Calling out Cosby and his enablers is important, but it, in and of itself, is not the work of justice. Of course, revelatory, narrative-changing American justice is impossible without honesty. But honesty isn’t the end of justice work. Getting comprehensive sexual violence curriculum, and well-paid, superbly trained educators and counselors in our schools, churches and jobs to address the nexus between sexual violence, gender construction and racial terror might be part of the work. Committing to not just valuing consent with partners, but willing ourselves to have hard, loving conversations with friends and partners about where we’ve been sexually, where we hope to go, and the roles that violence has played in our history, might be part of the work. Making sure that survivors of sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence living in poverty have healthy, free alternative places to stay and heal when home is bloody and emotionally destructive might be part of the work, too.
Writing that paragraph, or this piece, does not make me any less prone to violence and abuse. The bar is so low for men and boys, regardless of sexuality, that even just trying to do this work, just offering up these constructed public revelations of who we’ve been, makes us feel like we’re flying. Or like we’ve flown.
We ain’t flying.
Brave piece from Kiese Laymon on taking the conversation further than simply acknowledging that male violence exists and is bad, in Literary Hub.