I remember taking the dictionary to Mom’s bedroom. I sat on the far side of the room where no-one could see me, even if they opened the door which I had closed. I sat in the most uncomfortable position, not knowing that what I was about to read needed me to be as comfortable as possible.

I turned the pages of the dictionary until I got to the page of the letter R written in bold. I looked for the word I wanted until I found it.

Rape…

I read it over and over again until it sunk in like his manhood had sunk into me when I didn’t want it to. I remembered the sob I released that begged for mercy and help. It was begging him to stop because it was painful. But most of all, it begged for my safe haven, my Mom.

I remember how I never viewed things the same way after reading that word because I didn’t know it had happened to me until I got the meaning. This was after I had heard a policeman say it when they were still eager to find out who had raped me. I remember how I’d hear someone cry and I’d think, should I have cried like that? Was that what I was supposed to do when he opened my legs and opened what I had planned to keep sealed until I was 21?

I remember how I flinched every time I heard the word ‘rape’. And how that person who pretended to care, would look at me when she knew I had heard it. I remember how I wanted us to talk about it at home. I still want us to talk about it. I hate how I have to get home from university and pretend to be OK, to not be seeing a psychologist and taking Panados to help me sleep at night because I can’t afford to go to the doctor and have him prescribe sleeping tablets for me.

Black girls need to be taught about rape. How it’s not their fault, even if they don’t scream. They need to be taught that their brains will not block the experience as it does with the girls in the movies who only remember it when they turn 25 years old. They need to be taught that they should not only rely on their family because sometimes their family will not hesitate to call them a ‘family destroyer’ when they tell them about the incident.

Black families will call a child disrespectful for saying they don’t like a certain uncle, but a man will not be called a rapist after he has raped a 7-year-old. They conclude that the child will forget about it because they’re still a child, forgetting that a human can have the same nightmare for years.

There are so many things black people have to teach their children. A toddler that has been raped deserves the same treatment that a 21-year-old gets, that a 76-year-old gets. They will not forget just because they are little.

We, as the black society, need to change the way we approach the rape of toddlers in our black communities. Rape is rape, whether it happens to an infant or toddler or adult. This would help us raise healthy and strong children.

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Tell us: Why do you think rape is handled differently in black and/or communities than in white or/and more privileged