When Women Bleed For The Dysfunction Of Men: For Janese Talton-Jackson
Janese Talton-Jackson, a 29-year-old mother of three, was shot and killed after rejecting a man’s advances at a neighborhood bar in Pittsburgh. Women all over the world are all too familiar with the realities of street harassment and the fear of potentially being harmed for not “hollering” back. Dr. Obari Cartman examines how men can step up to end violence against women.
I remember being offended when a woman wrote down my license plate number on our first date. I drove up to her apartment, she came out, greeted me, then walked right to the front of my car, got the info off my plates and sent it to a friend. It was a mildly awkward moment, such obvious acknowledgement that I might attempt to destroy her. I made an inappropriate joke to relieve MY discomfort: “I wasn’t even thinking about kidnapping you until now hee hee”. She had a witty reply in cue because she’s used to easing men’s tension. Then we forced a laugh about something that wasn’t at all funny.
Obliviousness is the essence of privilege. Gretchen Kelly is right, men have the luxury of not thinking about so much. I’m reminded of it every time I’m with a woman while she’s apartment searching, planning routes on public transportation, getting dressed for a date, getting dressed for church, getting dressed for the grocery store. The fleeting thought of my body being violated sexually only occurred once in my life, while I was in jail over night for a traffic mishap, and even then I only considered it ironically. There’s likely no number for how many times Janese Talton-Jackson, in her 29 years, evaluated the vulnerability of her body in the vicinity of Black men. Each time before the last she probably figured: “nah I’ll be fine.”