accountability

On Forgiveness

Too often child sexual abuse survivors, adult rape survivors and survivors of other of forms sexual violence are expected to forgive the harm doers (including the bystanders) without too much, if any accountability for the harm caused.

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Seeking accountable forgiveness is important. However, no harm doer should expect it just because they sought it.

It is the survivor who has the right to decide if and when they will accept the request.

Demanding or expecting forgiveness is another form of violence. Once again, the survivor is being asked to perform an action they may not be willing or even able to perform.

Forgiveness comes from within. It may happen in the absence of the harm doer(s) seeking it. It may not happen when the harm doer(s) seek it.

Forgiveness is an important journey and simultaneously, it is a complex process.

Aishah Shahidah Simmons in Signs - Journal of Women in Culture and Society

Photo by Daniel Goudrouffe

Photo by Daniel Goudrouffe

Signs - Journal of Women in Culture and Society invited Jaclyn Friedman, Kelly Oliver, Claire Potter, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, and Lisa Wade, PhD to respond to Laura Kipnis's controversial (at best) new book 'Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus' for their "Short Takes- Provocations on Public Feminism." Additionally Kipnis responds to our responses. All of which is freely available on Signs' website.

An excerpt from Aishah's response: "The Personal Is Political and Academic":

[...]I share a part of my (rape survivor) story because for many people who don’t have any understanding of what rape is, they would not define what happened to me in March 1989 as rape. Frankly, after reading Kipnis’s deeply troubling Unwanted Advances, I’m not sure she would define what happened to me as rape.

While reading Kipnis’s book, I found myself asking, why this book now? I’m assuming she wrote the manuscript before the (alleged) sexual predator in chief was elected to govern the United States. Perhaps she and her mainstream publisher thought it would be a very provocative and insightful read during a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential administration. It might have been. However, in the current political climate, where conditions and interventions that can follow a sexual assault are at risk of becoming defined as preexisting conditions under the proposed American Health Care Act, which recently passed in the House of Representatives, her book is a very frightening and I believe dangerous read.[...]


Read all of the responses in their entirety here.

Cosby & #BetterOffDead

I once heard that while child and adult rape, molestation and other forms of sexual violence, are horrible acts, they are not as bad as murder because a rape victim can get up from a rape.

I wonder if that's one of the many reasons why the righteous ire about rapists and molesters getting away with rape and molestation is often silenced in the name of the greater issues at hand - white supremacist violence. It's hardly ever both/and and almost always either/or.

Can we IMAGINE if Cosby was accused of murdering one fraction of the women who came forward?


Why are most victim/survivors of all forms of child and adult sexual violence #BetterOffDead in order to receive communal outrage and empathy?

Aishah Shahidah Simmons on Stephanie Renée's The MOJO show on 900AM WURD Radio.

NO! The Rape Documentary producer/director and #LoveWITHAccountability creator Aishah Shahidah Simmons was a featured guest on Stephanie Renée's The MOJO show on 900AM WURD Radio.

They talked about Aishah's deeply personal and very public #LoveWITHAccountability work, the rigors of healing work, and reflections upon the pending Cosby trial's larger societal implications.

Aishah Shahidah Simmons on ArtsEverywhere Global Panel

Aishah Shahidah Simmons (Philadelphia) was one of the participants who reflected upon and participated in an ArtsEverywhere global roundtable assembled by Kholoud Bidak (Cairo) and Coumba Toure (Dakar), The other participants were: Akwaeke Emezi (Brooklyn),  Kagure Mugo (Johannesburg),  Lucia Victor Jayaseelan, (London),  Kutlwano Pearl Magashula (Johannesburg), Pia Love (London), Rokhaya Gueye (Dakar),  Sheena Gimase Magenya (Nairobi), and Thato Poelo Semele (Johannesburg). The roundtable asked artist/activists Africa and the Diaspora to weigh in on "What is Wellbeing?"

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“[...]Convening this roundtable for ArtsEverywhere presented an opportunity to share the point of view of some people who care about changing ideologies of oppression through their work; we were very keen to share the voices of African/coloured, artists/activists, gender non-conforming individuals, women, lesbians.

The issue of wellbeing is one of our main challenges in the work of activism, either for those who work with NGOs, art, community organizing, or any other channel. It gets more complicated if a person still struggles for essential needs and rights.[...]”


Read in its entirety here.