All Articles Tagged "sexual assault"
As Clarke Gail Baines pointed out in her recent post, there are certainly times when our favorite songs give us reason to pause.
In her case it was Miguel’s “How Many Drinks.” In my case that song has always been Aaron Hall’s “Don’t Be Afraid” (Nasty Man Groove), which includes such questionable narration as this:
“No need to run and no need to hide / All the doors are locked baby and I have you inside / You can yell and you can hit me / It just makes me more horny”
Yeah, somebody needs to get detectives Stabler and Benson up in here because we might have a predator on the loose. Seriously, I do not want this song following me down a dark alley. But at one time in my past, I remember this being one of my favorite Hall songs. Just goes to show you how contradictory our culture is about the message of the wrongness of sexual assault.
As defined by this anti-rape culture website:
“Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as ‘just the way things are.’”
Sort of how we indoctrinate women (since birth) on how not to get raped (including erroneous advice, which in some cases can run dangerously counterproductive to the realities of sexual assault) yet neglect to reinforce with the same level of tenacity the concept of “do not rape.” You know, like teaching folks that certain behavior, say like holding a yelling and screaming woman against her will, a la Hall in this song, is likely not an indication that this anonymous woman is looking for a little sexay time. In fact, as the song title suggests, she actually sounds pretty afraid.
We can say that it was just a sign of the times, that folks didn’t know better, however folks have been having this same conversation since Bing Crosby put a little something extra in Doris Day’s cocktail, while trying to convince her to stay the night because, Baby It’s Cold Outside. And that’s a damn holiday song that our grand folks were singing as they toasted egg nog around Christmas trees. Point is, sexual violence against women has long been normalized in society. And it is not just reflective in music. The website Racialious did an excellent job breaking down how we routinely paint problematic behavior in all forms of popular culture as okay, and even laudable or romantic. Basically in the world of popular culture, the accepted idea is that consent is erroneous. And that women, in particular, can always be convinced to say yes. You just have to be persistent and inventive.
It’s All Around Us: The Day I Was Introduced To Rape Culture And The Reality That Too Many People Are Okay With It
Rape culture. Wikipedia defines it as, “a concept used to describe a culture in which rape and sexual violence are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape.”
It’s funny because I had never given the idea of the CULTURE of rape a second thought until recently.
There are few times that I have been as disappointed in and saddened by our society in my adult life as when the idea of “rape culture” was really brought to my attention. I recently began researching and perusing the Internet about it, since the Steubenville case and others like it have gotten so much national media attention. How do we begin to identify rape culture? When does identifying rape culture turn into a witch hunt of sorts? Are we overreacting in some cases?
All of these questions blazed colliding trails through my mind as I scrolled down activist/political pundit, Zerlina Maxwell’s Twitter timeline last week. Ms. Maxwell retweeted this photograph of an alcohol ad and added “This is what rape culture looks like”:
I took a look and besides the menacing look of the man in the picture, just like many who were asking Ms. Maxwell on Twitter, I couldn’t pinpoint what exactly made for “rape culture” within the ad. I posted the photo on Facebook and asked friends if the ad was acceptable, why or why not? Most were immediately disgusted with it and said that it alluded to the idea that order to “get with” a woman, all a man had to do was get her drunk.
My original interpretation of it was “If you want the woman to take you seriously, offer her our brand of alcohol.” I related the ad to a promise of winning a woman’s interest because she has been offered quality alcohol and not the cheap/gross stuff.
After conversing with friends about it, I realized how easy it would have been for me to visually ingest the message of the ad without giving it much thought, all the while being fed the backwards message that we, women, are not totally in control of our bodies–a free drink is. I also thought about advertising agencies. I could now see exactly why the ad is deemed “rapey,” but I also saw how the ambiguity of the ad left just enough space through which to escape without any major legal problems for the company/agency. My eyes were opening to this “culture” and I was sick about it and my dismissal of it for so long. It’s ALL around us. Maybe, having been a silent survivor of sexual assault, I hadn’t been prepared to really SEE the day-to-day endorsements of it that enable so many attackers to feel guiltless.
