3 Black Women On Male Violence, Police Brutality & Who Gets Headlines

The last week has been particularly taxing for Black women. They have had to deal not only with the discourse around Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah, whereby certain pockets of the British media talked down, ignored and berated Black women about what is and what isn't racism but also the more recent conversations surrounding police brutality in the UK, following the disturbing scenes at Sarah Everard's vigil on Saturday, not to mention the subject of male violence itself.
Refinery29 reached out to three Black women to ask how they have found the last week, their thoughts on the narratives floating around, and how it all makes them feel.
Advertisement
DashDividers_1_500x100_3

Fedora Abu, 25, Copywriter

Unbothered UK: Sis, talk to me. How are you feeling?
"It’s been a real mix of emotions. When I first saw that a woman had been kidnapped around Brixton/Clapham, I had chills because that’s where I lived for three years – so it was absolutely terrifying and a bit too close to home. And at the same time, just deep sadness for her family and friends because I cannot think of a more horrific way to lose someone…
"But at the same time, as the case was being reported on and it was getting press attention, I couldn’t help but have in the back of my mind that if it had been a Black woman who’d been kidnapped and killed around Brixton, there’d probably be outrage — but it would most likely be framed as an issue within Brixton’s Black community. And she most likely wouldn’t have been covered to the extent that Sarah has…

It's not shocking — Black people have said for many years that the police are unnecessarily heavy-handed. Black men, in particular, are pinned to the floor every day for zero reason because of stop and search laws…and absolutely no one in the mainstream media cares!

Fedora abu
"That was really hammered home for me when the Duchess of Cambridge showed up… There is absolutely no way she’d have been there if it wasn’t a middle-class white woman. It’s kind of that affinity bias that a lot of white people have I guess — of only being able to truly relate because the person looks like you. Likewise, when the police started harassing people and loads of white women shared that picture of the woman on the floor and were expressing shock. It’s not shocking — Black people have said for many years that the police are unnecessarily heavy-handed. Black men, in particular, are pinned to the floor every day for zero reason because of stop and search laws…and absolutely no one in the mainstream media cares!"
Advertisement
DashDividers_1_500x100_3

Demi Colleen, 27, Veterinary Nurse

Unbothered UK: Sis, talk to me. How are you feeling?
"There's no doubt that the news of the death of Sarah has been horrific for all women to read about, I am sure plenty of us have had flashbacks to situations where we may have been unsafe or worse, situations where we have been abused. However, something about the way her death has been reported and manipulated for personal motivation alongside the outrage on social media about how police handled the protest has left a really bad taste in my mouth. This sudden disapproval of the police using violence makes me question where this energy was last year. During the Black Lives Matter protests the police used excessive force — it was encouraged and backed by the media as well as a lot of white people online, which is in stark contrast to what we’re witnessing right now.

Why does it take a white female victim to spark a movement and make way for a protest that is welcomed with open arms? Why is it now that abuse of police powers is being taken seriously when Black people have been screaming about this for so long?

Demi Colleen
"In the last few years there have been several Black women who have died in circumstances that could indicate murder but there has been a clear lack of interest, shown by little coverage and investigation. It has made my heart heavy with disappointment, exasperation and mourning. Why does it take a white female victim to spark a movement and make way for a protest that is welcomed with open arms? Why is it now that abuse of police powers is being taken seriously when Black people have been screaming about this for so long? We know why but it’s hard to talk about right now. I do not wish for Sarah’s death to become muddled in a topic that is about more than her, but it is a conversation I think we really need to have."
Advertisement
DashDividers_1_500x100

Dora Atim, 29, Fitness Coach

Unbothered UK: Sis, talk to me. How are you feeling?
"Being a woman is super tiring, I am tired. On International Women's Day, I felt so on edge because everywhere I turned it was empowerment all over the place. However most of it was not coming from a good place. While I did not want to admit that to myself, the week truly did seem to unravel and reveal what the world honestly thinks of women. 
"Watching the Meghan Markle interview struck so many chords because I just knew the backlash she was going to receive and watch the so-called 'patriotic' people spew hatred and racism, and to then watch Piers Morgan being Piers Morgan and dismiss the severity of her mental health experience. 

Knowing that Sarah Everard's death involved a policeman was no shock to me because we are all aware of police brutality and how it affects Black people.

Dora atim
"The tragic disappearance and killing of Sarah Everard was then brought to our attention, which sparked conversations around male violence against women and WOW, never have I felt so unsafe and furious. But the truth is, I have always felt this way because only last year we saw the disappearance and dismissal of Blessing Olusegun. I remember seeing [that news] and thinking, She will be dismissed like most Black women are. 
"Knowing that Sarah Everard's death involved a policeman was no shock to me because we are all aware of police brutality and how it affects Black people. It feels a little too late to be having this conversation about police but at least it is now happening. Police have been violent for years on end — and to see the response from BLM protests proved that. The story of people dying at the hands of police and in custody, which still gets forgotten about, I am tired of having to beg to feel safe."
"I feel like we live in a world that hates women, period."

More from Global News

R29 Original Series

Advertisement