Rest in Peace Karabo

Today we put black men on pause. Everything. The mansplaining, the excuses, the “not all men”. I’d largely removed myself from the conversation around #RIPKarabo. I didn’t have the emotional capital to get involved – but I really was kidding myself. You see women can never remove themselves from a world that is completely and utterly hostile to them.

Some guys (and girls) chuckle when they see the pepper spray on my key chain. “Do I use it? Why do I have it?”

Uber Drivers get beyond irritated when I request to check the boot of the car to see that it is empty, when I’m using their services at night.

My ‘paranoia’ is a joke, or an inconvenience.

Women, women of colour don’t get a day off from violence. Not a single fucking day. Even when we are not directly affected, it resonates in a friend, a relative or a loved one. It is there in a flinch or a quick change of the topic, omnipresent. And while we are healing or trying to heal others – we are being blamed, interrogated and criticized for not seeing the signs.

Today I discovered the sickening pattern and escalation created my attacker. From an emotionally abusive and vindictive boyfriend to a creepy guy looking to get lucky to then me… and one of the worst nights of my life. He was known on campus, infamous really. But not for one second do I blame any of the girls who were unfortunate to cross his path – I do not blame you or myself for not seeing the signs.

See the onus is not on us to protect ourselves – believe me, we do and we try. But if a man wants to get to you – he will… through emotional manipulation, isolating you and if it comes to it…physical force.

One of my closest guy friends today was responding to a tweet. He says, “No one lays hands on anyone by mistake. They’ve already answered the ‘what do I think will happen’ question in their minds.”

We aren’t supposed to wear this, laugh at that, go on dates, drive, breathe… I repeat again. If a man wants to get you – he can and will… repercussions? Laughable at best. We name names, we attempt court procedures or beg policemen to believe us… You can have all the fucking evidence in the world, and your case won’t be a sure a thing.

I had to jump on the phone today another close friend, and gave her the details of today’s events. Just like how we shut down white noise, so males can take a seat. Someone tweeted about the expectations men have of women… that you cannot expect us to heal you and teach you, love you to death literally…If men really wanted to change, or challenge their problematic friends they would – there’s enough literature, conversation, avenues out there.

What is needed is a space for women, we need to heal each other, be there for each other. We are making that space now, and it is making many uncomfortable – but it is necessary. Keep up the fight.

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