Nate Parker, you claim that a drunken, unconscious, young woman, agreed to have consensual sex with you and two other strange dudes, in a gang bang at your college apartment on August 20, 1999?? Maybe that’s true?? I don’t know; I wasn’t there. However, after pouring through article after article, blog after blog, court transcripts, open letters and interviews, I have given this situation much thought and I’m still left to speculate. Ok, so for argument’s sake, even if I wanted to entertain the possibility that it’s true; that the gang bang with the ‘Unnamed’ woman was “consensual,” my first thought is, at best, Nate Parker, you are one of the sickest, nastiest, misogynistic, psychopathic, BEASTS, in America!! In my opinion, any man who found out that two men gang banged their daughter or sister at college, even if she was alert and consented, would SNAP, make a trip to that school and commence to whopping his a_s!! And you would do the same #Clucking thing if you discovered that several, stank, penises, defiled either one of your five daughters. Even muddy pigs act more civilized than that!! My second thought is, at worse, you are a gang rapist!! So Nate, if this open dialogue offends you, YOU JUST TOLD ON YOURSELF!!
Let me preface this by saying, no, there is no proof that Nate Parker raped the “Unnamed” young woman. Yes, Nasty Nate was acquitted of all charges in an October 2001 trial. However, unless you choose to live under a rock, you are aware that perpetrators are typically found innocent in most rape cases, because RAPE CULTURE IS VERY REAL IN AMERICA!! Meaning, people are more interested in the victim’s “poor” choices and decisions leading up to the rape, opposed to the criminal choices made by the rapist. Simply put, sadly, we still live in a country where sexual violence is the norm and victims are blamed for their own assaults. So I am not surprised at the all too familiar, questionable, narrative, flying out of Nate Parkers lying mouth; “It was consensual!” Which is why I’m wondering, is Nate Parker The Modern Day Bill Cosby??
In an August 16, 2016 Vanity Fair interview, Nate Parker said, “I stand here, a 36-year-old man, 17 years removed from one of the most painful moments in my life. And I can imagine it was painful for everyone. I was cleared of everything, of all charges. I’ve done a lot of living, and raised a lot of children,” he added. “I’ve got five daughters and a lovely wife. My mom lives here with me; I brought her here. I’ve got four younger sisters.” First of all, what kind of response is that?? “I was cleared of all charges.” Because we all know that being cleared of criminal charges, in no way means you’re innocent. The fact is, we have a very broken judicial system, especially when it comes to convicting rapists. If I was wrongly accused of something as horrific as rape, the 1st word I would scream is...NO!! The 2nd word I would scream is...I!! The 3rd word I would scream is...Didn't!! The 4th word I would scream is...Do!! The 5th word I would scream is...It!! Instead, Nate is going on and on and on about his pain!! He’s going on and on and on about his daughters, his sisters and his mother, as if we are supposed to believe, he is in no way capable of raping a woman, because of the love for the gaggle of women in his life. Typical deflection!! What a joke!! Everyone knows that lots of men who have mothers, sisters, wives and daughters, rape women!! Yeah, sounds like Nate went to the Bill Cosby school of pomposity!! What was even more concerning, after many, very vocal women, clapped back on social media about his cold comments in the Vanity Fair article, he began back peddling, by posting an open letter on his Facebook page, pretending to empathize with the ‘Unnamed’ victim, by expressing his so called concern and sorrow for her pain and death. PA-LEEZE!! THAT WAS ALL MEDIA TRAINING AND SPIN!! It was an insult!! Too little, too late!! I was not moved!!
Before I continue, I want to reiterate, yes, I am aware that this is America and that we are supposed to be considered innocent, until proven guilty. Which is why I totally understand why people are asking, “how do you know the ‘Unnamed’ woman didn’t lie?? Great question!! And just as we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, we also know that historically, our judicial system is flawed and when we as Americans, see an injustice, it is not only our duty, but it is our right to question the injustice; even if it means challenging lazy group think!! No, we don’t know if the victim lied!! Yes, a very small percentage of rape victims have been known to lie. But it’s eerily strange that NOBODY IS ASKING, “how do we know that Nate Parker didn’t lie??” So I’ll ask, “how do we know that Nate Parker didn’t lie??” Let’s not forget, MOST rapists lie!! Hell, people lie!! With that said, because Nate Parker was acquitted, because the statute of limitations ran out, because the ‘Unnamed’ victim committed suicide in 2012, and because he will never be re-tried for the rape of the ‘Unnamed’ woman, sadly, we’ll never know the real truth!! Therefore, as a woman, I am choosing to stand in solidarity with the rape victim, by joining the court of public opinion that Nate could have raped her. Even Rape victim and ‘Birth Of A Nation’ star, actress Gabriel Union, acknowledged in the powerful, September 2, 2016 Op-Ed piece she wrote for the Los Angeles Times, “As important and ground-breaking as this film is, I cannot take these allegations lightly. On that night, 17-odd years ago, did Nate have his date’s consent? It’s very possible he thought he did!! Yet by his own admission he did not have verbal affirmation; and even if she never said “no,” silence certainly does not equal “yes.” Although it’s often difficult to read and understand body language, the fact that some individuals interpret the absence of a “no” as a “yes” is problematic at least, criminal at worst.” So my question to y’all is: if it were your daughter, your sister, your niece, your wife, your girlfriend or your fiancé, who said two men gang raped her in college, WOULD YOU BELIEVE THEM??
I’ll share this, when I was 13, a friend of mine named Laurie asked me to come with her over Gary's and Lance’s house after school, who lived on Munn Avenue in Newark, NJ. I was excited so I said yes. When we got there, to my surprise, their parents weren’t home and a third guy named Bruce, who I secretly had a crush on, was there. I didn’t feel alarmed because we all went to Alexander Street school together and they had always been nice to me. Laurie proceeds to go in the back room with Gary. And shortly after, while I was in the living room watching the Brady Bunch on TV, Lance and Bruce came from the back room and both started pushing me down and trying to rip my cloths off. While fighting and kicking, I also began screaming, “Stop!! Stop!! Stop!! No!! No!! Don’t!!” They were putting their hands over my mouth and trying to shhhh me. Eventually, I wore them down and they let me go. I know for a fact that I got very lucky that they didn’t rape me, because they were both much stronger than me and could have over powered me. Thankfully they got scared and just aborted the mission. However, suppose they would have raped me?? They would have lied and said they didn’t rape me because I voluntarily came to the house and agreed to a threesome. And of course since I wasn’t forced to be there, and I chose to stay after learning their parents weren’t home, instead of people seeing me as a victim, I would have been blamed for being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. My credibility would have been in question; not theirs. I would have been seen as a loose, hoe; not a rape victim. Suffice it to say, although I wasn’t raped, I never told my mother or anyone back then, because I would have still been seen as a stank, “fast tail,” hoe, who was flirting with and throwing myself on those boys. #SMH.
So let’s get right down to probabilities, shall we!! FACT: Most (66%) rape victims NEVER TELL!! FACT: Most rape victims who do tell, are NOT BELIEVED!! FACT; Most women (victims) who do tell, ARE TELLING THE TRUTH!! FACT: Most rapists ARE NOT FALSELY ACCUSED!! FACT: When accused, MOST RAPISTS ARE LYING!! FACT: Most RAPISTS ARE NEVER BROUGHT TO JUSTICE!! By now you see where I’m going with this. Yes, it is hard to prove rape and even harder to prove date rape; WHICH IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY RAPISTS RAPE!! The Daily Beast even reported that, Tamerlane Kangas, the other friend invited by Parker to join him and Celestin in the gang bang, warned Jean, “No, you don’t want to go inside that room. I personally didn’t go into the room because I wasn’t attracted to Jennifer and I didn’t believe that four people at one time was—you know, it didn’t seem right,” the Air Force officer added at the trial. So, based on Kangas’ testimony, he urged them not to go forward with the so called “consensual” gang bang. Clearly, they had ample time to rethink the situation and stop, yet, they continued!! Sounds like premeditated rape to me!! Because of the overwhelming facts surrounding the rape case and the ongoing rape culture in this country, it’s not just PROBABLE that Nate Parker and his cohort, #JeanCelestin, are guilty of gang raping the ‘Unnamed’ victim, IT’S PLAUSABLE!! PS, just because the ‘Unnamed’ victim had consensual sex with Nate Parker on a previous occasion, doesn’t mean he didn’t rape her on August 20, 1999. You are all aware that even if a woman, including your own wife, chooses to have sex with you one minute, she has the right to say no to having sex with you the very next minute!! And if you force yourself on her after that, IT’S RAPE!!
