The “State Of The Culture,” is rape culture.
The latest heated debate between media personality Scottie Beam and rapper Remy Ma on Revolt’s digital show, “State Of The Culture,” was a harsh reminder that it’s not just men upholding the systems of patriarchy that lambast sexual assault victims, it’s women too.
As the hosts began to tackle the topic of Bill Cosby’s recent conviction and sentencing for the 2004 rape of Andrea Constand, the lines in the sand were drawn in fire, with Scottie speaking on behalf of victims, and Remy choosing to focus on the “responsibility” of survivors to come forward immediately after assault takes place.
“It’s not easy reliving and recounting these situations that you go through that are extremely traumatic. It’s not that easy. Rape kits, having to be touched and examined all over again after you’ve been violated, is not easy. And also on top of that, having people like you sit here and say you don’t believe them.” Scottie explained to Remy.
Remy dug in her heels on her point saying, “Unfortunately, part of the procedure is convincing people about what happened.”
Scottie quipped back explaining that the entire examination process is re-traumtazing for many victims and added, “Who wants to go through that?” Continuing, “It’s not fair for you to say, you gotta come out..you can’t even save yourself at that moment.”
Remy fired off, “But you do though.” The Bronx lyricist went on to say she doesn’t believe all 60 of Cosby’s alleged accusers were telling the truth. And in her closing statements, she reiterated that if she was violated, she would say something. And women need to do the same.
“If I’m violated nothing on this planet..maybe that’s what we need to do as women. As women, we need to stand up a little more. Don’t be scared to come out.”
Continuing, “As women, this always underlying ‘I’m scared, I was afraid, I was this..’ I think they are valid. But I think as women, we have a responsibility as well, not just to ourselves, but to other women. Because if I’m violated…I want something to be done. I don’t want them just in jail. I want them violated like I’ve been violated…I want you to not use your d*ck ever again,” the 38-year-old concluded.
Beyond her suggesting some sort of vigilante retribution, Remy’s points are dangerous and hurtful on two accounts. One, she is shaming victims who never spoke out or spoke out “too late” by implying they are cowards for not seeking justice within a “reasonable” time period. Her opinion does not acknowledge the literal PTSD assault victims have to overcome to even begin the process of advocating for themselves. Beyond the physical wounds, which in some cases can include bleeding, bruising, difficulty walking, and tearing, the psychological damage that comes from surviving rape includes suicidal thoughts, depression, disassociation, fear, guilt, numbness, distrust of others, and helplessness, to name a few. For Remy to insinuate women are weak for not being able to overcome these mental and physical barriers before some arbitrary deadline is disappointing, to say the least. It’s stubborn stances like these that keep survivors of sexual assault psychologically gagged in their trauma and assailants roaming free.
Second, as Black women, we often see other black women–our mothers, sisters, aunties, friends and cousins as our safety net and our only real allies in this fight for equality and physical safety. To see one of our own victim blame evokes feelings of a deep seeded betrayal. How can you choose to focus on the victim being too “scared” to come forward, versus shifting your attention to the societal ills of toxic masculinity that perpetuates rape culture in our communities? It is the responsibility of rapists not to rape. Period. It’s not what the victim was wearing. It’s not where they were going. It’s not whether or not they were drinking. And their culpability sure as hell isn’t dependent on when they decide to report, if they ever do.
To survivors of sexual assault, there is no “expiration” date for your story. You are brave in silence. You are brave in your shaky voice. You are brave in your loud outcry. And I hear you and believe you.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider.
You can watch the whole show below: