Cold Silence of Sexual Harassment in African American Communities

Photo illustration by: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Photo Editor and Jasmine Mochizuki / Visual Editor

A lot of young women of color are victims to sexual assault, and with lack of resources many of those women deal with psychological trauma such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), anxiety, depression, drug-abuse, and even commit suicide.

“Sexual violence perpetrated against Black women is often ignored or dismissed due to untrue biases regarding their sexuality. However this myth and other very real issues have influenced the number of black women who report sexual assault. For every 15 Black women who are raped, only one reports her assault,” according to the National Organization for Women: Black Women and Sexual Violence. Bringing more awareness towards African American communities will help any woman, man, and child of any age to have the courage to seek help, and have accessible resources provided to them. Regardless of any age whether they are 6, 13, 16, 24, 32, or even 57 years old a victim of sexual assault should be able to speak up and speak out.

What can Black communities do to prevent, notice signs of sexual harassment, and take action once aware? Help to get the victim away from the sexual abuser, make a police report to their local law enforcement, listen to the victim if they are telling you what’s going on with them, be more open to trust and speaking freely with your child/family member so they feel comfortable to talk to you if anything ever happened, consider counseling, and so much more.

Another prevailing issue with sexual harassment, in the African American community is the misogyny and discrimination of Black women and children being hypersexulaized just for their looks. Young black girls have dealt with sexual harassment due to them being perceived as “grown” or “of age” because of puberty, and their natural sassy personalities. Those same girls will be called “fast,” “looking for it,” and oftentimes, told to cover up in their own homes when their step father is around, uncle’s, cousin’s, and more. Children, teens, and young women abide by rules in the comfort of their home, however, what about the men who are invasive and don’t abide by their privacy? With more education towards mother’s, father’s, grandparent’s, school systems, law enforcement, and more to know the signs of sexual harassment, actually help instead of turning a blind eye, removing the victim from the situation, and giving them the proper care and resources they need hopefully less sexual harassment will stop in African American communities globally.

6 thoughts on “Cold Silence of Sexual Harassment in African American Communities

  1. Hello Alex. This is such an interesting topic to focus your photojournalism project on. I like how you included a lot of information in this summary and it looks like you’ve already begun your research. This is an issue that we should all be curious to learn more about. Good Luck!

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  2. Hey Alex! This topic is super interesting for your photo journalism project! I love how you seem to have a good amount of knowledge about the issue, which makes me even more intrigued to learn, because you took the time to educate yourself before passing it on to your audience. Good luck, I can’t wait to see the finished product!

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  3. Hey Alex! This is going to be such an amazing story. You are shedding light on a significant issue. I think in our community, a lot of issues get ignored or swept under the rug. I hope your photojournalism story is bigger than this assignment. I hope people learn a lot from the photos you use for this topic.

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  4. Hi Alex, this is a sensitive and interesting topic. Sexual harassment and discrimination are among the most crimes that societies everywhere face. Focusing on these problems in societies increases awareness and reduces the rates of these crimes. I think this topic is a good choice to talk about. I wish you good luck with your project.

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  5. Hi Alex. I understand that this topic can be very hard to discuss openly but I am so glad that you did. As a woman, I feel this is not talked about enough, and when it is, it is taken lightly. I cannot wait to see what you do with this as your photojournalism piece if you stick with this.

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  6. Hello Alex, I comprehend how PTSD is a rough topic to be talking about or any mental health condition in general. However, bringing these matter of topic into your audience is great to persuade but also to make them know that sexual harassment and discrimination are problems that need to be focused on. I think this will make a great help/source for your photojournalism piece. Keep it up.

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