As with all controversial issues, there will always be those who cannot intelligently and open-minded-ly discuss the issue, as was evidenced by the barrage of threatening, racist and violent tweets sent to Maxwell because of her outspokenness on Fox News about the issue. But I admire and applaud a woman like Zerlina Maxwell who is actively tugging the wool back from the eyes of America and calling rape and its entire culture out for what it is – subtle or not and masterfully shutting down ignorance and threats against her life. Though the subject evokes much combative discourse from men (and surprisingly, some women), I appreciate the conversation-starters who shed light on rape culture from personal perspectives seeking to enlighten and catalyze change.
But the point isn’t to make people feel good about broaching the issue. The point is to uncover what is really going on. The point is to be so unapologetic about calling it out that change has to happen. It is not overreaction to ask that the bodies of women be respected regardless of how many martinis they’ve had, no matter how short their skirts are, no matter how “into you” they may seem. To insist upon a dramatic shift in the message being broadcast to society instead of insisting women take boxing classes or carry pens and whistles. How about we call a rapist a rapist and follow Zerlina Maxwell’s lead in tearing down the hidden (and not-so-hidden) messages creating a way of life that teaches women to live in fear and defeat, and men to feel no guilt for taking advantage of somebody’s mother, sister, daughter?
Follow Zerlina Maxwell on Twitter.
La Truly’s writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Check her out on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and AboutMe www.about.me/latruly.
Just yesterday, we reported that “Love & Hip Hop” star Mendeecees Harris was facing drug trafficking charges. In addition to the recently revealed drug charges, Harris is also facing sexual assault charges,after his ex-girlfriend’s 15-year-old daughter accused him of molesting her back in 2009. The trial for that case began yesterday, and the now 19-year-old young woman testified against him in court today, reports Cliff View Pilot.
With the jury’s full attention, the young woman recounted the chilling tale of how Harris went from being a “father figure,” whom she believed she could trust to a man who forced her to have sex for money, after moving into his Lodi, New Jersey home back in 2009.
After moving into Mendeecee’s home with her mother and brothers, the teen revealed that because her mother was always at work, she reported to Harris for permission to hang out with her friends and other things that teens generally have to report to their parents about. She also revealed that because she didn’t have the strongest relationship with her mother, she confided in Harris about a lot of things.
“Mendeecees made me feel comfortable. He would give me advice. He’d say ‘It’ll be okay between you and your mom’,” she told the court.
She expressed that the initial act of molestation occurred one afternoon while no one else was home. After finishing up taking a shower, she realized that there was no towel in the bathroom.
“I asked him to get me one [towel], and he did. Then he came into my room and suggested I let him m*sturb*te on me, but I just laughed,” she testified.
She went on to tell that Harris continued making the suggestion until she finally gave in, after which he gave her $15 or $20 “for lunch or maybe a ball game.”
The teen testified that although she had given in, Harris wasn’t satisfied and began pressing her for oral. She expressed that Harris, noticing her reluctance, began using a very private piece of information, which he previously acquired from her mother to manipulate her.
“He told me he knew I had been raped when I was 8 years old, and he found out from my mother.”
“ ‘Your mom doesn’t want you here’,” she said Harris told her just before exposing his genitals to her.
She eventually gave in, which she revealed was out of spite to get back at her mother for revealing such an intimate secret to Harris.
“I felt betrayed by her. I didn’t tell her about it until I was 14, and it was something I didn’t want anyone to know.”
As time went on, Mendeecees allegedly continued to request sexual favors from the young woman in exchange for money. She even revealed that he would pull her younger brothers into the mix when they asked him for money by telling them “talk to your sister. She knows what she has to do.”
The relationship between the teen’s mother and Harris ended when she confiscated the girl’s cell phone and found some inappropriate messages from Harris.
