How To Help Someone Who Has Survived Sexual Assault


The following content may be triggering to those affected by sexual violence. 


A little over five years ago I was drugged and raped at a party in an upperclassman’s apartment by someone in my college graduating class.

After phases of shock, depression, anxiety, fear, anger, guilt, denial, numbness, embarrassment, confusion, insomnia, secrecy, flash backs, and self harm I have finally arrived at this current mental state. I am now able to speak about my experience without crying, hyperventilating, disassociating, or regressing. I am hurting but I am also still healing from this experience.

I was and am lucky enough to have caring friends, devoted therapists, and sympathetic family members; however, most of my support system has not experienced sexual assault themselves. While I do appreciate all of the love and guidance I’ve received from my network, it was a little difficult to talk to them about my rape because they didn’t fully understand what I went through.

Let me be clear: I do not wish sexual assault on anyone, but mending my relationship with myself was extremely difficult becuase I felt misunderstood. 

I am writing this article in order to help those with people in their lives who have been through sexual assault of any kind, not just rape, and want to help them. Below is a step-by-step guide to how to be there for anyone who has been through this kind of violence.


1. Accept the idea that anyone on the gender spectrum can be sexually assaulted.

Modern society has taught us that only those who identify as women can be victims of sexual violence; however, this is not true. To be inclusive of all genders I use they/them pronouns during this piece.


2. Understand that every situation is  contextual. 

Everyone is fundamentally different, which means how one responds to trauma can be different from how you may respond to the same kind of trauma. While this is true there are also some hard guidelines for best aiding a friend or loved one who has experienced sexual violence.


3. Just listen.

Do not tell survivors what to do. Part of going through sexual assault means that your choice and will have been taken away; being attentive, aware, and emotionally intelligent is crucial. This is because giving them options about what to do next allows a sense of agency to return to your friend or loved one: doing this empowers them to move through this experience with their own authority.


4. Give advice only if they ask for it.

Again, you’ll want to make sure that you give that sense of agency back to them. Providing unsolicited advice can come off as controlling or bossy, which is the absolute last kind of perception that you want to deliver. 


5. Don’t make it about you. 

Give yourself up as an autonomous person and just be there for the person that’s opening up. This is important because such an incredibly violent, disruptive experience is so deeply personal; abandoning your personal beliefs and opinions can really help whoever has experienced sexual assault to feel understood and valued. Keep an extremely open mind. 


6. Comprehend the idea that their experience, and subsequently their healing, is their own.

Remember: even if you have also been assaulted that does not mean that what they need in order to heal will be the same as what you needed to heal. They may not even want to heal in the first place! Again, every person and every experience is fundamentally different, which means that every solution can also be different.


7. Be willing to back off. 

Recounting an experience can be traumatic in and of itself, give your friend or loved one permission to stop talking about it if they need a moment or want to end the conversation. Additionally, just because they opened up to you once does not mean that you are entitled to speaking to them about the experience whenever you want to. Their assault is their assault, and honoring that idea can be represented by giving them space when they ask for it.


8. Never make them feel guilty. 

Remember that there are societal barriers that keep survivors from healing in the way that they need to. Rape culture is alive and prevalent in our community, meaning that existing as a surivor of sexual assault can be an incredibly difficult living experience day by day. Many victims of sexual violence are silenced or shamed; try your hardest to prevent them from feeling guilt or humiliation because of an atrocity committed against them.


9. Help them to establish a sense of security.  

Do they feel safe speaking to you about their experience? Do they feel safe around you in general? Do you know the spaces, people, or situations that would make them feel uncomfortable or afraid? Make sure your answers to these questions is “yes.”


10. Take care of yourself.

Being there for someone who has experienced a potentially life-changing attack can really weigh on you; self care is crucial in order to best help others. Self care looks different for everyone, so do what is best for you in order to emotionally and mentally support yourself.

*  *  *

This list was compiled from pieces of my own experience and words from other survivors. The golden rule is to treat someone like a human because they are and they deserve that kind of basic respect.

Rape and sexual assault are extremely dehumanizing experiences, and giving your friend or loved one that sense of control back can really help them begin to rebuild. I write this in order to best help those who have experienced sexual assault, but also to advise those with survivors in their life.

Take care of them and remember: they are hurting but they are also healing. 


Photos (in order of appearance) by Delaney Shuler, Alyse Mazyck, and Dariana Portes. 


