Andrea Anderson

PDF of this Piece // PDF of Issue 8 // Table of Contents

Previous Piece

Next Piece

ABSTRACT: The stories and experiences of Black women, as victims of violence, rarely make headlines and are seldom seen, heard, or acknowledged, at time even, by their communities. History tells us, with the institutionalized rape and assault of slaves, Black women have rarely been believed. The myth of the strong, indomitable Black woman is a barrier for them to be seen as victims, of both intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Coupled with the overriding narrative of Black men as targets of state violence, the stories of Black women are rarely heard. This poem “The Forgotten Ones” speaks to this silence.

The Forgotten Ones

They say I am defiant, unruly, and aggressive.
I say the darker the flesh the deeper the roots.

The historical and contemporary exploitation of my body;
It carries trauma;
It is sexualized;
It is not celebrated;
It is not believed;
It is silenced.

If I am not reflected in a tokenistic manner then I am left out of mainstream organizing, public debate, and political discussions.

Is it racism or sexism?
Is it racism or sexism?

At times my race renders me silent when trying to draw attention to gendered based violence.
At times my gender renders me silent when trying to speak about racialized forms of violence. Thus, my story remains untold.

I am told I am supposed to be strong.
By 15 years of age, I am more likely to experience sexual abuse, and
I am less likely to report it.

I am misgendered, neglected, and mistreated.

I am three times more likely to die at the hands of my abuser.
I am rarely protected when I am found beaten or murdered.
All the while those who have sworn to protect me use excessive force against me.
Yet no one is talking about me.

The brutality, the abuse by my community;
I am to call the police and turn to the justice system?
The same justice system that is has been systemically killing my community?
Honey, you can’t grasp my trauma.
Until you begin to look at my life, intersectionally.

But I can no longer remain invisible, degraded, afterthought or tokenized.

Every day
Let’s remember the violence that is perpetuated against Black women.

Andrea Anderson is a criminal defence lawyer and doctoral candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. Her research focuses on anti- Black racism, intersectionality, and the criminal justice system in Canada.

Previous Piece // Next Piece

Comments are closed.