“I heard them in their room yelling, I felt bad. She came in my room and she was livid. She told me to get out. She was just screaming to me to get out. I don’t remember if she said why,” she recalled before revealing that she left home to stay at a friend’s house that night.
“My mom didn’t know where I was, but Mendeecees did.”
The next day Mendeecees found her at her friend’s home, told the young woman that her mother had packed her belongings and pleaded with her not to reveal any details about their relationship.
“He said she didn’t know anything, so don’t say anything. It was something he would ‘take to his grave.’ He [also] told me they were done.”
“I felt horrible. At one point Mendeecees and my mother were going to get married. I felt it was all my fault.”
Sadly, she also revealed that she had to drop out of nursing school because of the trial. “You can’t miss that many days of class,” she said. She expressed that in addition to being shocked to learn that Harris was featured on “Love & Hip Hop”, she was also unaware that he was carrying on a relationship with Yandy Smith while he was still with her mother.
Mendeecees is currently facing seven counts of illegal sex.
Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise
So Much For Leaving His Criminal Past Behind: “Love & Hip Hop” Star Mendeecees Harris Facing Drug Trafficking Charges
It’s no secret that Love & Hip Hop star Mendeecees Harris has a delinquent past. He made it clear during the first episode of the show that although he has a past history of being in the streets (a.k.a criminal activities), he’s gotten himself together and snagged a legal gig in the music industry. Unfortunately for the “Love & Hip Hop” star, authorities say otherwise.
Court documents reveal that Mendeecees and two other men, Ronald Walker and Tyrus Harris, are accused of trafficking $2.5 million worth of drugs throughout the Rochester area of New York between 2005 and August of last year, reports the Democrat and Chronicle. It has not yet been revealed whether or not Mendeecees and Tyrus are related. Thus far, authorities have seized $1.5 million from safety deposit boxes and $407,000 worth of jewelry in connection with the case. Authorities are also “pushing for the forfeiture of properties in Georgia and Baltimore” tied to the accused men. Mendeecees is reported to have turned himself in to the Rochester Police on January 24th and will be arraigned once his current trial in New Jersey is over. If you recall, the reality star is also facing sexual assault charges in Lodi, New Jersey, which were filed against him for inappropriately touching a 15-year-old girl. The trial for that case began January 29th.
Mendeecee’s is facing some pretty serious charges, which could mean some heavy jail time. Considering the turmoil that his life is currently in, one can only imagine how heavily this is weighing on Yandy, considering that she recently gave birth to his youngest son. However, many believe that Yandy must have had some clue about his past, considering the fact that they’ve been together off and on for the past six years.
What do you think of the latest allegations again Mendeecees?
Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise
Love & Hip-Hop Is More Disturbing Than We Knew: Mandeeces Facing Trial For Sexual Assault On A 15-Year-Old
Every reality TV star has some skeletons in the closet that are bound to come out once the cameras start rolling, but some skeletons are far worse than others. Case in point: disturbing news that has just surfaced about the father of “Love & Hip-Hop” star Yandy Smith’s baby and her rumored fiance, Mandeeces Harris.
It appears Mandeeces is awaiting trial after being accused of having inappropriate sexual conduct with a 15-year-old girl in Lodi, New Jersey two years ago. The 34-year-old who now appears alongside Yandy on LHH is charged with performing various sexual acts with the girl and inappropriately touching her at his former home there.
According to North Jersey’s The Report:
Bergen County prosecutors allege that Harris asked for and received oral from the girl and fondled her on various occasions between September 2009 and April 2010. He was arrested later that year and charged with aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual contact and child endangerment. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
Mandeeces is free without bail which is why he has time to appear on Love & Hip-Hop, but on Wednesday the jury was selected for his trial in Hackensack and opening remarks are expected to begin January 29.
Since it took me a little while to put these pieces together in my mind, let me lay out some background details for you. Yandy and Mandeeces have been together off-and-on for six years which means he caught this case while they at least knew each other. Whether they were on at the time is currently unknown, but it’s surprising that she would have a child with this man while these serious legal allegations are flying around, let alone bring him on the show with her, and furthermore, seemingly get engaged to him.
