate objective: control over that woman.
“Well, why didn’t she just/why did it take so long for her to leave?”
Newsflash: LOTS OF THEM DO!!!!!!!!!! Allow me to educate you all on the statistics for those who chose to do so:
Nearly 3 out of 4 victims of stalking know their stalkers in some capacity. The most common relationship between the victim and perpetrator is a current or former intimate partner 76% of women murdered by an intimate partner were stalked first; 85% of women who survived murder attempts were stalked -National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 2015
The reality of domestic violence is this: while it takes more time for some victims to leave, others do choose to exercise their right to do so in order to secure their safety and sanity. And in doing this, they immediately become a threat to the stronghold that their former lovers once had over them. The one thing an abuser cannot emotionally handle is rejection or denial; either one is liable to trigger a negative emotion. And because, traditionally, men are not properly instructed on how to vet their emotions, those emotions typically manifest themselves into some sort of violence: passive-aggressive (stalking), direct (physical harm/homicide), or both.
And shall we get into the very popular merry-go-round of cyclical, unsolicited, ineffective criticisms made about domestic violence victims? It amazes me how, in one breath, most black men and women will follow the lead of Tyrese Gibson in offering suggestions on how to get and keep a man worth having and keeping; by the time the last piece of air leaves their bottom lips, however, they have torn down that woman for leaving the very man she was coached into being with, even if he is abusive towards her. Every question from “Why not get him some help?” to “Why are you still with him?” is asked of the abused; very rarely is the abuser questioned, checked, or held accountable for his acts by his male cohorts or his female circle. And my sneaking suspicion is that they wouldn’t be able to: black men and women are too occupied in their “Tribunal of It’s ALWAYS Her Fault” to acknowledge the fact that in order to be abused, there has to be an abuser….one who should be held to task for his actions.
Now that you all have been given a succinct piece of education so desperately needed, let’s deal with facts; I know that men, in particular, love those. The fact of matter is this: domestic violence is a multi-layered circumstance. One that is not always physical or obvious to the naked eye. Because it comes in such various forms (physical, mental, emotional, financial, religious, etc.), there are various means in which to handle it, none of which are immediately known to anyone who has never experienced, or been trained to handle, a domestic violence relationship. And if I were to briefly expose my neck for criticism in order to humor the starch criticisms of these victims, I would be inclined to agree with one aspect of your observations: some victims are aware of the actions and behaviors of their abusers, and do choose to continue their relationship with said abuser under the guise that they will be the catalyst for their abuser’s change. Even this, however, is not the fault of the abused. Stockholm Syndrome (where the victim empathizes with, and advocates for, their abuser) is a real as the African-American community is divided (which is to say, very much so). Beyond this, it is my earnest prayer that black men in particular, and African-Americans as a collective, begin to start educating yourselves on that which you so readily chastise…..and hold your male cohorts as accountable for their actions as you all are so readily willing and able to do with domestic violence victims.
…….because your mis-education is pissing me off………..
Kawana N. Williams is a native Chicagoan and the author of, “Coming to My Crossroads", a memoir about her diagnosis of and struggles with ovarian cancer. She is currently a licensed Professional counselor with the State of Illinois and a second year doctoral student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.