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Silenced, Shamed, Speaking Out and the Strong Black Woman

  • Ava Kanyeredzi
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter describes women’s initial attempts to speak about experiences of violence and abuse and the responses. When Black women are unable to manage adverse experiences and display distress, they can be perceived by family members and friends as failing to uphold the survival legacy handed down through the generations from slavery (Beauboeuf-Lafontant T, Gend Soc 21:28–51, 2007; Qual Soc 31:391–406, 2008; Behind the mask of the strong black woman: voice and the embodiment of a costly performance. Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 2009; Hill Collins P, Black feminist thought: knowledge, consciousness and the politics of empowerment. Unwin Hyman, London, 1990; Fighting words: black women and the search for justice. Minnesota University Press, Minnesota, 1998; Lorde 1980, 1984; Washington P, Violence Against Women 7:1254–1283, 2001). Women interviewed for this project are encouraged by women they know to show strength, not dwell on past abuse and violence and to ignore their emotions. Even though they resist, they are nonetheless read by others as embodying strength; this incurs feelings of shame.

Keywords

Strong black woman Shame Racial betrayal 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ava Kanyeredzi
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of East LondonLondonUK

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