“Who Shot Meg” is trending on social media greater than two years after gunshots allegedly rang out within the Hollywood Hills in the course of the early morning hours of July 12, 2020. The incident has sparked hypothesis and deep division throughout social media. Tory Lanez, whose authorized title is Daystar Peterson, is charged with capturing Megan Pete, professionally often called Megan Thee Stallion, in her toes after an argument that capped an evening of consuming and partying in Kylie Jenner’s pool. He has pleaded not responsible to felony assault expenses; if convicted, he may resist 22 years in jail.
Above the social media chatter, a devastating fact rings true: the trial has proved simply how heavy the burden of proof falls on Black ladies.
Pete has been accused of nothing, however in some way each private alternative she has made is on trial within the courtroom of public opinion.
Ironically, the incident occurred as each Pete and Lanez had been making names for themselves within the midst of a world pandemic. The launch of “Savage” — adopted by a remix of the hit with Beyoncé — catapulted Pete to the highest of the charts with the assistance of her viral TikTok dance. Lanez’s mixtapes and musical collaborations had been additionally making a buzz, alongside together with his wildly in style and raunchy Instagram Live present, “Quarantine Radio.” As each Pete and Lanez’s stars had been on the rise, they’d turn out to be quick mates, reportedly bonding over the shared tragedy of dropping their moms. However, an argument that occurred that scorching summer season night time allegedly culminated in Pete being shot and police arriving on the scene.
Since the incident, the 2 artists could not be additional aside — they’re separated in courtroom as sufferer and accused, and their camps of followers have splintered as effectively. Supporters for Pete vow to #StandWithMeg, whereas Lanez backers declare he isn’t solely being falsely accused however framed.
With the trial underway, what has struck me most about this case is the onslaught of scrutiny and harassment Pete has endured. In the case, misinformation abounds, together with the ugly and predictable responses to a Black girl looking for justice within the wake of a violent act. The fan fodder across the alleged capturing of Pete by Lanez is a vivid instance of why so many ladies are hesitant to report acts of violence and pursue urgent expenses.
Pete has been accused of nothing, however in some way each private alternative she has made is on trial within the courtroom of public opinion. She’s had her sexual historical past picked aside, her credibility debated advert nauseam, and her character known as into query — all whereas having her humanity and trauma denied. How straightforward it has been for folks to query her damage whereas ignoring the bodily and emotional harm she has skilled. Despite medical evidence, many imagine she was by no means shot in any respect, not to mention by Lanez. Because of her celeb standing, the world has witnessed the kind of vitriol many victims of violence face after reporting a legal assault — notably Black ladies, and particularly when the accused is rich and well-liked.
Pete’s therapy mirrors what many on a regular basis ladies undergo after they report an act of violence, and furthermore why that backlash often causes them to avoid reporting within the first place. As the burden of proof falls on their shoulders, it has the potential to wreck them much more of their pursuit of justice.
And what we have realized thus far within the trial is that this kind of vitriol has actual and harmful penalties. On Dec. 13, Pete testified that the expertise led her to have suicidal ideas. “I do not really feel like I wish to be on this earth,” she mentioned. “I want he would have simply shot and killed me if I knew I must undergo this torture.”
Imagine strolling round with bullet fragments in your toes for greater than two years — and tens of millions of individuals on-line do not even imagine you had been shot! Imagine ready for 2 years to have an opportunity at justice. Imagine being requested to completely recount the small print of your assault whilst you had been scared, intoxicated, embarrassed, injured, and absolutely in shock. Imagine the courtroom charges, the work missed, the broken relationships with former mates. Now think about this for girls who lack monetary, neighborhood, authorized, and psychological well being assets; think about this for girls who aren’t some of the well-known music artists on the planet.
Of course, sufferer blaming and shaming shouldn’t be solely reserved for Black ladies. Women throughout demographics have to be ready to defend their allegations with particulars in regards to the crime itself, but in addition to supply causes for why they drank a lot, or dressed so attractive, or spoke so loudly, or slept with somebody, or why they lied that one time. The justice system and the media throw so many intrusions their approach that distract from the truth that they had been damage by the palms of one other particular person, typically somebody they as soon as trusted and cared for.
There’s a similarity in the best way the justice system and media deal with Black male victims of violence, greater than ever when that violence is perpetrated by police. I imagine that harsh actuality is on the core of a few of Lanez’s supporters’ outrage, but it surely doesn’t justify the imply and illogical makes an attempt to decrease Pete’s ache and deny her justice.
“Believe Black Women” is greater than a hashtag. “Protect Black Women” is a battle cry. These statements should remind us how the lives and spirits of ladies are broken after we do not. The burden of proof is simply too heavy on shoulders that already carry the burden of the world — but nonetheless make magic occur.