Sex + Gender
Queer + Feminist
Social theory + Cultural Critique

Black Teenage Girls’ Experiences with Sexual Coercion: Context, Coping, and Consequences


Trigger warning for discussions of rape and sexual violence committed agaisnt black women.

Black girls and women are not part of the dominant sexual violence discourse. The bodies of black girls and women are often treated as invisible or disposable in this society. Rarely are we viewed as victims of violence or as agents of resistance. Male violence against black girls and women infrequently appears in the media and it is hardly addressed in ‘mainstream’ feminism. The silence surrounding the victimisation and survival of black girls and women is also often obscured within our own communities.

Black Girls’ and Women’s Sexual Coercion in Context

To understand sexual victimization against black girls and women, it is necessary to place the experiences of black women in a sociohistorical framework. Statuses of “black” and “woman” are both historically oppressed identities in the United States. Thus, black women are seen, treated, and often inter- nalized as having “double-minority” status, experiencing both gender and racial oppression (and their intersection). The controlling image of black girls and women as sexually loose and lascivious (e.g., Jezebel, video vixen, “ho”) represents this intersection and has historically played a role in their sexual victimization (Collins 2000; Getman 1984; Wyatt 1992). During slavery, the reproduction of Africans was essential to the economy; slave owners sought increased amounts of “labor” to either sell or use for their own service and agricultural production. Because black women were considered property, white men, both during slavery and after emancipation, often took sexual conquest of black women. Black women who were raped under these circumstances had no protection from their rapists (West 2006). The image of the Jezebel (and its contemporary expressions through images such as the video vixen) has historically been used and continues to be used as a means to justify the rape and sexual victimization black women; underlying these practices is the belief that because black girls and women are sexually promiscuous, they are always desirous of sex and thus cannot be raped or are not injured by sexual victimization. This controlling image has profound implications for the perception and treatment of black sexual violence victims/survivors. For example, research indicates that black sexual violence victims are perceived as suffering less harm than their white coun- terparts (Foley et al. 1995) and that they were more likely to be blamed for their sexual assault (Donovan 2007; George and Martinez 2002). The Jezebel image also influences black sexual violence survivors’ recovery process in a number of ways. Wyatt (1992) found that black women were significantly less likely to report incidents of sexual assault to the police, partly because of common perceptions that black women are not credible rape victims. The degree to which African American sexual assault victims internalize the Jezebel image can also influence ways in which they understand why they were assaulted and can shape psychosocial responses in dealing with sexual assault (Neville et al. 2004).

Psychosocial Influence of Sexual Coercion

Although race and gender have played critical roles in shaping the sexual violence of girls and women, sexually coercive encounters are stressful and can be traumatic for people irrespective of social location (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, class). Sexual violence in adolescence has been linked to psychological maladjustment, including depressive symptoms (e.g., Leitenberg and Saltzman 2000; Rhode et al. 2001), suicidal ideation (Buzi et al. 2003), disordered eating (Ackard and Neumark-Sztainer 2002), and low overall mental well-being (Howard and Wang 2004). Adolescents who experience sexual victimization are also at greater risk for health consequences related to sexually transmitted infections (see Beck-Sague and Solomon 1999 for a review), including potentially life-threatening infections such as human papillomavirus infection (Kahn et al. 2005; Stevens-Simon et al. 2000), squamous intraepithelial lesions (Kahn et al. 2005), and HIV (Lindegren et al. 1998).

