In order to end the sexual violence experienced by African-American women, we need to recognize sexual abuse as one of the most important issues facing black America today. We need to encourage and include the voices of African-American women in mainstream activism against rape. And we need ensure that our demands for political and racial justice include calls for an end to sexism, sexual violence and homophobia. Until we begin supporting and believing African-American rape victims, we will always be engaged in a half-hearted fight for racial equality.
Salamishah Tillet is an assistant professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and co-founder of the non-profit organization, A Long Walk Home, Inc., which uses art therapy and the visual and performing arts to document and to end violence against underserved women and children.