Rape in the United States is a systemic crisis. The founders of Black Women’s Blueprint understood that one of the most common abuses Black women experience is sexual violence and built an organization dedicated to using a human rights lens to create Black survivor-centered interventions to stop sexual abuse.
One intervention we established was the formation of a Black Women’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (BWTRC) – a transnational initiative with a Black diasporic analysis where survivors testify about their sexual assaults, made policy recommendations to end sexual violence, participate in healing rituals and receive apologies from harm-doers and survivor allies for the trauma they experienced. This communal and integrated response to sexual violence places the concept of justice in the hands of survivors so that we determine how to best heal and reconcile ourselves, our families, and our communities.
Today marks two years since the first Black Women’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission took place, and we are still fighting each day to love on, heal with, and support survivors of rape and sexual abuse. We continue to believe survivors, support their holisitic well-being and create interventions to ending sexual and gender-based violence in all forms against Black women, girls, and all Black people impacted by patriarchal violence.
Truth and Reconciliation Commissions were first established in South Africa after the fall of apartheid and provided a mechanism to rebuild and repair communities devastated by state-sanctioned violence. In the spirit of South African Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, Black Women’s Blueprint’s BWTRC seeks justice for survivors of rape and sexual abuse through:
Truth: Unearth the truth of survivors by providing a platform for speaking and sharing their narratives. Part of this mandate has included critical participatory action research and multi-media (film, audio, photo) documentation of survivors lived experiences across three-generations beginning with the watershed case of Recy Taylor in 1944 to 2016 marking the year of transition of the first Black president of the U.S., Barack Obama from office.
Justice: Strengthen our voices and capacity as women of African descent to develop and set our own standards of social and economic justice, as well as advocate for state and systemic reform.
Healing: Create a safe space and programs for survivors of sexual violence to recover and engage in strategies for healing.
Reconciliation: Partner with Black men, whom are calling themselves Emerging Sons, to promote intra-community reconciliation and public deliberations using a human rights framework.
As we celebrate the BWTRC, we know that there is much more work to be done to end rape culture and bear witness to the atrocity of sexual violence. We will not stop fighting until sexual abuse and reproductive violation against Black women and girls ends.
Join us as we work to erect a monument to survivors and commemorate our Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Honor what it takes for survivors to take flight to freedom.