Not surprisingly, the research in this area typically focuses on more vio- lent or aggressive forms of sexual coercion and, moreover, on predominant- ly white samples. Research on the outcomes of adolescent sexual coercion specifically, or nonphysical tactics of sexual victimization, is significantly less. Psychologists Cecil and Matson’s (2005) examination of psychosocial correlates of sexual violence among African American adolescent girls is a notable exception to this body of work. They found that girls who reported greater severity of sexual coercion (i.e., rape as opposed to sexual coercion) had lower levels of self-esteem and higher levels of depression. Over the past decade or so, scholars have examined not only the link between sexual coercion and psychological outcomes but also the psychological factors that may help explain that linkage. This work is important because it acknowledges that victims are in fact survivors and that there are activities in which they engage to assist in their recovery process. Coping strategies have emerged in the psychological research as a consistent mediator between sexually coercive encounters and psychological outcomes. Findings suggest that among adult women sexual violence survivors, those who use more passive or avoidant coping strategies tend to have greater psychological distress (Boeschen et al. 2001; Frazier and Burnett 1994; Neville et al. 2004) and those with active coping strategies such as thinking positively and keeping busy show higher psychological well-being (Frazier and Burnett 1994). Various coping strategies have been found to mediate the association between negative social reactions and psychological symptoms (Ullman 1996), behavioral self-blame and distress (Frazier, Mortensen, and Steward 2005), control over recovery and distress (Frazier, Mortensen, and Steward 2005), and child sexual abuse and trauma symptoms (Arata 1999) among rape survivors. Women have also spoken about their recovery process and described coping mechanisms— such as seeking support, reframing the experience, and seeing themselves as survivors rather than victims—that help them cope with the trauma (Smith and Kelly 2001). At this point, we know very little about the potential role of coping in how adolescent girls deal with sexually coercive encounters.

(via choongcommunist-deactivated2012)

This isn’t sex education related but my best friend Courtney Sauls is in this movie and it looks AMAZING. View it, like it, share it - I can’t wait to see this. 

"Remember when Black movies didn’t neccesarily star a dude in a fat suit and a wig? Or have major plot twists timed to Gospel numbers for no apparent reason? No? Damn…

Well believe it or not there was a time when “Black Art-House” was a thing. When movies like Do The Right Thing, Hollywood Shuffle, and Boyz In Da Hood were breaking box office records as well as making us laugh, cry, and think in ways movies hadn’t before. 

The humble producers of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, a satire about being a black face in a white place, long to bring those days back. But we can’t do it without you! 

We pieced together what resources we had to make this trailer in order to entice investors for our planned million dollar feature. Armed with this trailer and your support we plan to make this film a reality. Click here to help bring this film to theaters:

Do you know any African Americans (full blood, not mixed/biracial) that have HSV (genital)? I'm an African American female that has it and I feel even more alone and weird because all the people that I know who have it are White.

A question by Anonymous

I can’t imagine how this must feel. HSV can already be a lonely experience - having it conflate with issues of racial difference is an even more alienating circumstance. Unfortunately, according to the CDC, African American women* continue to be disproportionately affected by HSV-2, constituting of approximately 48% of reported cases (source). These statistics are really troubling because, although “statistically” speaking you’re not alone - the numbers reflect very serious social, institutional, and economical issues when it comes to race and sex education. If you’re asking me if I know any HSV positive African Americans personally, the answer is yes. I do. I don’t know how long you’ve been living with genital herpes, but I assure you that you will meet more people who are willing to discuss their sexual health status with you and you will see that you are not alone. I don’t know where you live, if you’re in college or if you live in the city but I would recommend reaching out to your local WOC community and seeing if they have any support groups specifically related to WOC affected by STD’s. This could be both an empowering experience and a way for you to meet other people who share your circumstances. 

Black Feminist Film School (The Website) is Born!!!!


light meter in front of suzanne, mother billie in background

Spring is thoroughly SPRUNG and collaborators Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D. and Julia Roxanne Wallace, M.Div. are proud to present their newest dream come true: Black Feminist Film School!!!

Read our founding document Create Anew: Black Feminist Filmmaking as Spiritual Leadership by Julia Roxanne Wallace!

Read about our first superstar public event on Black Feminist Filmmaking featuring the early works of Cheryl Dunye and the brilliance of Yvonne Welbon, Katina Parker and Julia Roxanne Wallace here:

Check out our first Black Feminist Film forum on Camille Billops and Suzanne Suzanne with reflections by Kai Green, Julia Wallace and Alexis Pauline Gumbs here:


How can you get involved?

1. Email to get on our Black Feminist Film School update list so you can get notices about our screenings and workshops!

2. Save the date August 15-22 to come to Durham, North Carolina for our first experimental, healing, ancestor accountable exercise in performance and documentation as part of Queer Black August in Durham! (email to get updates about Queer Black August specifically)

3. Contribute!  Do you have a rare Black feminist film to send to our library? Are you a Black feminist filmmaker that wants to donate a film or speak at a screening?  Do you just love the project and want to donate money towards this crucial and long overdue manifestation of brilliance?  Email us at or donate here:


About Black Feminist Film School

Born out of our frustration with the glaring exclusion of films and discourse by, about or for Black women in Julia’s film school experience and our deep love for the possibility of Black feminism in all forms,  Black Feminist Film School is a collaboration between Black feminist scholar/filmmaker Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D and Black feminist filmmaker/scholar Julia Roxanne Wallace, M.Div.


