I Stand With Jada…And Hope You Will, Too

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This young woman has done nothing in her life to deserve this humiliation. In a recorded call with one of her alleged attackers, who has been identified as 17-year-old Innel Yahia, he is arrogant and dismissive, saying that Jada never let him “hit” and that she was the aggressor with another young man who was alleged to have raped her. (Though we cannot definitively determine who is speaking, the conversation is consistent with Jada’s story, Yahia’s own posts on social media and peppered with references and slang common to teens.) On the call, Yahia brags about a threesome with two other girls, and Jada’s friends on the call allege that those girls are both under age. The girls also say that he will get his just due.

While the police and our legal system will ultimately decide who will be charged, Jada has shown enormous courage by publicly accusing her attackers at all. After the incident, after pictures of her body undressed below the waist and after other students hit up Yahia’s Twitter account (since deleted) in support of him, posing sprawled on the floor with the hashtag #Jadapose and asking for the “recipe” for the drink that knocked her out, Jada came forward. She has told her story to the local Houston news and on national television on The View. Her mother has also appeared on TV and given her daughter her full support.

This little girl, who has been humiliated and disrespected and exposed literally and figuratively, has had the courage many rape victims don’t, to come forward and say “I’m a victim and what was done to me was wrong.”

Beyonce and Rihanna don’t really have anything to do with this. There’s nothing wrong with liking a celebrity. But they are entertainers whose careers are supported by mega-corporations and have staff to cater to their every whim, as well as fans willing to do literal battle for them on social media.

We pick our heroes because they inspire us. Today my hero is a 16-year-old from Texas who had the courage to stand up for herself in the face of an assault not just at a party, but across social media afterwards. In standing up for herself, she is also standing up for the silent victims that similar things have happened to but who are too scared or traumatized to speak up as well.

Jada has said she wants her attackers punished and jailed. They were wrong. So before you head over to the hottest blog to find out what messy shade Rihanna has dished out today or the latest pics from the “On The Run” tour, take time to drop a #IStandwithJada or a #IAmJada hashtag via Twitter or circulate the very picture that runs with this commentary.

Jada is not alone. She is just one of the many  women already this year who have been raped, murdered or molested. But she doesn’t have a #Navy or a #Beyhive to run to her defense.

Well, I think we should give her one. #IStandWithJada

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