“How can Black lives matter if we are not fighting the degradation of the woman’s image, the black woman’s image?” That was the question Truth In Reality founder and domestic violence activist, Sil Lai Abrams, asked at the beginning of the seminar.
This seminar was part of Abrams “Redefining HERstory” tour which was created to change the representation of women of color in the media. Truth in Reality is an organization founded in 2012 that aims to change and eliminate the acceptance of relational violence in the Black community. It is funded by Student Counseling Services and Campus. With the leadership of Grambling State University students, Tiara Thomas, Skylar Anderson, and Malik Wheeler, Truth in Reality sets out to create awareness on gender based violence and the confusion of entertainment and reality in the community through digital advocacy, public awareness campaigns and educational programs.
Abrams, a chairman on the Board of Directors of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, was the keynote speaker. Abrams spoke on women fighting to fit into the social norm whether it be plastic surgery, butt shots, lip injections, or other cosmetic changes to the body.
“Woman are no longer portrayed as the Clair Huxtables,” said Abrams, “drama and sex sells.”
Students and faculty in attendance shared their thoughts on why society is so drawn to the degrading and problematic reality shows. The majority opinion was that the fascination with these shows stem from childhood values and upbringing.
“We are our own oppressors,” said Tiara Thomas, “We say we are not affected by the shows but we still watch it and help them get ratings.”
The seminar continued to the topic of women and domestic violence. According to Abrams, Black women are 35 percent more likely to be a victim to domestic violence that white women. They are two times more likely to be murdered from domestic violence.
“Before you can abuse someone, you have to dehumanize them,” said Abrams.
Freshman Kyle West liked the seminar and commented “I learned that black women are more than what a lot of people look and see them as on reality T.V. and if we all come together and support the movement then we can make a change.” Abrams encouraged the audience to be aware of what is holding us down as a culture and find your place in helping to solve the problem.