I have watched the video of Daniel Holtzclaw being found guilty of multiple counts of rape and sexual battery many, many times now. I watch the man rocking himself like a little boy and sobbing as each count is read. Each time I watch it I pity him. I believe he truly expected to get off and now, going to prison, he knows what to expect there too.
Everything I’ve read about this case points to Holtzclaw specifically targeting black women because he knew that they would not be believed. That was his expectation. The word of a white police office would always trump the accusations of a black woman.
And I’ve read the stories of some of these women. Not surprisingly, they too expected not to be believed. Until one brave woman said, “He picked the wrong lady” and someone believed her.
I have browsed black social media looking for reactions. On one site I read that this is the first time a white man was convicted of the rape of a black woman. While I know that is not accurate, I understand the sentiment. That is the expectation, based on years and years and years of practiced injustice.
I remember sharing with a straight blogging friend a picture of Daphne and I in Europe. Her response was “I love to think about you two galavanting around Europe.” And I thought “how naive she is, we were scared to death.” as we were whenever we were out in public - an interracial lesbian couple, in the 80s, and now far from home. We made ourselves as small as possible and expected to have problems. But privileged, straight, white women get to have different expectations.
When Daphne and I were sexually assaulted the police interviewed me and wrote their report. I was afraid and in shock and fighting to be able to see Daphne. I am told I was taken to a hospital so my body could be examined and photographed, my clothing taken for evidence, my broken bones cast. I have very little memory of this. But I do remember speaking with the police who said to me, on more than one occasion - “well, what did you expect?”
What did I expect? I’m not sure I had any expectations, but it I’m sure it wasn’t that.
I do not know what it is like to live as a black woman in our culture. But I do know what it was like to love a black woman. I know what it is like to have no power to fight an aggressor. I know what it was like to have my life and love so devalued that a police officer would just assume we deserved to be attacked. I can only imagine how frightening and dehumanizing it must be for black women when faced with that kind of white power. All. The. Time.
My heart weeps for those 13 women. The jury felt they did not have enough evidence to convict Holtzclaw on all 36 counts. But I believe every single one of them. I believe every word of their agonizing stories. I hope that they will be able to find some peace and pride and healing.
I have watched the video of Daniel Holtzclaw being found guilty of multiple counts of rape and sexual battery many, many times now. I watch the man rocking himself like a little boy and sobbing as each count is read. Each time I watch it I feel pity for him.
I did not expect that.