Say It With Your Chest: Zerlina Maxwell and Accountability

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Progressive commentator Zerlina Maxwell got wrapped up in the hellfire of internet trolls after she made the oh so crazy suggestion that women aren’t responsible for rape prevention and that we should actually hold rapist accountable during a guest spot on Sean Hannity:

“I think that the entire conversation is wrong. I don’t want anybody to be telling women anything. I don’t want men to be telling me what to wear and how to act, not to drink. And I don’t, honestly, want you to tell me that I needed a gun in order to prevent my rape. In my case, don’t tell me if I’d only had a gun, I wouldn’t have been raped. Don’t put it on me to prevent the rape.”

 All jokes and sarcasm aside, I completely agree with Maxwell and applaud her for taking that stand. Sadly, everyone didn’t see it that way. I present to you, exhibit A:

And that was one tweet out of thousands. I didn’t find out about this until a friend of mine brought it to my attention and suggested that people send her a few kind words. I shot a tweet her way but I saw a few comments (yes, I was dumb enough to look to Black Twitter for feedback) that suggested that Maxwell should just bear it. Normally, I’m all for letting people look foolish on their own but dammit, where do we draw the line?

There’s a difference between saying something to merely get a rise out of someone and suggesting that grave bodily harm be done to them or actually threatening to do grave bodily harm to them. The internet gives a lot of people keyboard courage to say stuff they wouldn’t dream of saying to a person’s face and we accept that because they’re just a troll, right?

As a black woman, this really gets to me because we are told we have to be strong and shoulder everything that is thrown at us. We have to grin and bear the horrible names. When we’re assaulted, we’re told to keep quiet because it’ll make the black community look bad. Black women are often left defenseless and when we stand up for ourselves, we’re punished because mules aren’t supposed to speak. Their only job is to carry the load placed on their backs. We’re not supposed to protest, get angry or do anything that might suggest we actually have an opinion under our weaves, long finger nails and whatever else people think black women like to wear. We’re certainly not supposed to care about a few thousand threats.

Maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part but there needs to be a way that people can be held accountable for the stuff they say whether it is online or in person. People go on and on about people being too politically correct or too sensitive but in reality, they just want to be able to say what the hell they want without any consequences.

To be honest,  I could argue that rape apologists use the same logic.

Don’t want to be targeted? Don’t speak out in a public forum.

Don’t want to be raped? Better not wear that mini-skirt.

You got internet threats? Well, that comes with the territory on the internet.

You got raped? Well, what were you doing at the time? You could have prevented that.

When will we hold people accountable?

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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3 thoughts on “Say It With Your Chest: Zerlina Maxwell and Accountability

  1. serenitychan13 says:

    I really want to give this brave and beautiful (inside and out!) lady a gigantic hug. People are really stupid and it’s up to everyone to care as much as they can and work on being a positive influence! Ms. Maxwell, please don’t ever be quiet because too many women aren’t allowed to speak at all!

  2. Russell Lawrence Benford says:

    First off, it has nothing to do with how black women continue to be treated cause they are several people on both sides of the issue that have been equally vilified. It’s unfortunate though that whenever a black person says something a non-black person likes then more often than not racial slurs are thrown in the mix as well.

    I understand what was trying to say but she said it in a simplistic, moronic way. The argument started from how there are entities in this country trying to dissuade people from firearm use completely. There is an anti-gun agenda across the board that is invalidating the argument of self-defense. That is where the ballpoint pen, rape whistle, etc comes in. Anti-gun liberals were saying that people don’t need guns or shouldn’t have them but those alternatives are sufficient. And anything other than that is what the police is for. That was the crux of the whole debate: telling people what they need/don’t need, can/can’t have.

    In the interview, Zerlina says we should be telling men not the rape. The manner in which she stated her case made it seem like that if a rape is occurring that all the victim has to do is say “stop raping me”. Now if you want to get into what is a “criminal”. No one is a criminal per say. One has to examine pathologies that creates antisocial behavior manifest in acts of violence, force, coercion which is what rape is.Furthermore rape can and has also occurred women-man, woman-woman, and man-man.

    Zerlina’s biggest misstep was emphatically stating, “We can prevent rape by telling men not to commit it.” By that logic then why is it that as a kid you saw all though “Just Say No” commercials yet people still do drugs. “If you wanna be cool, stay in cool” yet kids still drop out.

    Then she says men can be trained not to be rapists as if it’s like hitting a dog on the nose with a newspaper if it starts peeing on the carpet.

    “If firearms were the answer, then the military would be the safest place for women and it’s not,” she said.—-This is a fallacy because soldiers do not walk around on bases, barracks, etc. being armed only in the field where there is a significantly lower percentage. She makes that statement without putting into context the settings in which those assaults happened. And no firearms isn’t the answer either cause church, school, and prison are equally unsafe.

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