My Birth Control Implant


Three out of ten, I thought to myself. I always try to rate physically painful experiences as soon as they happen so that I can be as accurate as possible when describing them.

The Nexplanon implant was inserted into my arm on an average evening in November of 2016. My best friend from high school and their best friend dropped me off at the Planned Parenthood in our college town. While I sat alone in the sterile waiting room, they left to grab burgers at the A&W drive-thru down the road. “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake played faintly as the bleach-blonde receptionist sipped what she told me was her fourth coffee of the day.

This implant is a form of birth control that provides protection for up to three years and is 99.9% effective. According to the Nexplanon website, “Nexplanon must be removed by the end of the third year and may be replaced by a new implant at the time of removal, if you wish to continue preventing pregnancy with Nexplanon.” Because of its longevity, it is considered to be a long-acting birth control option, unlike birth control pills or shots that are more short-acting. Inserted into the inside of the less dominant arm, Nexplanon is a small, thin, flexible rod about the size of a matchstick. (Yes, you can feel it if you press on your arm but it’s not visible on everyone.)

Nexplanon is a newer version of the earlier Implanon model. Both only prevent pregnancy and not STIs. For almost a year, the Nexplanon implant prevented me from getting pregnant by thickening the mucus on my cervix, stopping sperm from meeting my egg.

The insertion itself was painless due to the numbing gel that’s injected into the insertion site—it was the gel injection that merited a three-out-of-ten rating. Insertion of the implant is done with a handheld machine that resembles a hot glue gun, which shoots the device into place. After both the gel and the implant were safely put in me, I left Planned Parenthood and joined my friends at a nearby pregame. When the gel wore off a few hours later there was a lot of soreness, but it only persisted for about three days. A small, circular scar just half a centimeter in diameter still lies comfortably on my bicep.

Albeit my introduction to this type of birth control was relatively positive, the months following were equal parts exhausting and frustrating. I got the Nexplanon implant inserted during the last day of my period, and two weeks after insertion I experienced spotting. The light bleeding lasted for two weeks before stopping. Two weeks later I spotted some more, this time for four weeks. My breakthrough bleeding occurred for six weeks after that, then eight, then eight again, then ten—all with two-week breaks in between. According to Healthline, doctors still aren’t sure why some people experience breakthrough bleeding on some forms of birth control, but some believe that it’s your body’s response to a high dose of hormones. When asked why I kept it in place for so long, I explained that the nurses told me to expect side effects for the first few months and I chose to combat this side effect by waiting it out. Unfortunately, this did not work, and I encourage anyone reading this to contact a medical professional when their birth control is not performing to their liking. Bleeding this much caused me to feel fatigued, irritated, bloated, and anxious; overall, I experienced many more negative side effects than positive ones. In fact, I think the only good that came out of trying Nexplanon was that it made my skin look flawless and I was able to have sex comfortably without getting pregnant.

Aside from the massive amounts of bleeding, another side effect I experienced was depression. I felt empty, irritable, lonely, nervous, and hopeless. I drank a lot and binged on food to make me feel better, neither worked. I cried a lot and spent many nights alone. Honestly, I felt horrible that so many of my friends were enjoying their Nexplanon experience, while I suffered in silence. I told nobody about my symptoms and side effects because I felt like a failure of a woman. How could I not respond well to a product that was designed for my body? How could I not perform womanhood?

When I was tired of the negative side effects I called my gynecologist and asked her to take a look at my situation. They ran every possible test, including an ultrasound, to make sure that there were no structural or chemical imbalances in my body. The results came back positive—there was nothing wrong with me. Hearing this news did not make up for several months of guilt and depression, but it did give me hope that I could find a solution. She suggested trying Junel, a progestin/estrogen combination birth control pill, for six months on top of the Nexplanon implant, to see if that would stop the spotting. I was admittedly hesitant to have two types of hormones in my body, but I was willing to try anything at that point.

A month into this dual birth control method yielded exceptional results: my period was back to normal! The six-month trial also briefly expelled my depression. I’d returned to my true self. As soon as I stopped taking Junel my breakthrough bleeding started again, but this time I didn’t wait out any negative side effects. After truly realizing that the Nexplanon implant just wasn’t for me, I scheduled my appointment for removal.

Removal is much more complicated than insertion because the nurse has to cut through the small scar and use a tongs-like device to grab onto the Nexplanon implant. Again, she injected numbing gel into my arm and the entire process took around 15 minutes. Like a true millennial, I documented the entire moment on my Instagram story.