Our project has 2 key components:

Jessie Maple - First black woman to create feature film

1. Is there Black feminist tradition in film? Make space for a discourse about Black feminism in film and a conceptual framework in which contemporary filmmakers and theorists of film can participate in, measure, look out for and/or critique the presence or possibility of Black feminism specifically in the medium of film/video by

  • screenings and discussions of rare/underdistributed films by Black women directors/writer/producers in our hometown of Durham, North Carolina and around the country.
  • online forums on this site by Black feminist scholars about the possibility of Black feminism in important films by Black women
  • sharing information about the locations of rare/hard to see films by Black feminist filmmakers
  • developing a curriculum on Black feminist film, piloted in a community setting


Julia in Green Screen Studio


2. Where my Black feminist filmmakers at?  Infuse Black feminist community, and in particular under-represent Black women and genderqueer filmmakers and future filmmakers with the skills to use film to express their visions and transform our society by:


  • hosting a series of accessible community workshops that share the skills of script-writing, producing, shooting, lighting, editing, sound and all the other skills crucial to making high quality films
  • creating partnerships between existing institutions/equipment sources and potential Black feminist filmmakers
  • building community between existing Black feminist filmmakers, with an emphasis on queer and genderqueer Black filmmakers
  • creating an all queer of color and allied cast and crew for Julia’s upcoming film!

via WordPress

(via sexgenderbody)


For women’s day, I wanted to commerorate amazing African women who’s contributions to society have gone virtually unnoticed by the larger media. (from left to right).

Wangari Muta Mary Jo Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. She was educated in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental NGO focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights. In 1986, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” Maathai was an elected member of Parliament and served as assistant minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005. Furthermore she was an Honorary Councillor of the World Future Council. 

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (born 29 October 1938) is the 24th and current President of Liberia. She served as Minister of Finance under President William Tolbert from 1979 until the 1980 coup d’État, after which she left Liberia and held senior positions at various financial institutions. She placed a very distant second in the 1997 presidential election. Later, she was elected President in the 2005 presidential election and took office on 16 January 2006. She successfully ran for re-election in 2011. Sirleaf is the first and currently the only elected female head of state in Africa.

Graça Machel, (17 October 1945) is a Mozambican politician and humanitarian. She is the third wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela and the widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel. She is an international advocate for women’s and children’s rights and in 1997 was made a British dame for her humanitarian work. attend University of Lisbon in Portugal, where she first became involved in independence issues. In that university, she earned a scholarship from Romance Languages. She is fluent in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and English, as well as her native Tsonga. She returned to Mozambique in 1973, joined the Mozambican Liberation Front(FRELIMO) and became a schoolteacher. Following Mozambique’s independence in 1975, Machel was appointed Minister for Education and Culture. She married Samora Machel the same year. Following her retirement from the Mozambique ministry, Machel was appointed as the expert in charge of producing the groundbreaking United Nations report on the impact of armed conflict on children.

Birtukan Mideksa (born 1975) is an Ethiopian politician and former judge. She is the leader of the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party. she joined Addis Ababa University where she graduated from Law School with a Bachelors Degree in Law. She practiced law at the 3rd district of the federal judiciary. She joined the Rainbow Ethiopia: Movement for Democracy and Social Justice party and later Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) after a coalition of four parties. After election or 2005, her party won over a third of the seats. As a result, Birtukan was convicted of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and sentenced to life in prison. She was pardoned and later founded UDJ (Unity for Democracy and Justice) with the same principles followed by CUD.

Hafsat Abiola (born 1974 in Lagos) is a Nigerian human rights activist, founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), which seeks to strengthen civil society in Nigeria. Abiola graduated from Phillips Academy in 1992 and Harvard College in 1996 and later received an honorary doctorate from Haverford College. Abiola is the founder of China-Africa Bridge, which promotes mutually beneficial cross-cultural collaboration between China and Africa. In 2000, Abiola was honored as one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum. In 2003, she was elected as a Fellow of the Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. In 2006 she was nominated to be a founding councilor at the World Future Council. Also in, 2006 she raised funds by organizing performances of The Vagina Monologues in Nigeria. Since May 2008 she is also a Councilor at the World Future Council among 49 other well known personalities.