Even more disturbing is the rumor floating around that the 15-year-old girl in question is the daughter of a woman Mandeeces has another son by. Sure this girl isn’t his biological child but the creep factor there cannot be denied. This also makes his and Yandy’s relationship seem super suspect. How long were they off to be having a child with someone else and racking up this kind of charge? Still, this situation also raises the question of whether there’s potential here for bitter baby mama strife and Mandeeces is innocent. I can’t fathom any other explanation for why a man who has remained behind the scenes this long would suddenly step in front of the cameras with all of this going on. I’m also curious whether Mona Sott-Young knows about this. Yandy, girl, good luck.
Cee Lo’s career has been on fire in the last few years with the super-talented singer-songwriter/rapper/producer performing at presidential fundraisers and most notably landing a spot on NBC’s reality singing competition “The Voice.” But all of that momentum could come to a screeching halt as a result of accusations of sexual battery that have been filed against the entertainer — even if he says it’s not true.
According to TMZ:
Law enforcement sources tell us … a woman recently filed a police report with the LAPD, accusing “The Voice” judge – real name Thomas DeCarlo Callaway – of a sexual assault.
Our sources say detectives have already visited a restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles in connection with the case and questioned several employees, including the manager. We do not know if the alleged incident occurred at the restaurant.
The LAPD is mum on the identity of the alleged victim, when and where the incident allegedly occurred, and what Cee Lo allegedly did.
TMZ says they’ve spoken with Cee Lo and he absolutely denies any wrongdoing, saying he hasn’t even been to the restaurant in question in three months and adding:
”Nothing ever happened there or anywhere else.”
Cee Lo also has someone backing up his claim, as another source who is regularly with him told TMZ:
“I have never seen Cee Lo act in a physical way toward anybody.”
Though Cee Lo, who grew up in the ATL, considered himself a “goon” in his younger days, the only controversies he’s been involved in since hitting the national radar have been related to his lyrical content and performance style. This accusation is by far the most serious of his career.
So far the investigation is in its early stages and no charges have been filed. Hopefully the truth will come out — whatever that is.
Are you surprised by this accusation?
Beware: This video of a man grossly fondling a woman on a New York City subway is extremely creepy and disturbing — almost as disturbing as someone recording him after they caught him in the act, according to many observers.
According to The Gothamist, Jasheem Smiley is the man who caught the alleged assailant on the number 4 train heading downtown in Manhattan. The creeper began trying to stick his hands up the crotch of a sleeping female passenger, oblivious to the sexual assault, and that’s when Jasheem intervened. He told the Gothamist:
“This guy gets on at 96th Street, and the look on his face was just so suspicious,” Smiley says of the man who sexually assaulted the woman. “He gave her a look like he knew her or something, and I turned the music off in my headphones to hear what was going on. When he started touching her that’s when I turned my camera on. My jaw dropped. I had never seen anything like this before.” Immediately after taking the footage, Smiley said he and another male passenger began shouting at the man to stop.
“We told him, ‘that’s not right!’ But he kept touching her, so I kicked her foot so she’d wake up, but she didn’t,” Smiley said. “Then he put his arm around her to try and pull her closer and that’s when she woke up. She gave him a look like, ‘who the hell are you?’ and punched him in the cheek…She punched him pretty hard.”
Smiley adds that the woman then exited the train at the next stop, and that she didn’t appear intoxicated or impaired when she walked away. He then found the conductor and showed her the video. “By the time she stopped the train at 14th Street, [the man] had gotten off, either at 23rd Street or 14th Street.” The conductor referred Smiley to the NYPD, who then put him in touch with an MTA detective…
Despite claiming to have tried to tell the man to stop, before the video was removed from Youtube, many commenters criticized Jasheem for not forcefully stopping the act instead of recording it. To that he responded:
“I didn’t just sit there I took charge after i got proof (video recording).”
