Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dear Nate Parker - A Letter From A Rape Survivor


I am a Black same gender loving man who had a sense of pride and respect for you when you hit the hollywood scene. You portrayed Black men in roles that shed light on our historic achievements and contributions made throughout American history. It wasn't until I read Michael Arceneaux's "five biggest gripes from the past week" on that your luster would begin to wear off. The discovery of your homophobia or really the display of your hyper masculinity stopped me from supporting you. But when I heard about the critically acclaimed movie The Birth of a Nation, I went against my better judgement to support you again. Then, news surfaced that your contempt for feminine presentation manifested in rape seventeen years ago.

"Though the video has since disappeared from, I watched actor Nate Parker and writer-director Gina Bythewood-Prince’s interview about the upcoming film, Beyond The Lights, and heard Nate Parker declare that in an effort to “preserve the Black man,” he will, among many things, never play a gay character. Indeed, sounding like a Black Israelite..."

I am not a woman, but I can relate to the struggle of being raped and living with the aftermath of violence inflicted upon my body. Women deal with so much, regardless of race and toxic masculinity is one of the root causes. Your statement posted on facebook reeks of avoidance and male privilege, like we should just move on from your monstrous actions. Your attempts to humanize yourself in defense of violent actions and claim the role of victim in this situation is disgusting and noted. In your devastation that "a part of" your "past" - your "arrest, trial and acquittal on charges of sexual assault - has become a focal point for media coverage, social media speculation and industry conversation," you fail to acknowledge your role in this rape. You claim to understand the need for dialog, healthy relationships, and safety for women, but it does not address the undeniable fact that you and friend consciously took advantage of a woman who clearly did not consent to you having sex with her.


"I cannot- nor do I want to ignore the pain she endured during and following our trial. While I maintain my innocence that the encounter was unambiguously consensual, there are things more important than the law. There is morality; no one who calls himself a man of faith should even be in that situation. As a 36-year-old father of daughters and person of faith, I look back on that time as a teenager and can say without hesitation that I should have used more wisdom."  - Nate Parker

You claim to "understand how much confusion and pain this incident has had on so many, most importantly the young woman who was involved."  The evidence from the period in question states otherwise. Nate, it is clear that pain that you stated that you did not want to ignore, wasn't worthy of your concern when she spoke to you about not consenting to sex after the incident. Know this Nate, that woman took her life because you did what you did, I know this for a fact. I contemplated suicide after my own rape, and I am sure that she dealt with the questions of  "how?" and "why?' she got raped.

READ: I, Rape Survivor

I am one hundred percent sure that she was subjected to answering the questions about whether or not she led you and your partner in crime on. Not to mention that given the period of time, she likely experienced a line of questioning where folks challenged her morals while judging her and not you. You chided her for not agreeing with your timeline of events, and she likely got the same chastisement about how something could have been done differently to avoid your raping her. Nate, your time has come to deal with the anguish that you caused and if you lose your career over it, remember that you can't bury dirty deeds for too long.

It is truly too late for apologies, as it comes of that you are sorry for getting caught at the height of your career. We cannot accept that this "is in the past," it is YOUR past for sure and it represents so many people's "present."

Thanks, but no thanks,

Ashton P. Woods