As Liberians were still digesting the sudden deportation of one of Liberia’s finest trap-co rappers, commonly known as Bucky Raw, I received messages from one of my good guy friends. He was disturbed by Liberian women’s reaction to the rapper’s deportation and his text read:
“I find it funny how y’all, the same girl power, women rights, and all that gender bullshit campaigners, are the same ones cheering Bucky Raw. Last I remembered, he beat the shit out of his baby mother. You all are hypocrites. It’s sickening that women applaud this guy when he is just a criminal.”
He concluded by saying it’s useless to support any form of gender equality initiatives because there is a clear cognitive dissonance between Liberian women actions and their cries for equality. He says we act like toothless dogs where we bark and demand gender equality but do not follow suit with the bite when it’s time to prove our loyalty and demand proper justice.
My friend’s text messages placed me in a defensive mood. Why was he attacking me that early in the morning anyway? Later, after my brain had properly awakened and I had time to rethink instances prior to Bucky Raw’s deportation, I realized that I too had similar reactions to the rapper’s deportation news. I sympathized with the fact that he was thrown in jail because I was worried about his career. But what brought up the need for empathy in this case?
I am pro-woman and every second of every day, with every breath in my body, I stand and advocate for women’s rights. I write about domestic violence issues because I too grew up in an abusive home where my dad brutally battered my mother. I watched that same form of abuse in my sister’s relationships where her boyfriends would beat her up and leave her naked for the community to watch. So, before I jump into what many may call the crucifixion of Bucky Raw’s choices, let me step into the shoes of any woman who empathizes with Bucky Raw’s deportation.
I understand that Bucky Raw’s fans are concerned about his career, as deportation is no joke for a rising celebrity. Moreover, deportation poses setbacks to his flourishing career as a rapper. Who survives the music industry these days without access to America? Local Liberian artists relentlessly seek American visas for tours and opportunities to boost their pockets and advance their careers. Even Justin Bieber had to immigrate to America to bolster his career, so we know what this means for a Liberian musician.
However, deeply rooted in all of these sad events is the fact Bucky Raw deserves absolutely no sympathy for abusing his daughter’s mother. Domestic violence is a criminal offense and it should not be taken lightly simply because the perpetrator is a celebrity. People should not pass off domestic violence as a ‘mistake’ in order to avoid conversations surrounding the nature of the rapper’s choice to abuse.
Sadly, many Liberian women rained supportive messages on Bucky Raw when he first got arrested. Despite his vivid shortcoming, they chose to celebrate Bucky. Why? Should he get impunity simply because he is a celebrity? We saw countless Facebook posts requesting impunity for him as the hashtag #FreeBuckyRaw trended.
Some women extended their support by using Bucky Raw’s pictures as their Facebook profile pictures to send a message across that they still support him regardless of the fact that he domestically abused someone. As far as I know, nobody publicly showed empathy for the victim or even consoled her with thoughts of their child and how this may affect the baby’s immediate future.
I was disgusted that many women indulged in victim blaming and shaming as they carried out sting investigations to defend Bucky Raw’s violence. Screenshots were posted online to prove that the victim, Dee Raw, was cheating on Bucky Raw which inevitably supports Bucky Raw actions. In what world is there any justification for battering a woman? Now, this is just one of many cases where a Liberian man beats on his wife or partner and gets away with it.
Given the history of terrors that Liberian women have endured, one would expect that all women’s reaction to that situation would have been “wtf.” A shocking response to Bucky Raw’s actions was highly anticipated because recently, local Liberian female advocates have been persistently advocating for women’s rights. We have seen women rally up to oppose our government’s heinous attempt to amend the rape law and make rape a bailable offense.
Some of the most horrifying experiences Liberian women endured are still all recent memory. Our mothers and sisters were raped, tortured, and battered by their sons and husbands; pregnant women had their babies torn out of their bellies by men who called themselves freedom fighters and so many more horrors.
Thus, it is hard to understand why even with this history, our culture continuously supports men’s tendencies to hit on their wives and female counterparts. Our culture overlooks men’s habitual infidelity but shuns women if they attempt to escape the horrors of their marriages. It is the culture that a woman has to stay married to a monster of a husband to maintain her respect in her community. She isn’t encouraged to seek justice although he’s violating her human right. After we’ve watched our mothers go through these inhumane treatments when the law was not there to protect them, many Liberian young girls and women are not yet taking active steps to oppose domestic violence.
I cringe every time I see girls in relationships with abusive men making no efforts to leave those relationships. Back then, our mothers did not have some of the options we now have. Until recently, Liberian women did not even have a law that criminalized domestic violence; men would abuse their spouses and the only option our mothers had was family meetings because it always best to “talk it the family way.” *insert sarcastic side eye*.
Now that Bucky’s daughter’s mother had the courage and strength to take the right step and demand justice, we women, who should be our sister’s keepers, shun her for her bravery. We did not take into account Bucky Raw’s abusive behavior not less to talk about the fact that he even violated his probation by hitting on the victim. So now I wonder, are all our efforts to protest for women’s rights getting blindsided? Don’t our sisters see how wrong this is? Don’t they realize that it is not okay to abuse another person or for a man to lay his hands on a woman? Why equate the repercussions of cheating to being brutally beaten?
Fast forward to Bucky’s first interview since his arrest last year where the rapper apologized to his fans for domestically abusing a female, he mentioned that he has served his time and is very aware of the harms of domestic violence. These remorseful comments led many to assume that he intends to be an advocate against domestic violence, which is not a horrible thing. We can always use more support of domestic violence, right? However, the whole ‘domestic violence advocate’ rhetoric could possibly be a scheme to push more women into giving him a pass. Giving the rapper an easy pass by readily and swiftly ‘forgiving him’ only protects a culture of ‘boys will be boys.’ It is about time that Liberian women take active steps to enforce sternness on issues that oppress us.
Bucky Raw’s case is only highlighted because he is a celebrity. However, how about the many Liberian women who are beaten by their male partners daily? Those women who may not be as lucky as Dee Raw to have their abuser(s) punished by the law? Those women who still do not know that domestic violence is a crime? Those women who unfortunately die as a result of being brutally beaten by someone who claims to love them? How about them?
I believe we need to stand up for them. We need to show support, to those who have the strength to come forth and report the abuse as well as those who don’t. It is proven that a high percentage of women who are domestically abused fear for their lives and that’s why they don’t come forth and report. So, if a woman works through all that fear and reports only to have her own tribe of women justifying her abuse, what’s to encourage any other victim to do the same? Where are these victims to find solace?
To quote the heroic Winnie Mandela:
“The overwhelming majority of women accept patriarchy unquestioningly and even protect it, working out the resultant frustrations not against men but against themselves in their competition for men as sons, lovers, and husbands.”
Authored by Suma Massaley
Featured Picture: ONUCI.Org