A quote by Darlene Hine, an African American historian that has studied violence, particularly intra-group violence against Black women, sums up the experience of Black women provides some insight as to why it has been and still continues to be difficult for Black women to protect their bodily rights and seek the justice deserved:
I suggest that rape and the threat of rape influenced the development of a culture of dissemblance among Black women. By dissemblance I mean the behavior and attitudes of Black women that created the appearance of openness and disclosure but actually shielded the truth of their inner lives and selves from their oppressors (1989).
Dissemblance is a concept that has been frequently mentioned by Black, feminist scholars when
Describing the context of violence against Black women especially when it comes from Black men. It refers to the culture of secrecy that has been maintained in order to protect the front of Black solidarity. Therefore, in some instances intra-race violence has been deemed justifiable in the name of Black liberation. However, this has only lead to Blacks believing that this violence is not an actual problem and thus, ignoring it. (Crenshaw 1991). Although Black women may talk about it amongst themselves, it is not something that is disclosed publicly for reasons that are related to intersectionality.
In order to contextualize the issue of intra-group violence against Black women, it is important to understand the role that intersectionality plays on these women. There are many factors that can make a person who they are. These factors can include race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, etc. Nevertheless, a person cannot divorce any one of these factors from the other when they are thinking about which rights they should strive to have protected and when to seek justice. This is because that person’s live takes place at the intersection of all of the factors that make them who they are. With Black women this is also the case. Black women’s bodies have always been assigned less value and have always been sexually victimized since they have been in the United States. During the days of slavery their bodies were displayed for slave owners and they were bred to reproduce. Their bodies were assigned such little value that there were consequences for these types of acts were not punished. Even today Black women have to deal with oppressive images of being a Matriarch or a Jezebel which can prevent them from even speaking out about their experience. These stereotypes also contribute to Black women’s reluctance about speaking out because their credibility is typically called into question primarily because of these stereotypes. Until this day, many people think that Black women are unrapeable. So this history of victimization and these oppressive stereotypes of what it is to be a Black woman can hinder Black women from getting justice and having...