On August 24th, 2019, a local Washington, DC charity hosted a back to school drive to highlight childhood sexual assault. Charity organization, I Am Beautiful Because, was initiated in 2017 to bring awareness to childhood sexual assault and aid victims. Founder and CEO, Trenell Eaton, organized the event and warmly greeted each attendee with activities, food and music. The organization also offered young girls informational handouts, backpacks and school supplies. Additionally, the organizers provided the girls with an opportunity to learn how to journal and meditate on positive affirmations.
In previous years, topics like mental health and sexual abuse were taboo in the African American community. Fortunately, tables are turning in light of the Me-Too movement and the public unfolding of celebrity sexual abuse cases. What’s more, Black victims of sexual abuse are less likely to be believed and are at risk of victim shaming. The Georgetown Law Center conducted a study that reported “adults view Black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than their white peers.” Essentially, the study proves that the public at large views Black girls as hypersexual and less worthy of protection. This negative treatment causes African American victims to be reluctant in coming forward. Many African American women are victimized as children but do not come forward until adulthood. The statistics in the Black community are astounding as 60% of Black girls have experienced sexual assault. For every one that comes forward, approximately fifteen do not.
Organizations like I Am Beautiful Because highlight a prevalent issue in our community and moves the topic to the forefront. Initiatives such as these aides in starting a dialogue that empower young girls to share their stories without fear of reprisal. These initiatives also help prevent childhood sexual assault by equipping parents with the tools they need to maintain vigilance. I am Beautiful Because arms young girls with preventative measures by providing them with the information needed to identify potential threats. Events such as these are signification to the Black community because they empower the most vulnerable of our demographic.