A sexy voluptuous exotic dancer named “Milky” sits in a hotel room making small talk with a road manager as she waits for famed rap sensation, known as “Paris” for purposes of this story, to arrive. 45 minutes later, Paris bursts through the door donning a hotel robe and a white towel rapped around his head. “Damn you smell good as hell,” he says to Milky, as he tries to kiss her breast. After only five minutes, Paris’s road manager and security head to the bathroom and motion for Paris to come. Paris beckons for Milky to come along. Intoxicated and now a little scared, Milky follows him, Having been sexually abused in the past, trust doesn’t come easily for the dancer, who had spent weeks talking on the phone to Paris. Now that he was in Detroit for a show, Milky decided to drive an hour to visit his hotel room. But somehow, she’s on her way into a bathroom with three men she hardly knows.

Staking his claim, Paris prompts his road manager to ask ‘Milky’ who she prefers. “If you had to pick between me and this dude, who would you pick?,” says the road manager as Paris rubs up behind her backside like he was going to ride her. Dressed in a revealing skirt, the road manager grabs her butt. “Well she would pick me next,” he says. Feeling a little pressured, Paris leads Milky to his bedroom. “Nah this my girl,” says Paris.

Hesistant to sit on the bed, Milky looks at videos on Paris’s iPhone in an attempt distract herself from what’s really going on. But in a short amount of time, Paris has already begun to de-robe himself, and exposie his erect penis which he began to jerk. “Let me see your body, show me your body.” Paris raises his voice. Milky says no. She’s absolutely sure she’s uncomfortable now. “Girl ain’t nobody trying to fuck with you,” he angrily responds, grabbing her phone as she tries to text someone for help and throwing it against the wall. At this point, Paris gets physical. Although Milky is scared, she fights back. But it’s only making Paris go harder. “I love this shit!” Paris says, aggressively. The two tussle around and Paris lifts up her pencil skirt. At only 5ft, 130 lbs, Milky doesn’t have a chance. Paris towers over her, and he forces her down and penetrates her. The tears are rolling down her face by now.

“What the fuck you crying for? “ He asks. “Because you ain’t have good dick in a long time?’

“But you a stripper! You a stripper! You want me to stop? Ok fine I’ll stop.” But not before he climaxes. Afterwards, Milky leaves the hotel room, never to report or mention the incident to authorities. “After all,” she thinks, “it was my fault.”

The incident between Milky and Paris is unfortunately one of many that has gone down in the Hip-Hop community. Not that this injustice is unique to Hip-Hop, but it doesn’t help the overall perception of the culture when some of its most classic music has condoned it. Last year, Ashley Judd came under fire by the Hip-Hop community for making statements about Hip-Hop calling it a “rape culture” in her controversial book, All That Is Bitter And Sweet. Calling lyrics from P. Diddy and Snoop Dogg “abusive” because of their “depictions of girls and women as ho’s.” Judd later cleaned up her statement in an online interview, after members of the Hip-Hop community spoke out against her. “My intention was to take a stand to say the elements of that musical expression that are misogynistic and treat girls and women in a hyper-sexualized way that are inappropriate. That is not acceptable in any artistic expression, in any cultural form, whether its country music or in television story lines,” she said. Wake up call or attack on Hip-Hop? Well, it depends on who you ask. But over a year later, what has Hip-Hop done to reverse this perception. Does it even care?

On Snoop Dogg’s cult classic, “It Ain’t No Fun,” featuring Nate Dogg from his multi-platinum 1993 Doggystyle debut, Snoop, Kurupt and Warren G rapped about their sexual encounters with women and announced that it would be more thrilling if their friends were allowed in one another’s sexual escapades. It was a long time ago, but for girls who were young and impressionable back then, it served as a lesson to what men in Hip-Hop were thinking about women. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best thing for a 12 year-old girl to be listen to, but everything was so Hip-Hop. The hot beat, the foul language, it was all so intriguing. And if you were raised in a strict household, the creative expression and wordplay was admirable. After constantly hearing this song and other songs over and over, a young girl’s mind can grown numb to misogynist lyrics. “I had respect for ya lady, but now I take it all back….” Whether it was reciting the lyrics along with Nate Dogg or wearing a cute white T-shirt with the words ‘Bitches Ain’t Shit’ blasted across the front, the mantra of “We don’t love them hoes” easily became buried in the subconscious of young Hip-Hop women.