Niemat Ahmadi is the Darfuri Liaison Officer with the Save Darfur Coalition. A native of North Darfur, she promotes cooperation between the coalition and the Darfuri diaspora within the United States and abroad, focusing in particular on the role of Darfuri women in the peace process. She is a Founding Member of the Darfuri Leaders Network, a coalition of more than 20 domestic Darfuri organizations working to promote peace and security in Darfur.

(via feministbecky)


Miss(ed) Representations

I have yet to see Miss Representation, though all of my friends keep telling me that i’ll love the documentary. I think my school’s Womyns Center is doing a screening…

But before I watched it, I read this critique on Racialicious:

Miss Representation — for all of the visually racial diversity (you see Cho, former Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice, Dreamworlds director Sut Jhally, media-literacy advocate Malkia Cyril, and Newark, NJ mayor Cory Booker, among others) — fails to talk about the issue of race and racism. When I asked why at a post-screening Q&A, the response was “We only had 90 minutes, though we’re planning a second movie to deal with race.  

However, there were places in the film where race and racism could be mentioned, and it would have taken about 30 seconds. For example, a young Black woman talks about her hair and how media images make her feel about it. The narrator could easily say something like, “Far too many images we see in the media are of white women swinging long, flowing hair. Imagine how that would make a woman of color, whose hair may not do that, feel?”

I timed it: the quote took all of 15 seconds to read out loud. (I’ll be generous and give it about 30 seconds to account for dramatic voiceover.) Or even acknowledge that the majority of media images—both in the film and in entertainment itself, from news to shows to porn—are mostly of white women as both idealized and in variety of roles…and these are, quite a bit of the time, functioning in tandem. Again, all of a thirty-second voiceover or a statistic that could be one of many the film uses to further its argument on how the media hurts women and other people. The silence about race (actress Rosario Dawson is the only person who explicitly mentions “people of color”) — as well as class, gender identity, sexual identity, and  and physical ability, though the film does give a nod at how the media, especially television, fails to acknowledge women above the age of 35 as an audience or as characters — flattens the documentary’s discussion about women to the category of “woman,” as if female-presenting people all suffer from media images the same way. Of course, we don’t.

I haven’t seen it yet either. If this kind of intersectionality is ignored, then I will be very dissapointed. We cannot continue to ignore the specific ways in which WOC are continuilly marginalized and silenced, particularly by the institutional racism that is continually accepted and perpetuated by the media. I’ve been looking forward to this documentary, so we will see.

“ If white American feminist theory need not deal with the differences between us, and the resulting difference in our oppressions, then how do you deal with the fact that the women who clean your houses and tend your children while you attend conferences on feminist theory are, for the most part, poor women and women of Color? What is the theory behind racist feminism? ”


-Audre Lorde (via soydulcedeleche)

Or if they do acknowledge us then it is only in a monolithic sense because there are dichotomies and complications between the black female community as well. Just like there is for white women. But white feminism, sees us as one conglomerate unworthy of true critical thought.

(via daniellemertina)

(via strugglingtobeheard)


I was a slave, but you taught me I was free. I was your object, but you swore it was success. You taught me that my purpose in life was to be on display, to attract, and be beautiful for men. You had me believe that my body was created to market your cars. And you raised me to think I was an ugly duckling. But you lied. Islam tells me, I’m a swan. I’m different – it’s meant to be that way. And my body, my soul, was created for something more.

I thought this was REALLY powerful. Although I follow no religion, I thought this article was incredible. Please read! 

(via justda3wa-deactivated20111226)



Fair or Not?: The Snow White Complex

Directed by: M. Hasna M.

“Fair or Not?: The Snow White Complex” is a documentary about Eurocentric standards of female beauty that are held across most (post-Colonial) cultures. 

Some of the topics covered: Skin color preferences in relation to class/culture, the media’s role in exacerbating internalized racism, skin bleaching products, exoticism of dark-skinned women, and the phenomenon of tanning amongst White women.


Its moments like these where I love tumblr for the things that randomly show up on my Dash. I might forward this to a professor I know. Watch everybody!!