This one is complex for me. For sexual assault/rape survivors (I am not one), I understand why his mere presence is triggering. But as someone who is not one, I also understand that everyone who has been accused is not always guilty. Then there’s the concern I have about settling a court case for something you believe you did not do. It makes you look guilty. But you set yourself up for failure if you are vocal about this person being a liar — considering the statistics of women who never come forward because people will always believe they’re lying.

I think I’m finally understanding why Gabrielle Union stepped back and respected women’s views who boycotted “Birth of a Nation.” She said she couldn’t sell the film, even though she was in it, after the situation with Nate Parker. I still saw the film. I still was neutral on the Nate Parker situation. But as a woman, I get why Gabrielle Union stepped back and respected other survivors’ wishes. And considering Union is a survivor, I especially understood why she stepped back.

So I’m not quite angry when people bring up Kobe Bryant’s past. That hasn’t stopped me from retweeting and sharing a flood of content, and watching old interviews I’ve never seen. It didn’t stop me from putting Kobe Bryant images and Laker images and balloons all over a former co-worker’s desk who loved that team. But I also understand why people are still angry about his past.

Then again, I remember a white girl who sat behind the guy (whose desk I decorated) saying “I heard he was a bad man.” And I immediately snapped at her to not repeat what she heard unless she did the research herself. So damn, maybe I am more like you than I am the women who are criticizing him. Because I didn’t like that she immediately wanted to insult/criticize/ridicule a man she knew nothing about. I knew about him even if I didn’t follow the sport. But she never seemed to have any critiques for a slew of white celebrities who’d committed crimes, whose names came up countless times.

If you can criticize everyone equally, I can step back and vouch for you. But if there’s only a certain kind of male that you have beef with, it makes me side eye you. Still though, I understand why he’s triggering — as a woman, I just cannot act like I don’t.

Written by

Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store