Fast forward almost twenty years later, that same 12-year old is in her thirties, not so proud of the progress that women have made in Hip-Hop, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. There’s been little backlash within the Hip-Hop community and the result has been less Queen Latifah’s “U.N.I.T.Y” or Eve’s “Love Is Blind,” and more “Rack City, Bitch.” “Tens and twenties on dem titties” is not much different than the chorus to the aforementioned track from Dre’s classic Chronic album. In many cases, young adults look to lyrics to deal with adolescence, learning valuable lessons through the music. But as comedian Chris Rock once joked, when you’re dancing in the club and the speakers are skeet, skeeting at you, the most likely answer from a woman is that, “He ain’t talking about me.” That mentality can lead to many things, even the belief plagued Milky in the example above. “I deserve it.”

Rape, sexual abuse, and sexual violence, a crime that as serious as it is, has occasionally reared its ugly head in Hip-Hop. For years, the sensitive subject has been brushed under the rug with accusations against many men, and even in some case, against a select few Hip-Hop celebrities. These cases seem to have quietly disappeared. Defined as a crime of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse by the threat, or use of violence, rapeis the ultimate violation of a person’s body, and it’s not limited to just females.

According to a new study performed by Centers for Disease Control, 1 out of every 5 American women have been the victims of rape or an attempted rape in their lifetime. 1 in 33 American men have been victims as well. But in a climate where celebrity culture is so prevalent, the credibility of each story is profusely challenged when the accused predator happens to be famous. The question is always, “why would they need to do that?” instead of “why do they feel entitled?”

There are an abundance of misconceptions about rape and its victims who often end up being blamed for the assault. “She probably wanted it.” “Why did she go to his room?” “He wouldn’t do that, he can have anyone he wants.” And the most common, “If a person agrees to have sex with the perpetrator in the past, how can it still be considered rape?” The sensationalism of the rich and famous often attracts individuals wanting a glimpse of that lifestyle. ‘After the show is the after party, then after the party is the hotel lobby…’ Jay-Z’s “Fiesta” lyrics reflect the behind the scenes affairs of many a rap star. Partying in hotel rooms around the world with pretty women, it’s seems likely that many celebs expect women (sometimes considered “groupies”) to submit. But many alleged sexual attacks in the music industry often involve members of a rapper’s entourage rather than the actual artist. Fat Joe, Snoop Dogg, The Game, Baby and Slim of Cash Money were all splashed across headlines for charges held against individuals in their crew or on their staff. DMX proved accusations against him were false, and prosecutors dropped charges against Big Sean for third degree sex abuse. But New Orleans rapper Mystikal, plead guilty to sexual battery and extortion after he and his bodyguards were caught on videotape which was used against them as evidence. Not that some women haven’t conspired plans to falsely accuse and blackmail some of these artists, but that only makes the excuse easier to use when the crime is actually committed.

Amy Edelstein, a Rape Crisis Coordinator at Safe Horizon–the largest victims’ services agency in the United States, has seen this type of story on numerous occasions. “I think that coming forward for anyone is difficult because people feel so ashamed because of the way society has a tendency to blame the victim, especially in cases where there is a huge power dynamic involved, and victims fear not being believed and that fear of being put in the spotlight,” she explains. “And we see that all the time. I see victims who are too scared to go forward and we try to tell them–it’s not their fault. Doesn’t matter if they were drinking, partying, it doesn’t give someone the right to treat someone else’s body that way. Sexual assault is really about power and control over another person. We don’t look at it as a sexual gratifying act. It’s really about power and control and a sense of entitlement. Someone looking to perpetrate is looking for someone more vulnerable, someone who is under the influence, or who isn’t paying attention or aware of their surroundings.”