I think I may have preferred he skip the proof part if I was the sleeping woman but if this creeper is ever caught, this footage will certainly come in handy. Check out the video here. Do you think Jasheem’s actions were in the right?
Here is a conundrum worthy of attention from Detective Stabler and Benson from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Is it really rape when a woman is the perpetrator and the victim is a man?
In fact, I am pretty sure I have seen this episode before. It involved one male exotic dancer, a bachelorette party and three high powered professional women. The answer was yes, however that was television and this is real life. From Dan Savage, by way of Jill from Feminste,
“I accidentally raped my boyfriend. What happened was I awoke to find my boyfriend rubbing up against me. After a little while, he pulled my hand, motioning for me to get on top of him to have sex, as he has done many times before. I obliged, and all was well, until he apparently woke up and pushed me off of him. I did not have any indication that he was asleep, since he was an active participant the entire time and was NOT lying there like a dead fish. In the morning, he expressed his displeasure about being woken up with sex. He said that he felt really violated. I apologized and explained my understanding of the situation. Now he says he feels really weird about what happened and he can’t stomach me touching him. What should I do?
Reeling After Problematic Intimate Sex Transgression”
In Savage’s column, he writes that the anonymous writer, known as Reeling After Problematic Intimate Sex Transgression (or Reeling for short) is indeed a rapist, and goes through great length to call her one throughout his advice. But he also says that her sexual assault was a mistake rather than an intentional kind. He also advises that Reeling should not “dump the guilt-tripping, blame-shifting motherfucker,” especially since he is a sexsomniac, which is a person who initiates sex in their sleep. Jill of Feminste too doesn’t know what to make of it but takes the same approach as Savage. She acknowledges that it is sexual assault, whether she intended it to be or not, however “It doesn’t make her a bad person or a rapist…”
It is true that the lines of consent with a sexsomniac might be blurred. Heck my first reaction was to say, “get out of here, you can’t rape a dude.” However, the more I thought about it, the more I began to understand my prejudice and the less I felt comfortable with dismissing sexual assaults as “mistakes” especially since it was made clear that what she did was basically sexual assault. And some in the comment section of both columns agree, particularly imisslincoln, who writes:
“Actually disagree on the advice to RAPIST. While I don’t disagree that what happened was not rape in the way I’m comfortable defining rape, what happened was certainly traumatic for the man in question. Do we discount this? Do we ignore his embodied experience of violation? I agree that if he remains completely unwilling to see his partner’s side of things, then the relationship should probably end, but perhaps he just needs some time to process what happened and recover.”
And Jadey, who wrote on Feminste: “If this guy feels that he was raped (and he may not be comfortable describing himself that way for so many reasons), I wouldn’t say he wasn’t. Her intentionality doesn’t matter to his feelings of violation. I would feel the same way regardless of the gender IDs of the people involved, which is not to ignore larger social trends in sexual violence and who is most vulnerable to such violence (women and girls, yes, but also people marginalized in many ways, including the economically and racially marginalized, disabled, etc., of all genders), but to recognize that in a given individual instance, men can be and are raped and their consent matters and just because they have had sex with someone before, even in the context of a long-term sexually-active relationship, does not mean their consent can just be assumed or that they are a “guilt-tripping, blame-shifting motherfucker” for feeling violated.”
The traditional notion of rape is reinforced by various misconceptions about male victimization as well as social stigmas. For instance, many people believe that it is impossible for a woman to rape a man because they believe that a man has to sort of function to complete the task. And if there is there an erectile reaction, well then, that has to be voluntary. It is a reasoning, which appears to be backed up statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, which says that an estimated 99% of offenders of sexual assault are described as male.