I do not write this in order to urge people not to use the Nexplanon implant. In fact, my friends’ positive testimonies of their experience with this type of birth control prompted me to get it inserted in the first place. However, despite my extensive research, I was not able to find too many negative statements from reputable sources at the time. Everybody is different, which means that anyone can respond to the same chemicals and hormones in drastically different ways. While my friend Brandi hardly got her period on Nexplanon and my friend Maddie had nothing but good things to say about the implant, my lived experience with Nexplanon was overwhelmingly negative.

I currently still take Junel and love this method of contraception; however, someone else may have an opposing testament. There are side effects and complications that can occur with any type of birth control, and I highly suggest that anyone considering Nexplanon and looking for advice should consider my story along with any other positive ones before making a choice for their own body.

Sifting through the many different birth control stories may seem overwhelming, but I personally wish that there was more information for me to examine before stepping into that Planned Parenthood almost two years ago. One size does not fit all, and if you are interested in using birth control it is important to find one that fits you. Do not ignore any red flags!

*Addis is one of the founders of Bitter Blush, a platform that strives to discuss topics that traditionally make people blush. You can follow the blog on Instagram at @bitter.blush. 

We Don’t All Have To Be “Beautiful”

Good things come to those who are beautiful.

Or at least that’s what I had been led to believe. During my younger years the girls with straight hair, big breasts, perfect teeth, and clear skin had a seemingly endless crowd of boys pining after them, while I (who had none of those features) did not. In fact, I struggled to get boys to remember my name at all. Despite not being “beautiful” in my peers eyes or mine, I found a sense of purpose through track, photography, and genuine friendships. However, it took time and effort to let go of these types of insecurities.

We don’t all have to be beautiful. I am not making this statement in order to refute the existence of beauty standards, whiteness in beauty, or discrimination within the beauty industry; the purpose of this essay is to discuss why being beautiful, particularly women’s beauty, is important at all.

For centuries, the value placed on a woman’s beauty has been placed above that of her intellect and character. These constructed notions suggest that one’s physical attractiveness is one of the most important traits to maintain while also upholding heteronormative beliefs. This type of feminine beauty criteria idolizes women’s physical figure, hair style, skin color, weight, sexuality, gender expression, and style. Essentially, narrowly defining what it means to be an “acceptable woman.”

Ideas of “acceptable womanhood” begin as early as children’s books, where the heroine is swept off her feet by a handsome prince who only notices her because of her shockingly beautiful features. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid draw attention to the physical qualities of their main characters rather than their personhood. In these stories physical attractiveness is rewarded while unattractiveness is reviled, which emphasizes the idea that good things come to those who are beautiful.

Later, people are introduced to more specific ideas of beauty through magazines, television, and social media. As various media outlets become more accessible and multifaceted, digesting highly damaging ideas of beauty becomes much easier. The women on the covers of magazines and in the starring roles on popular television shows are often thin, white, clear-skinned women with straight hair and teeth; diversity of representation is few and far between. These portrayals of beauty do not stop here; they exist in comic books, advertisements, and clothing stores, which mean that these ideas eventually trickle down into everyday speech and cognition. This epidemic is problematic because it forms a “perfect” ideal that is almost impossible to achieve because it is nonexistent, especially when airbrushing and Photoshop are such common tools.

Another thing to consider: is beauty itself highly valued or are the things that beauty can bring actually the source of worth? According to a Newsweek poll, 57% of hiring managers said that qualified but unattractive candidates are likely to have a more difficult time finding a job, and 61% (majority of them men) said that it would be advantageous for a woman to wear figure-flattering clothing to work. This suggests that the pressure to be beautiful lays in what can be gained from having these qualities rather than simply having the quality itself. Mass media helps illustrate this: Snow White found love because she was beautiful, the popular girls at my school were given attention/praise for being pretty, and hiring managers are likely to hire someone who’s more traditionally physically attractive. Beauty is power.

It is worth noting that I, a thin, lighter-skinned black person without acne, now have the privilege of separating myself from my looks and placing lesser value on them. Having these kinds of features and this type of beauty is an extreme privilege. However, this does not mean that I am above the constraints that feminine beauty standards place on women. I am not immune to fetishization, racism, or heteronormativity within these cultural ideas of beauty.

