Nonfiction Societal The Word 4 minute read

The Holtzclaw Case Illustrates the Need for #BlackLivesMatter

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How can people be confused about the need for the Black Lives Matter movement?  When Black lives are taken, threatened, attacked or damaged you must look to Black-centric news feeds to learn about it.  At CNN, MSNBC and FOX, Trump’s hair issues and Kim Kardashian’s baby were far more important than the brutal raping of multiple Black women.  The case of a police officer, Daniel Holtzclaw, raping over 13 women is well over a year old.  When did you first learn about it?  Why is that?  And do you think the same treatment of this news story would occur if 13 White women in the same neighborhood had been brutally raped by a man hired to serve and protect the neighborhood?

Since slavery, most Americans have consciously or unconsciously accepted the social hierarchy of: White males, White women, Black males, Black women.  So much so that even Holtzclaw’s  victims didn’t come forward to report their assaults because sadly, on some unconscious level, even they knew that their word, their stories, their lives wouldn’t matter.

Holtzclaw preyed on this hierarchy, this belief that these Black woman’s lives wouldn’t matter and that he could get away with his horrific, sick crimes.  And for a long time, he did.  He targeted disenfranchised, vulnerable, poor African American women who ranged in age from 17-58.  He would tell the victims that if they didn’t submit to him then they were going to jail.  He raped and sodomized them, while saying things such as, “You never sucked a White dick before.”

From the testimony of the 17 year old:

They were on A’s mom’s porch when Holtzclaw allegedly told her he had to search her.  He allegedly groped her underneath her clothes and inserted his fingers into her genitalia.

I was in shock.  I was thinking like ‘What’s going on?  Why would he be doing this?’  He said, ‘You got warrants.  I don’t want to have to take you to jail.  I don’t want to make this any harder than it has to be.’  Something like that.  I don’t remember exactly.

I was in trouble.  Like this was bad.

‘This is what you’re going to have to do.’  That’s what he said.

She testified that Holtzclaw then exposed his penis through his fly and raped her.

I told him I didn’t even want to do it before he pulled my drawers down, but it was too late. 

Afterward Holtzclaw allegedly told A., “I might be back to see you later.”

Holtzclaw was arrested in August, 2014 after he stuffed his penis in a 58 year-old grandmother’s mouth.  This woman was the first woman to file a report.  Previously the other women were too fearful to report the rapes.  One woman said, “I thought, then again, you know, who are they going to believe?  It’s my word against his because I’m a woman and, you know, like I said, he’s a police officer.  So I just left it alone and just prayed that I never saw this man again, run into him again, you know.”

Another victim told investigators, “I was shocked and I didn’t know what to think and I didn’t know what to do, like, what am I going to do, call the cops?  He was a cop.”

Holtzclaw’s charges included first-degree rape, second-degree rape, sexual battery, stalking, burglary, indecent exposure, and forcible oral sodomy.  After his arrest, he was put on paid administrative leave until January, 2015.  A GoFundMe page was set-up for his defense fund.  He was allowed to go home and live with his parents after posting bond; despite the fact that he was up for 36 counts, 16 of which were for felonies.  But the crimes were committed against Black women.  Obviously, their lives didn’t matter — enough.

The Black Lives Movement isn’t just a call for organizational, institutional and attitudinal change for non-Blacks; but also a call for us, Blacks to believe that we matter.  Perhaps now that Holtzclaw was found guilty of 18 of the 36 counts against him, more Black women will believe that they, too, count.

Holtzclaw is a serial rapist, who used the power of his badge to rape a minimum of 13 women (because studies show that 75% of sexual violations aren’t even reported, so we can assume that there are more victims).  Until Holtzclaw was crying upon his conviction, how many of you had even heard about this case?  No tears were seen or felt until they were the tears of a White-Asian man — though these Black women had been crying for years.

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