Now, let me address my black brethren who feel that there is some kind of Hollywood conspiracy to destroy the black man and his image. Although I’m not a conspiracy theorist, yes, I know that conspiracies do exist!! And I am also fully aware that racism in Hollywood is very real!! Hollywood is just a smaller racist picture, of the bigger racist picture. So, to answer the burning question, do I think that accused white Hollywood rapists like Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, and Stephen Collins, get treated differently than accused black Hollywood rapists like Bill Cosby and Nate Parker?? ABSOLUTELY!! That’s not just a Hollywood phenomenon, it’s no secret that the overarching racist society, and racist criminal justice system, treats black men very differently than their white male counterparts, when they are accused of the exact same crime. Is that wrong?? Of course!! However, does it mean “we” should cancel out one for the other?? NO!! Black people, please don’t tell me that you want to choose race over rape?? Really?? Are we that hurt as a people?? Did racism cause us such pain that we have lost our humanity?? Are we so broken, bitter and blinded by the wounds of racism, that we don’t want to even fathom, that a black man like Nate Parker, can be a gang rapist?? Are we really so emotionally downtrodden from the pain of racism, that we can only see how Hollywood wants to destroy Nate because he’s a black man, but not even contemplate the possibility that he could have singlehandedly destroyed himself, by possibly being a sexual predator?? Sorry my beautiful black people, I love us dearly, but I can not and I will not, ride with you on that!! I don’t condone racism or rape!! I’m working to speak out against both!! Therefore, I will not give a black man a pass on rape, just because a white man is getting a pass on rape!! What the hell kind of ignorant, apathy, is that!!??
Rapists of all races and backgrounds, get away with rape every day, because we have a culture of victim blaming and shaming; especially with female rape victims. RAPE, is in it’s own lane!! So black folks, please stop acting like rape is not an issue in our community AS WELL; Black fathers rape! Black teachers rape! Black preachers rape! Black coaches rape! Black brothers rape! Black uncles rape! And Black neighbors rape! The pathology of sexual violence in America is a dis-ease in our community, no different than all other communities. Some of you who are reading this blog right now, whether you want to admit it or not, have been raped and nobody believed you!! SO STOP ACTING LIKE YOU HAVE AMNESIA!! And PUT SOME ‘RESPEC’ ON IT!!
A lot of blacks who read this blog are gonna kick my back in and I’m totally ok with that. During the Civil Rights movement many blacks hated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for speaking out against racism and accused him of stirring up trouble. HOW SOON WE FORGET!! So, I said all that to say, when I make the choice to stand up for sexual violence against women, I don’t give a #cluck who hates me for it!! That comes with the territory. Let me be real real clear before I move forward and cross the finish line; I am a very conscious black woman!! I have pride in being black and I do whatever I can, within my power, to speak out against the injustices of blacks everywhere. Just check my twitter handle (@LisaRdurden) and you will see the hate I get from racists, who wish they could kill me for making appearances on Fox News Channel programs like Fox & Friends and The Kelly Files, speaking up for #BlackLivesMatter issues and speaking out against all racism, including the brutalization of innocent black men and women by racist, robo, cops. So I will not allow my blackness to be in question, because I am choosing to give the benefit of the doubt to Nate Parker’s ‘Unnamed,’ white, rape victim. Why I am choosing to stand in solidarity with the ‘Unnamed’ raped victim, has zero to do with the fact that she's white!! And everything to do with the fact that I…AM…A…WOMAN!! Just in case you good black folks didn’t get the memo, let me inform you that, in this sick world of the isms; ageism, classism, nepotism, cronyism, colorism, racism and sexism, my womanness, trumps my blackness!! Why, BECAUSE I SAID SO!!
The ongoing debate in the black community is, WILL YOU SUPPORT Nate Parker’s film, Birth Of A Nation?? This is a hard one for me. As a black woman, I am aware that the story of Nat Turner, “a former slave in America, who leads a liberation movement in 1831, to free African-Americans in Virginia, that results in a violent retaliation from whites,” is a story that needs to be told. And I am glad that someone finally told it!! Continuing to teach present and future generations through historical films like #BirthOfANation, will have a lasting impact!! Anyone who knows me knows, my “thing” is to go and see black films opening night!! That is my contribution as a fellow filmmaker, because I am aware that in order for black films to set Hollywood all the way straight, opening weekend box office success, is a must!! But I can’t with this one!! I just can’t take a chance that I am supporting a gang rapist with my hard earned $12 dollars. Again, I have no proof that #NateParker raped the ‘Unnamed’ woman. I want to believe he is innocent. We will never know now because she killed herself. That makes me very sad. So although I will boycott the film, I will not judge black people who choose to support it. I am not the kind of black person who feels that all blacks must think alike to prove their blackness. So for those of you who will be going to the theaters to see the film in October, I respect that!! Please respect that I WLL NOT!!
- Published in Pop Culture