What Does Nate Parker’s Apology Mean to Women Who’ve Experienced Sexual Assault

Parker Gave Ebony Magazine an Exclusive Interview at the Merge Summit in Los Angeles

Tamika Morrison
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Tamika Morrison

Editorial Director at RYSE INTERACTIVE
Lover of #Archetypes. #PRTherapist #Editor @RYSEConnected. #WanderlustDiaries Author of #1stLadyRules + Founder of @TMORRISONAGENCY #Closer2MyDreams #Part2
Tamika Morrison
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There’s been much discussion about the support for the upcoming screening of Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation that has a scheduled release for October since news of rape allegations broke.

 

After the American Film Institute canceled a Birth of a Nation screening and Q&A session with the filmmaker last week, Parker took to the stage Friday night at the Merge Summit in Los Angeles to give his first interview since ish hit the fan.

 

Nate Parker courageously took the first step to address the rape allegations and gave Ebony Magazine a one-on-one interview inclusive of broaching the subject of male privilege, consent, and toxic masculinity.

 

As a woman who experienced rape as a teenager, it’s a topic that still makes me squirm and even as a grown woman, in my thirties, it still brings conflict to my heart. To this very day, I still wonder if there was something I could have done differently to avoid that scar in my life.  Which makes the issue of ‘consent’ that much more important to note.

 

As Parker explains, “When I think about 1999, I think about being a 19-year-old kid, and I think about my attitude and behavior just toward women with respect objectifying them. I never thought about consent as a definition, especially as I do now. I think the definitions of so many things have changed.”

 

Not to defend Parker, but consent is a term we’re just coming to terms with in the 21st century, and it is long overdue. Growing up in the 90’s misogynistic hip hop was the king of the world and as a young, impressionable woman, that period impressed upon me that I was only as good as the twerk I could give and the sexual foreplay and Olympic-like lovemaking I would need to consent to be deemed worthy. There goes that word – consent – again.  Consent didn’t exist, oblige was the rule.

 

This entire ordeal has made an old wound fresh and leaves me reeling and conflicted about what to do. Should I support this movie, which is such an important aspect of the historical narrative of slavery in America? If I support this film, does it mean that I’m also supporting toxic masculinity and the dismissive way of being that men, particularly men of power have towards women or more specifically black women?

 

The open letter that award-winning journalist and relationship expert, Demetria Lucas D’Oyley shared on The Huffington Post pretty much sums up the emotional roller coaster the support of this film imposes on women like me who’ve been victimized by sexual assault and Feminist alike. His knee-jerk initial selfish response and disregard for the woman he left behind to defend her reputation, her self-worth and value who ultimately committed suicide was enough to make me vomit. How could I stand by and continue to allow this injustice to happen and support this film with my time and my money? As a self-assured, self-realized woman who overcame the debilitating blow of rape, I couldn’t. I won’t.

 

However, he’s since actually apologized and not just a random apology but he called up women in his circle that are feminists that have experienced rape and inquired of them to help him get an understanding of his insensitivity, and you can’t knock that. In the Bible, the Book of Proverbs says in Chapter 12, verse 15 ‘The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who listens to counsel is wise.” Nate Parker is doing the wise thing. He’s seeking so he can understand. He’s confronting so healing can do its necessary to work. And as a woman who’s experienced sexual assault, I can’t be mad about that.

 

Only time will tell if he goes through with the painful process of reconciling his past actions against the man he’s trying to become. It would be great to use this as a springboard to address issues around rape culture we find ourselves battling.

 

Although, with a bit of pain in my heart, I won’t leave him hanging (pun intended). I am willing to give Nate Parker a chance to redeem himself and make amends. I will gladly support the film when it hits theaters this Fall praying for strength to forgive the entire time. What will you do?

Birth of a Nation



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