In Our Own Voice

Step Forward: Opening the Dialogue on Sexual Violence and Black Girls

By Nourbese Flint

In a classroom at Gardena High School, just outside of Los Angeles, a group of young Black women and women of color stand in a row and listen to a prompt: “If you don’t think young men respect you, step forward.” Each of the young women takes a step.

“If you’ve ever decided not to wear something tight or short because you thought men may talk to you or about you when you walk down the street, step forward.” Again, the young women all take a step.

Sexual harassment disproportionately impacts young Black women and women of color of all sexual orientations. Harassment can include physical, mental and emotional abuse, ranging  from a stare that makes a girl feel unsafe to objectifying remarks to unwanted sexual contact. As one high school student explained: “Sexual harassment to me is tearing down anyone, really. Physically, by touching; mentally, by calling them [sexualizing] names.”  Continue Reading »»

Black Women and Abortion — New Data Tells an Old Story

new analysis from the Guttmacher Institute shows that more than half of women denied coverage for abortion under the Hyde Amendment are women of color. Other recent data show that while black women comprise only 14.9 percent of women of reproductive age, we make up 27.6 percent of abortion patients.

The reasons for these disparities are complex, and rooted in centuries of oppression. With the Supreme Court having ruled on the most significant abortion rights case in recent history, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and the Hyde Amendment back in the news, it’s critical to understand the barriers to reproductive health that black women still face.  Continue Reading »»

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