For the past few years, there has been a large uprising in women coming forward and telling their stories on being sexually assaulted. The movement mainly started with mainstream actresses and spread throughout the media. Women started to come forward each telling their story, including the Women’s movement, the #metoo movement and many more. There are many moving parts of this movement and each person’s story is unique. Yet there is a clear factor that is missing. This is the lack of women of color coming forward.
For white women, it is much easier to come forward about the violence that occurred to them compared to a woman of color. Women of color who have come forward say that they have faced bias, hate, and ignorance. Based on RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) Indigenous women are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted than white women. Yet barely ¼ of them come forward about the abuse that they endured.
It is not only indigenous women that are scared to come forward, it is black women as well. According to the American Psychological Association, more than 20 percent of black women are raped during their lifetimes — a higher share than among women overall.
Sometimes predators specifically target women who are immigrants. Because of their immigrant status. There have been multiple cases where women choose to not speak up because of fear of deportation. This is clearly a bigger issue than just sexual assault but it shows the real impact of how vulnerable and afraid these women can feel.
All women of color have a harder time coming forward based on their position in society. White women who consider themselves feminists need to not only look at the sexism that is given to Caucasian women but also look at the problems that women of color face.
A Brandeis University study found clear colorations of one’s race related to the outcome of their trial and investigation Researchers found that prosecutors filed charges in 75% of the cases in which a White woman was attacked, but when the victim is a person of color the prosecutors only filed charges 34% of the time.
There needs to be more understanding and support for women of color who are victims. Society can not just ignore these women until they come forward, or worse until they are not proven liars. There has to be compassion and a change made in order to make these women feel more comfortable to tell their stories. Do this by becoming an ally, educate yourself on the injustice that has been seen throughout history. Along with this makes women of color the center of the movement instead of the forgotten side pieces. Support and stand alongside women of color by contacting legislators and groups near you. Learning is the start to change.