Being ugly, being pretty, and being anything in between society’s perception of both is not an illustration of one’s worth or character. These beauty standards were put in place to homogenize women’s physical presentation while simultaneously dictating their value and utility. We as a society need to own up to the fact that these beauty standards are outdated, irrelevant, and confining.

Matching modern culture’s definition of beauty is not an adverse quality. Conforming to this definition of femininity is not necessarily a bad thing, either. What’s most important is expressing one’s gender and sexuality honestly. I believe that depicting oneself in the most authentic way possible is incredibly important, and if that type of expression happens to fit in with what is widely accepted, then so be it. Although, feeling pressured to look or feel a certain way is a completely valid and understandable feeling, especially considering that one type of beauty is constantly being highlighted while others are getting ignored.

This does not mean that one cannot or should not take pride in their perceived beauty, but treasuring beauty and youth as we have done for centuries is exceptionally damaging. Modern society has invested in certain models of beauty, and devaluing them will help lift the constraints of feminine beauty from billions of women worldwide.

We don’t all have to be beautiful, because fitting into this narrow description of “acceptable womanhood” is unnecessary. Contrary to what this world has led you to believe, your significance is not tied to your face, body, or physical appearance. You don’t have to be Gigi or Bella to be worth something.

Losing What?

I remember the first time I watched the scene in Love and Basketball where Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan) has sex for the first time with Q McCall (Omar Epps). Soft music. Gentle touches. Intense eye contact. A dimly-lit room decorated with both affection and apprehension. The pearl necklace that she never took off.

The term “losing your virginity” never made much sense to me after that because it didn’t seem like she was losing or gaining anything. Monica didn’t lose any part of her identity and didn’t look different after intercourse, so what was there to lose? Conversely, what did the penetration allow her to gain beyond experience with heterosexual intercourse? I don’t ask this in order to invalidate their experience or relationship; this intimate moment warrants respect from the film’s audience. However, it is implied that sex has altered Monica in some ambiguous way.

Let me be clear: these false ideas of virginity as a core part of one’s identity do not only pertain to straight, cisgender people. The example above was only used because it was my first experience with the idea of virginity as purity. Gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, intersex, and asexual people’s fundamental characteristics and psychological makeup are not tainted or altered by sexual encounters. Monica’s worth is not tethered to her sexual history, and neither is that of anyone on the gender and sexuality spectrum.

Again, your mental and moral qualities are not changed after having sex. Sure, maybe you’ll feel less awkward and more experienced but overall you’ll still be you. There are several cultural and religious traditions that equate virginity with purity, honor, and worth, which would suggest that having sex spoils your character. The idea of virginity has long been associated with sexual abstinence and moral implications, so it can be discerned that if you abstain from sex, you’ll remain pure. Funny, I don’t remember Monica becoming a dirty, immoral beast, but maybe I’ll give the film another glance to make sure.

When I think about my own first sexual experience I recognize that I was a very different person back then, but that has nothing to do with the fact that my initial experience happened in a boarding school dorm room at age seventeen. I had braces, was a track and field nerd, and rarely ever caught the attention of boys at the school dances. I was undoubtedly awkward, but still comfortable with myself because my strengths were my passions and I had countless people in my life who genuinely loved me. Despite being less physically desirable, according to myself, than many of my peers, someone still wanted to have sex with me. Maybe he was genuinely interested in me; however, the fact that we’ve barely spoken in five years suggests otherwise.

My encounter comically conflicted with Monica’s. The Rick Ross poster taped haphazardly on the wall next to us fell off right as a Spotify commercial for Clorox interrupted his Jamaican dancehall music playlist. No soft music, no gentle touches, no dimly-lit room, no pearl necklace.

I remember waking up the next morning in my friend Shana’s room. My first thoughts were: “When can I fit in my long run today? Can I do eight miles in between dinner and study hall?”. Pre-sex Addis was post-sex Addis in almost every sense, except for the sole fact that I now knew what it felt like to have sexual intercourse with a boy. I was still naïve, I was still terrified to go to college, I still had braces, and I still thought it was cool to pretend to be super drunk to fit in with everyone else at parties. (It’s not, by the way).

It is worth acknowledging that for some, their first sexual episode is absolutely life-changing, especially for those who are deeply in love or have been sexually assaulted. However, sex is not a universal cognitive modifier. It is as individual as it is personal.