One of the most talked about sexual abuse convictions stemmed from an incident that occurred in November of 1993 when a 23 year-old Tupac Amaru Shakur was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse, for a physical encounter with a 19 year-old girl. Ayanna Jackson accused Tupac and his 3 friends of sexual assault. For many years, she remained anonymous talking to The Source now about how she moved on from an incident that forever changed her life. Why didn’t you keep this a secret? “It wasn’t a secret only in I didn’t want my identity to be released and the press respected that. Today I get crazy reporters because of the Internet; people are able to gather information, court records… The average person in the street wouldn’t have known me because they didn’t have access to that info. I decided to go through with the charges because when I left out the room, I went to the elevator and there were some undercover security on the elevator that automatically asked if I were okay. They knew who was staying in the hotel, and at that point, I broke down.” Jackson says she couldn’t get dressed or go home, because her stuff was still upstairs in the room. ”Maybe if it were somewhere more private, I wouldn’t have told. I would have just got over it but because it happened that way, it came out in public. The night it happened I went straight to the ER. I had to go to a precinct where they wouldn’t let me go home. They felt like if I went home, or showered and changed I wouldn’t want to deal with it. They kept me so omnipresent in that situation. I was sleeping on a sofa in the precinct in the back, and then from there, they took me to the DA’s office. I wasn’t allowed to call my family, I was still wearing a hotel robe.

“Actually, Jackson wasn’t allowed to leave the DA’s office until 4 pm the next day. “Everyone has their motive so I’m not going to say it was about helping the little black girl, but yes the DA wanted to prosecute him,” she reveals. “They wanted everything to be fresh and documented and they had their own reasons for wanting to prosecute him for however they felt about him. Unfortunately, this was the situation. They were able to use it for that. I didn’t notice this until I looked back as an adult.” Jackson doesn’t feel as if law enforcement cared about her as a victim. She believes, for them, it was more about getting him. “I’m sure if this was Joe Blow, he would have been prosecuted. But not to the extreme they went to, they wouldn’t have went this far.”

Reflecting on her experience as a 19-year old, Jackson, now 40, still questions her own responsibility in the matter, having been intimate with ‘Pac before the incident. “I thought about, ‘maybe I shouldn’t have hung out at that club, I shouldn’t have gotten involved,’ [I have] a lot of self blame.I had to keep rehashing over and over and over again for a long time I never had a chance to leave it alone….It never goes away.” In Jackson’s own words, she admits that the celebrity factor plays a role in a putting herself in compromising situations. “It’s hard because everyone wants to feel like they’re a part of the fame or I know so-and-so or want picture with some one. And maybe they sort of feel like it validates them or their pretty enough to attract attention from the celebrity who has been seen with women in the industry that are beautiful and talented.”

Mary Haviland, the executive director at New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, says women should be prepared. “To have a rape kit doesn’t mean you have to inform the police. It’s still really hard for victims to come forward because there’s a lot of shame that comes along with this issue… Rape is the most underreported crime. It’s that more difficult when that person is more powerful, famous or has money. We’ve seen that historically with cases that have come out, even about the Catholic Church.”

International Human Rights Activist, Michael Simmons has a male perspective on the touchy subject. “A man can go out with a woman, can spend all his money, she can promise to give it to him, they can go to a room, house, apartment, hotel or whatever, and take a shower together and start playing around together and start actually doing it, but she never loses her right to say no…even in the act.”

If you have been assaulted or know someone who has been assaulted go to www.safehorizon.org or call their 24 hour hotline 1-800-641-HOPE (4673)

Courtney Brown