Program Success Fall 2018 - Page 12

Program Success 12 Fall 2018 Black Woman Unravels continued frompage 11 I literally want to scream and in frustration, I tell myself to snap out of it. I’m looking around and there are families—white women with babies and strollers. Police officers. No one seems to notice. I ask myself if I should go to the police and tell them what has happened. Tell them what he said to me ... I can’t do it. I’m disgusted. I’m angry. And I’m looking at myself like, “What the hell is wrong with you?” How is it that despite everything that I feel, I still somehow tell myself that I have a responsibility to save this person that I don’t even know? What is it about us that always wants to save someone? I start to wonder: What if the circumstances were different? What if it was the middle of the night, I’m by myself, and this same conversation happens? What if he actually tried me? I start thinking about all of the women who have been raped or victims of rape culture. I think about all the times I’ve empathized but never really understood. I think about hip-hop, R. Kelly, and all the blind eyes I’ve turned because of second chances, good intentions, and not knowing all the “facts.” I think about Nia, Sandra and the dangers of being a black woman. I think about how black men don’t stand up for or protect us enough. I think about how people only care when it’s too late, or worse, watch while it’s happening. think about my 20th birthday when I was half drunk, half asleep in my room and my roommates f**k-buddy came in, trying to force himself on me. I think about how I told him to get out and he forcefully unbuttoned my pants. I think about how I started screaming my roommate’s name and she acted like she didn’t hear me. How I literally screamed, “Get out of my room!” and she called out, “Is everything OK?,” but never once got up to check. I think about how he finally left and then saw me around like nothing ever happened. How I ran into him last year, in Los Angeles, seven years later, and he’s a big IG influencer/YouTube star. How he says, “What’s up” when he sees me and I say, “Fuck you.” How he says I shouldn’t say anything because, “That was a long time ago, man.” I see the police again. I want to approach them, but I know that when I tell them a tall black teenager threatened to rape me … I know that if I tell them a tall black teenager threatened to rape me, what I’m really telling them is ... I can’t do it. I keep walking. I get cat-called. I turn my music back on. It’s not the same. I can’t ignore it. I’m not OK. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Temi Oni Temi Oni is an artist, writer, and entrepreneur. For more on her work, visit