It is always amazing to see what women have been able to accomplish in less than a century. What is even more impressive, however, is what African American females were forced to fight against. Today, women all over America still press on for the same issues that fellow female’s started to battle decades ago, but unlike then, this is not the start of a movement, this is the continuation of several. The rally cry “It Was Like All of Us Had Been Raped,” that the Florida A&M students used to spread awareness for Betty Jean Owen’s rape, would not be effective today; times have changed. Yes, female’s are still working to end unjust things, but the phrase wouldn’t have the power it did during the 1950s.
When an African-American female got sexually assaulted in the Southern Segregated states, the outcome of their assaulter was less likely to be charged with a crime; white men got off the hook. Before Owen’s case, black women used places like churches to speak out about the forced intimacy they suffered through, they got no justice; think about what happened to Mrs. Recy Taylor.
Students originally planned on a protest while bearing arms, something like white men would do, but in the South, that would probably weaken their cause. Instead, they used only their first amendment right. Owen’s would be the person they used to represent what has been happening to black female’s in the South for a long time; the rape of a slave was normal, thus deeming it normal to rape a black female for future generations.
Due to the situations of the decade, the chant held much significance to the people. They may have only been getting justice for Betty (although her attackers weren’t given the death penalty), it was a start for black women everywhere to get the punishment for their wrongdoers. The rally chant was able to give more push for the meaning of her case.
Today, people don’t have to riot for justice when someone is raped. Sure, there are people that still believe that it is the girl’s or boy’s fault and it isn’t a crime, but the rapist will get sentenced. Too many people were suffering from having justice slandered in a way where white was right instead of the truth. The Florida A&M students that gathered and protested are why the chant won’t be as effective. Their movements to get equality made it so victims have a better chance for the needed justice.
I am not an African-American from the segregation era, nor am I a rape victim, but I do know how heinous assault can be. We live in better times, victims of sexual assault can come forward no matter what race their perpetrator is and get proper justice.