What Child Abuse REALLY is in the Black Community

0674In a video that I ran on the blog today on Tyler Perry’s appearance on 60 Min, I neglected to relate the title of the story to the story below. I am disturbed by the issue of in the black community … I’ve been studying psychology for years and I’m returning to school in Jan to complete a degree in the field and it’s always been my main interest, so this is not about the music industry but perhaps you know someone this relates to…

Tyler Perry claims he has forgiven his father for years of severe physical abuse. For anyone who has ever studied psychology, it is evident why his mentally ill   father, a black man, did what he did. He hated Tyler and Tyler’s mother for protecting him and for simply being his mother but most of all he hated himself and he felt trapped. Tyler’s not telling the whole story but it’s not that hard to figure out. The sad irony about any type of abuse is these kids never get real revenge no matter how successful they become as adults. I question if having a relationship with the abuser, as Tyler does/did with his father, is the answer or even good for the victim.

If you have your own kids, how apt would you be to leave them around the person who abused you?   If you did and they abused your children could that be the catalyst to have you arrested for assault or worse? There is a good chance   the abused person will overprotect their own children in a situation like this and with all these risks, why should YOU even have a relationship at all with the abuser? To me, it solidifies the abuser’s treatment and qualifies his or her stance as an OK thing.   What has a person denied themselves by having a relationship with someone who took advantage of or mistreated them?     Sure it’s too late to look back but it’s also too late to move forward but that is not the victim’s fault it’s the abuser’s fault. Quite often victims are made to feel they are wrong for being pissed off about what took place in the black community. Isn’t that an irony? The abuse is traumatic because the child was not protected and now as an adult if he or she tries to protect themselves, they are denied the opportunity to be pissed off about… not being protected? They are “bringing up the past,” they need to “get over it” or “move on.”   Could they simply be looking for a resolution? It’s the kind of rhetoric that black churches and ministers like TD Jakes preach each Sunday and it’s the WRONG INFORMATION.   It is no wonder so many abused children grow up and turn to drugs and alcohol. We must realize the conditioned possibility that these people don’t know HOW to get over it. It doesn’t mean they enjoy being pissed off..   if they did, why would they be so frustrated? (laugh).

Adults who abuse children are cowards and the only reason they stop doing it when the child grows up is for fear of the child retaliating in the worst way. They know they have done wrong so they walk on eggshells and change for the better when the odds are no longer stacked in their favor. Yet the damage that is done to an abused child is often irrevocable. Western culture defines therapy as a way of healing and forgiving, I’m not saying none of it works, but the black community’s approach to healing has often been found in a bottle of Jack Daniels, prescription pills, crack, sex, gambling, food and other addictions because we have collectively denied ourselves an opportunity to have feelings or to even address certain things. The black community does not hand le mental illness well and abuse causes mental illness. We pretty much forget about everything once someone puts on some music.

Abuse is often more severe in the black community because it is coupled with poverty, frustration, neglect and the effects of being boxed in and categorized by American culture. We surmise that it feels better to just ignore it. You cannot be expected to forgive someone who literally stole your childhood and have a normal life.   You SHOULD be pissed off and mad as hell, the question is what do you do with that energy when you can’t beat the living sh… out of that person, which in all honesty is probably the best and worst solution. You may have surmised I have my own childhood issues and I did but at the same time I had a great childhood too. For me there was enough balance to maintain a level of sanity but child abuse is still an issue that disturbs me. What disturbs me more is the fact that the black community includes this in the plethora of things to sweep under the carpet because we are too fooking lazy to deal with it. Tyler has certainly channeled his frustration but he has not changed it, it’s evident in this video. That house that he grew up in needs to be purchased by him then destroyed. That’s at least a first step in taking control of the situation. I don’t think any outside resource, which includes: family members, the black church or a therapist who has not experienced the same thing as a child can bring peace of mind to an adult with this kind of suffering. He or she will have to protect themselves in a sane, legal and drug free way which he or she will have to discover on their own. Having money doesn’t change things for the best all the time, it can also multiply the person and habits you had before you had money… good AND bad. So the next time someone calls you feeling distressed about their childhood, don’t tell them to “get over it” or “move on” ask them “How are you going to resolve this situation?” It not only puts them on the spot but may force them to think and finally take some sort of action to be able to “move on.”

kevRoss

CEO of RF Focus, Radio and Music Industry Veteran. Radio DJ, Programmer, Musician and Voice Talent. Graduated from Performing Arts in Buffalo, N.Y. and worked at the legendary KKBT (92.3 The Beat) during its nationwide heyday in the early 90s. Also worked for Stevie Wonder at KJLH.

1 COMMENT

  1. Healing is a long process involving stages. First, is the acknowledgment that what happened was abuse. Despite being almost beaten to death, I grew up not realizing what happened to me was abuse for two reasons. My mind blocked out the worse parts and what I experienced was normal to me because I didn’t have a point of reference.

    The next step is acknowledging feelings about what happened. It can take years to get through this as you discover and examine all the ways you were damaged and how it affected your life. You have to feel your rage / anger (depending on the depth and length of your abuse).

    I cannot stress this next point enough: Only after you are really through with that second stage can you come to forgive. The parent / child ties go deep into the soul. There comes a time where you begin to become curious about how the person who abused you (in my case my mother) became the person they were. What happened to them? You look for a more historical perspective. It is at this point that you get a more full picture of what happened, like putting the final pieces of a puzzle together. Once you have arrived at this place, then you can move on with your life.

    I wholeheartedly agree that there is deep damage when you tell an abuse survivor the following messages;

    “It happened long ago, get over it.”
    “Why do you want to wallow in the past?”
    “It’s over, you have to move forward.”
    “You just have to forgive, because Jesus forgave you.”

    When abuse survivors get these messages, it takes away their rights to their feelings about what happened. When they announce to everyone they forgive, but are left with all the crappy feelings inside, they often turn to booze, drugs or suicide, because they forgave and they still feel bad about it, so something must be wrong with them.

    If I had to choose one piece of advice to the abused and those around them, it would be “allow people their feelings.” If you weren’t the person being abused, be quiet and listen. What you think isn’t near as important as what they feel.

    Though I understand there are cultural aspects to abuse, as a 57 year old white female survivor of physical and emotional child abuse who has finally come to a place where I am mostly healed, I felt I had something to contribute to the conversation.

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