You can be a virgin with terrible character; You can have over fifty sexual partners and a heart of gold, and you can be anywhere in between. However, the moment you have sex for the first time does not dictate where you reside on this supposed “morality spectrum”. You will not immediately lose your standards, innocence, dignity, morality, or self-respect after sex.

I’m not a sex expert, just someone who has had a diverse set of experiences, but my fear of life changes and lasting passion for running indicates that I’m still somewhat similar to the awkward seventeen year old girl in the boarding school dorm room. Monica Wright lost her virginity to Q McCall and she still made it to the league. Sex changed nothing about her character or mine.

Chronicles Of Receiving An Unsolicited Nude

8:42pm : I sink into my usual seat in the library. For some reason the idea of forcing myself to work tonight is especially exhausting.

8:50pm :  M playfully kicks my chair and reminds me to focus. When she turns around I visit my ex’s Instagram instead.

8:55pm : I finally crack open my Chinese book.

9:15pm : Some girls enter the room gossiping about the weekend’s events. Apparently everyone knows something that I don’t.

9:17pm : I see my phone light up. C sent me a Snapchat.

9:28pm : My unwillingness to translate modern Chinese prose provokes an unnecessary study break.

9:28:30pm : My left thumb instinctively unlocks my phone.

9:29pm : Remembering how aggressively C texted me two years ago when was packing at the end of the year makes me roll my eyes. I must have said no at least 5 times.

9:30pm : Fuck it. I open the Snapchat. Believing that this will be innocent feels like community service.

9:30:30pm : It’s a dick pic. No caption. No warning. No respect.

9:33pm : I’m immobile. I’m in shock. Consumed by anger I shake my head and think “You should have expected less from him”.

9:35pm : “Should I really have expected less from him? Shouldn’t I hold all people to a basic level of respect, consideration, and awareness?”

9:36pm :  M emphasizes how important it is to finish my Chinese homework. The girls nearby sound like ducks arguing over stale bread.

9:38pm : “There’s nothing sexy or attractive about this at all; C is trying to exert power over me”.

9:40pm : “The worst part about this is that there was no consent involved. The second worst part is how uncomfortable I feel”.

9:42pm : I know if I told him all of this he’d respond: “So if I can’t ask for them and I can’t send them when I want, what the fuck am I supposed to do?”

9:44pm : C sends another Snapchat. I delete the conversation and try to forget about it.

9:46pm : M tells me that I should have screenshotted them but I disagree. It’s not about revenge or putting someone else in a compromising position. I should not disrespect someone else as a request for my own respect.

9:50pm : I plan to demand an apology from him the next time I see him. This will not happen again. I did not ask for this.

9:51pm : Chinese homework clearly isn’t getting done tonight.

9:53pm : I continue to reflect on the situation. Sending explicit photos of oneself feels empowering because one is permitting themselves to be viewed in a vulnerable way. But if it’s not consensual then the act is a digital form of sexual violence.

9:54pm : “There is a reason that flashing people in public is a crime. Just because C’s acts are electronic does not make them any less serious, offensive, or dangerous.”

9:57pm : I take a snack break. A bottle of water and a funfetti cupcake costs $4 in the library café.

10:00pm : “Experiencing constant unwarranted, vulgar sexual advances from men in my vicinity and the media is exhausting. Especially as a black woman.”

10:04pm : Third attempt at finishing my Chinese homework.

10:23pm : “Where did he get the idea that this was okay? Porn? My body is not estranged from my character.”

10:25pm : The girls leave. The dramatic decrease in noise still does not ease my anxiety.

10:26pm : “My support for people’s exception of their bodies is strong, but this is sexual violence. I am not validating C’s behavior”.

10:28pm : I resolve to finish my Chinese homework by the end of the night. I will not let him affect my academic experience or mental health.

11:13pm : Chinese homework is done.

I’m Not Your Jungle Bae

“Can you teach me how to twerk?”

“You’re pretty for a black girl.”

“One of my biggest fantasies is to role play slave and master.”

“You look so exotic, are you completely black?”

“Should I play some Destiny’s Child to make you more comfortable?”

I am not the only black woman that has heard these words. These phrases, though shocking to some, have become a familiar “mating call” for college-aged black women; fetishized by white peers under the guise of aesthetic praise. Even the seemingly complementary or innocuous ones are illustrations of the fetishization of black women, which is heavily rooted in the misogyny, racism, stereotyping, and anti-black sentiments that plague America.

