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We have to remember that this cultural moment is about far more than the despicable things R. Kelly has done, and we cannot allow others to use him or anyone else's more visible forms of misconduct in order to deflect from their own.

This essay contains discussions of r/pe and sexual violence against minors, sexual harassment, and domestic abuse. “Surviving R. Kelly” aired on Lifetime last week, in which women who were preyed on by R. Kelly spoke about the abuse they experienced and witnessed. Several celebrities also made appearances to criticize the singer and his abuses against girls and women. Among them were rapper Joe Budden, radio host Charlamagne Tha God, and music journalist Touré. These three men spoke with conviction about how appalled they were by the details of R. Kelly’s case, and I’m sure they were very convincing to viewers in their admonishment of him despite their own unsavory behavior. Not only has Charlamagne tweeted horrible “jokes” about R. Kelly and statutory rape in the past, but he has also admitted to drugging and date raping a woman and has another rape allegation against him from a woman who says he assaulted her when she was just 15 and he was 22. Joe Budden’s former girlfriend detailed how he physically abused her. Even though the charges were eventually dropped, the rapper did plead guilty to a disorderly conduct charge connected with the incident. Furthermore, graphic photos of his accuser’s bruises around her neck released by TMZ certainly provide evidence of violence. This week, Touré was publicly accused of aggressive sexual harassment by a makeup artist who used to work with him. She spoke up because she saw him in “Surviving R. Kelly” and commented on the irony of him appearing to discuss the singer’s sexual violence after having participated in sexual misconduct himself. She provided screenshots of his apology in a private message to her, which included “Please don't talk badly about me! I'm so ashamed to think of that happening.” Touré issued this response to the public accusation: “On the show, our team, including myself, engaged in edgy, crass banter, that at the time I did not think was offensive for our tight-knit group. I am sorry for my language and for making her feel uncomfortable in any way. As a lead on the show, I should have refrained from this behavior. I have learned and grown from this experience.” Knowing about the allegations against and confessions of Charlamagne and Joe Budden, and now learning about the disgusting behavior of Touré and his shitty apology, seeing them appear in the capacity they did in “Surviving R. Kelly” is dubious, to say the least. This unfortunate juxtaposition has helped me put words to something that has bothered me for over a year now. It starts with Aziz Ansari and the public responses to a woman's account of a "bad date" with the comedian from 2017, in which “Grace” detailed how he made her increasingly uncomfortable with his sexual advances towards her as the night progressed. It was certainly a polarizing moment, with some speaking up to say they had also experienced that kind of treatment on a date and others missing the point by excusing his behavior because they perceived his sexual aggression as normal.
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Black women are still left out of larger discussions of domestic violence because society at large does not care about their lives.

This essay contains discussions of violence against women Last week, Dr. Tamara O'Neal was gunned down by her ex-fiancé, along with two others in the hospital where she worked. It's reminiscent of when Karen Smith was killed during a school shooting carried out by her husband last year. He was a beloved pastor, though former partners had accused him of domestic violence in the past. Last week, Stefanie Vallery was stabbed to death by her estranged husband, and her sister and daughter were both severely injured while trying to protect her. So was Aisha Fraser, in front of her children. Her ex-husband, a former judge, had assaulted her so badly in 2014 that she needed facial reconstruction surgery. He served only nine months. Both of these instances harken back to when Jeannine Skinner was stabbed to death by her boyfriend last year. They had been dating a little over two months and he had a long history of domestic violence. She’d hoped she could help him. [caption id="attachment_50271" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Dr. Tamara O'Neal (Monte Gerlach Photography via AP)[/caption] Black women—followed closely by Native American women—are murdered more than any other race in the U.S., which means they are at disproportionate risk for death by domestic violence. In 1996, the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, also known as the Lautenberg Amendment, was established to prevent accused and convicted domestic abusers from purchasing guns. However, this ban did not require them to turn over any guns they already owned. Since then, some states have rectified this, effectively closing this gap, but most states have not, and this isn't the only loophole—the ban only applies to domestic and marital relationships and people who have children together, which leaves many people vulnerable within the “boyfriend loophole”. Additionally, abusers have even gone to court in efforts to have their gun rights returned to them, as they feel they never should have been taken away in the first place. Lawyers arguing their case have insisted that there is a hierarchy of violence, where if the violence is planned, it should be considered as a reason to keep guns away from the abuser, but that impulsive violence shouldn’t—which intentionally ignores the millions of victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). A study about nonfatal gun use in IPVs found that almost one million women in the U.S. had been shot or shot at by their partner, and about 4.5 million reported that an intimate partner threatened them with a gun. There is too strong of a relationship between IPV/domestic violence and mass shootings for us to keep shuffling misogyny and patriarchy on the back-burner during our conversations and actions to end gun violence.
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