Thus stories about men, who have claimed to have been sexually assaulted by a female assailant are usually shrugged off or viewed from a comedic lens. Take for instance the recent story of female Zimbabwe rapists, who would troll the highways in search of male hitchhikers, in order to harvest their sperm. The assailants have so far evaded capture however the story has made its rounds around the news cycle, not in hopes of drawing attention for the purpose of arrest of said preps’, but for clearly pure amusement. Heck, even the perpetrators have been christened with the cutesy name, the Zimbabwe sperm hunters, by the mainstream media. Imagine a seeing a news report about a male serial rapists known as the ovaries stabber? Not so funny now, is it?
But that hasn’t stopped the majority of the comments accompanying the stories from running the gamut of questioning the male victim’s sexuality (because what man doesn’t want it, right?) to accusing the men of having ulterior motives (because they had to be asking for it, right?) Of course, any physical contact with genitalia can stimulate arousal if not ejaculation. This too is a common occurrence among female victims of sexual assault, but we can’t let that get in the way of a good “beautiful women, free sex? I need a one way ticket to Zimbabwe” joke.
The thing about sexual assault is that it is not just reserved for the overpowering physical superior perp we are used to seeing in movies. Sexual assault does cover a wide range of crimes including sodomy, insertion of a foreign object and statutory rape too. And yes, women do commit many of those crimes against men. In fact, the frequency of news stories we read about school teachers engaged in sexual assault and misconduct against underage boys should let us know not to treat this as some sort of freakish occurrence worthy of amusement and ridicule.
According to the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NASV), a Washington based association working to end sexual violence; about 14 percent of reported rapes in the US involve men or boys. This equates to one in six reported sexual assaults is against a boy and one in 25 reported sexual assaults is against a man. That just accounts for those brave enough to report it. And that’s the most problematic part of making lightly, or casually dismissing sexual assault against men, is that we create a climate of fear, compounded guilt and shame for male victims to speak publicly or even report about their experiences to the proper authorities. And this is important as sexual assault is not just about sex. It’s about the expression of power, dominance and control over a victim. And whenever we dismiss or make light of male victims of sexual assault because they happen to be the less effected gender, we make it easier for folks to lessen the severity of the crime, regardless of gender.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com.
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It was a Friday. A great day for our family. We had just witnessed my sister walk across the stage during her “black graduation” ceremony. It was a beautiful, emotionally draining experience. I would have been content to go back to my sister’s place, watch a little tv and crash. But the graduate wanted to celebrate. I wasn’t feeling it, but I didn’t want to deny her this opportunity or have her out in the streets by herself. So after a little power nap, I got myself ready to go.
Thank God we got in for free, because this club experience was not a great one. I was tired and the music was sub par. Still, I tried to hang in there for my sister, who by the way wasn’t having the greatest time either. We agreed that we would leave at 2 am. At 1:50 one of my sister’s best friends, and fellow graduates, danced up to her, announcing her presence in the club. Seconds later, another friend came up. Their squeals and hugs let me know that we weren’t going to be leaving at 2. I didn’t say anything but decided, I’d give her a bit more time. I set the new exit time for 2:15 am.
After standing, looking off into space for the last 25 minutes, I was ret to go! I showed my sister the time and told her I was ready to make a move for the door. My sister walked around the entire club…twice saying goodbye to all her friends. And then she realized she’d left someone out. Her “manfriend,” as she calls him. He’d gotten us into the club for free. It was only right that we say our proper goodbyes. Once we found him he said he was going to walk out with us. My sister lead the way to the door. I followed behind her, holding her hand like a disgruntled toddler and the manfriend walked behind me.
We were just a couple of feet from the door when I felt someone grab a nice handful of my booty meat and then pat it. Now, my butt protrudes a little bit so people and objects are constantly bumping into it, so for a split second I thought this could have been an accident. But then I recalled the sickening sensation. A distinct grab, followed by a distinct pat. I kept walking, just a couple more steps so I could turn around and see… and confront the perpetrator.
I turned around to see a clearly inebriated, androgynous person at the bar, giving me the seductive/predatory stare I’ve come to associate with rude men. I had to squint to determine the gender. And once I did, I could feel my eyes enlarge as I realized that was a woman. A woman, trying very hard to pass as a man, but a woman nonetheless.