Black bodies have a long history of being exoticized, fetishized, and othered. This happens to all black people, but this piece focuses on the fetishization of those that identify as a woman. The earliest example of this kind of discrimination is slave masters’ justification of raping their slaves. Slave owners’ abuse of the black woman’s sexuality branded slave women as livestock, not human beings. The erotic undertones of black people being stripped naked, oiled, and poked at by potential slave buyers were especially present in those cases relating to black women. White society believed that black women were wild, lustful creatures because they contrasted the image of the “pure” white woman. Consequently, this made black women both loathed and lusted after by white people.

This discrimination manifests in the case of Sara “Saartje” Baartman, a woman enslaved and forced into the circus as the “Hottentot Venus.” The word “Hottentot” is an ethnic slur, while the word “Venus” stands for the Roman goddess of love). During her enslavement, beginning in 1810, Baartman faced public ridicule for her figure which, according to European beauty standards, was grotesque and inhuman. Her large behind, enlarged labia, and full breasts were turned into spectacular commodities for a white audience to consume and from which her white captors to profit. This established an irony in her dual eroticization and mockery by white people; a body both sexualized and shamed. Ironically, in the same period that Baartman was shown off as a circus freak for her black female body white British women adopted the fashion of the bustle, which is characterized by emphasizing and exaggerating one’s buttocks. Unfortunately, this trend of white women with thicker bodies, like Kim Kardashian and Iggy Azalea, being admired for these features while black women with those same features being scorned, like Serena Williams and Blacc Chyna, still exists.

The idea of black women as carnal beings continued past the 17th century into the present. More recently, the production of film pornography allowed for the appropriation of black culture and misinterpretation of the black woman’s sexuality to be manufactured. The accessibility and industrialization of the porn industry makes this toxic imagery easier to promote, further praising and shaming black women for their otherness in comparison to European bodies. And let’s not forget the backlash Nicki Minaj faced after releasing the “lewd” cover art for Anaconda while Sarah, Becky, and Megan receive praise for posing in similar fashions on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Black fetishization is a powerful force that plays a role in many of the world’s institutions, including those of higher learning. The college hookup scene is difficult to navigate for many reasons, especially if you attend a small school, but it becomes increasingly more challenging when you’re black in a white space. Hookup culture is heavily based on physical appearance, and when beauty standards in America are Eurocentric this leaves even less room for black women to feel comfortable. Many of my black women friends acknowledged that at first the attention may feel empowering because they are often ignored, but fetishized compliments eventually leave them feeling used or hollow. It is quickly understood that he/she/they will not ask you for anything more than sex.

Everyone has a general right to fetish, it’s uncontrollable but ultimately derives from external forces such as cultural influences and taboos. However, the intellectual differences that distinguish the safe from the unsafe are very clear: so long as this fetish does not violate one’s humanity it is relatively safe. People with legitimate fetishes are often stigmatized, but if your “type” is one specific race, stop and ask yourself why. (Not all people who like black women or people with fetishes racially fetishize; however, the two are not mutually exclusive). Do you like black women because of their hair? Ass? “Independence”? “Sassiness”? These are characteristics of specific people, not a whole race. Believing that every member of a race possesses the exact same attributes is racist, even if it is intended as flattery. Do not imagine us to be people we are not. Do not erase our character.

Black women are repeatedly superficially judged and hypersexualized based on harmful stereotypes, which comes from centuries of violence. Centuries of combined violence, legislature, and literature have culminated in a disdain and ironic mystique for black, women’s bodies. This extension of misogyny and racism is aimed at maintaining control of the black woman’s body; it is not a compliment. Furthermore, even when black fetishization sometimes appears in the form of idolization, it is still not a compliment.

Being a black woman in college hookup culture filled with white bodies far too often means that your sexuality, character, and humanity are unappreciated and undermined. (It is also worth noting that as a rather light skinned, thin, cisgender woman, my experiences are very different from someone who does not share those same characteristics).

We are not your ebony princesses, your jungle baes, or your kinky twerking ladies. We are not objects to be used then discarded. We are not made solely to be stereotyped as erotic, naughty, wild, or aggressive. And most importantly: You are not progressive or good for “looking past our blackness”.

A few weeks ago a friend mentioned to me that one of her friends from home found me attractive and wanted to get to know me. When she asked them why she hadn’t been considered good enough to hook up with they said: “You’re cute but you’re just not black enough.”