Today, I walked the streets of Johannesburg with a dear friend, laughing and singing random ass songs. I was mostly present, but there were parts of me trying to figure out what it means that Bishop Eddie Long is dead and all I want to do is write “Fuck Eddie Long” on my timeline and on my twitter and everywhere else. I’m trying to figure out how to tell the parents of real children, not dogs or cats, but real children, that they should avoid the well wishes and fake funeral talk that consists of lies like, “he was such a good man” and “heaven gained an angel.”
In the words of Vernon Johns, “live like a dog, die like a dog.”
For the past 12 years, I’ve participated in the raising of my child, and served as one of the village folk participating in the raising of other peoples’ children, and it’s safe to say it’s unfathomable by most kind-hearted folks the pain and damage I’d cause the second I found out someone molested my child or those children; the second I found out someone was sending my child or those children far-unacceptable photos; the second I found out one of the village folks helping raise him or them decided to hand them over to a predator in exchange for milk and honey.
To see parents of real children standing in defense of a man who molested another woman and man’s child is heartbreaking. Not everyone deserves forgiveness. Not everyone deserves your defense.
Oh, but you rape and child molestation apologists are mighty and loud. They want those who stand with the victims of Eddie’s terror, and the victims of rape worldwide, to suspend their activism. They want silence because they feel death should give absolution.
I’ve sat with enough rape victims over the past four years, crying with them, loving on them, and being fed by them to know that even when the rapist dies, those fucked up memories still go strong. Death was too easy for the rapist. The victims’ fantasies of catching the rapist in an alley with a chest of torture tools will go unfulfilled. They shouldn’t.
I just finished a project focusing on Black mental illness. I just listened as so many courageous folk told me about their depression and their anxiety and their inability to sometimes deal in the world and how these issues began when they were raped. Several whose rapist is dead. Again, what didn’t die with those rapists are the memories of those rooms, those hands hands, the way the adults they confided in told them it was their fault for being “fast,” or simply called them “liar,” then told them to keep it quiet because it would make no sense to bring down a that much power.
Pardon me if the death of Bishop Eddie Long is one to which I will raise a glass in celebration. Pardon me if your “nobody’s perfect” and “the dead and their family deserve respect” mantras sound like modern hip hop and I’m choosing not to listen. You must forgive me if my heart has no space for the demons. Blue Run Baptist Church didn’t fill me with the common humanity required to pray for demons.
Fuck Bishop Eddie Long and those who still amen’d to his word.