April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and I’m making a list of my favorite activists speaking out against sexual violence. Some are old-school activists working on the ground in non-profit organizations; some are artists; some are writers – all are committed. I’ve been speaking out against sexual violence for the last 15 years – beginning slightly more than a year after I survived an experience of rape. The people I mention this month are friends and comrades.
Aishah Shahidah Simmons’ No! The Rape Documentary. This documentary is not only filled with great images, stories and analysts (including some on religion), but it also has wonderful poetry and overturns heterosexist assumptions about rape. Did I mention that it comes with a workbook?
I met Aishah via phone for years before we met in person. We were orbiting the same world in our activism and had many friends and colleagues in common. We supported each other’s work as much as we could. Years later, we were both featured keynote speakers at a sexual violence awareness event at Mount Sixth Baptist Church in Richmond, VA. We’ve since become good friends, and I can say that she’s committed to this work in her speaking, writing, lifeand art.