If there was any doubt left in my mind, my sister’s manfriend erased it.
“That was weird.”
I turned to him in a mix of confusion and frustration, “That was a woman, right?!?”
“I was wondering why you didn’t do anything!…It was a woman.”
This was the first time such a thing had happened to me. And I don’t mean people putting their hands on me in public either. I’ve had to snatch up or cuss out a few little boys who thought it was ok to grab me. I mean, this was the first time someone grabbed me and I was too shocked and hurt to respond.
From the time we’re little girls, we’re warned about the potentially shady, wolfish nature of some (!) men. We’re told not to be too sexually suggestive around them, not to let them in too soon, to protect ourselves around strange ones–and even familiar ones–at all times.
I didn’t receive those warnings about women.
Normally, after such humiliating and degrading attacks, I’m simply infuriated. After this one, I was hurt and confused. As a fellow woman, the grabber must have received those same cautionary messages about men. Why then, did she feel it was appropriate to assault me like that? I just didn’t understand why a woman, someone who’s most likely experienced the objectification of her body, would inflict that same type of pain onto another, a fellow woman. The power of sexual attraction and alcohol be damned. It didn’t make sense. Honestly, it still escapes me. It’s sad when we’re confronted with yet another way human beings fall short when it comes to morality. But if that woman taught me anything, it’s that, unfortunately, anybody, man, woman, gay or straight, can be a predator. Every woman doesn’t see herself as your co-feminist/womanist in the struggle, and no matter where you are, you have to protect yourself at all times.
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It’s unfortunate when an actor who disappears from the scene only pops back up because of drama. Yes, Cuba Gooding, Jr. is currently staring in the Tuskegee Airmen film, Red Tails, but the media is more concerned with the tails he was allegedly grabbing at Maloney’s Tavern in Albuquerque, New Mexico earlier this month.
Here’s the account from one of the victims who gave the rundown to Jezebel.com:
“Cuba Gooding, Jr. came into Maloney’s Pub in Albuquerque on March 1st, and the bar was fairly crowded at the time. No one seemed to notice or realize who he was when he first entered, and he inappropriately touched [Sara] and she immediately dismissed him. Someone then recognized him and swarms of people started crowding around him to take pictures. Sara and I took a picture with him, and he attempted to grab her breasts in the process. Later on the night, he came up to me, grabbed my face, and kissed my cheek. He asked where I was staying and told me I would be staying with him tonight, making lewd comments about his plans to sleep with me that night. He mentioned that he is happily married with three kids, but ‘not tonight.’ He also said I was ‘probably like 12′ years old (I am actually 23 years old). I also witnessed him inappropriately touching a friend of mine, [Meagan], which caused her to be extremely upset. Another woman in the bar gave him a lap dance and when a man tried to take a picture, Gooding grabbed the phone, threatening to ‘break it in half,’ and followed him to the bathroom, where he apparently punched him.”
Sara added to the story with a similar account of that night, saying:
“The sexual harassment occurred when women would be taking pictures with him; he would grab butt cheeks during the picture taking and when women reacted negatively to that, he would proceed to either touch women’s breasts or tell them that he ‘loved them.’ He told me that he loved me because his wife’s name is also Sara. Classy.”
In the days of smartphones of course we don’t just have to take these girls’ word for it, they have photo proof of Cuba’s inappropriateness, like him reaching to grab one girl’s breast “as well as pictures of my friend jumping on his back in anger after he twisted her nipples.” I don’t know if these pictures would hold up in court if they went that route, but at the very least, Cuba looks heavily intoxicated and in the mood for groping.
Cuba’s rep said she hasn’t been able to get in touch with the actor to address these allegations because he’s currently filming, but lucky for him these ladies don’t plan on pressing any formal charges. Sara said their only reason for coming forward was to “warn the general public about [Gooding's] disgusting creepiness.”
Duly noted. What do you think? Are these girls telling the truth?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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