An Open Letter to Joy Lane

Our Dearest Sista Joy,

Repeat after us:

I deserve love.

I deserveD better.

This is NOT and was NOT my fault.

Say these words. Write them. Post them. Text them. Tweet them. Remember them.

We know that nothing we’re about to say will bring you immediate resolution. For that, we offer our apologies… But some of us felt compelled to ask that you remember these three sentences in the coming days, weeks, and months as you work through the series of emotions you’ve no doubt been left with. To remind you that no matter how many horrible social media messages, texts, phone calls, etc. you receive(d) saying otherwise, that you deserve(d) better and if you have no one else, you have us.

To be quite honest, as a community and a society, we have failed you…

Toxic masculinity is and remains one of the greatest threats to Black love, Black relationships, and Black joy, PERIOD.

As a collective of Black women, we know that the work of unpacking toxic masculinity in our communities are the responsibility of those who enact it. We do, however, feel that it is our responsibility as sistas to be here for you at what may pan out to be one of your darkest hours due to no fault of your own. As the rest of the U.S. populace rushes to place the blame of yesterday’s horrible crimes on someone (statistically, this person will be you) we want to remind you that you don’t owe a man you left, decided not to call, whatever–anything.

It is not your responsibility to coddle a grown man because he was emotionally and/or psychosocially unable to process that things can not and will not always go his way. It is also not your responsibility to stay in an abusive situation for the good of anyone else. If the situation was unhealthy for you, it was unhealthy for all of us.

We know there are people on a social media witch hunt to find you. We also know these people hate women. That many of them will spend half their time minimizing the impact of this man’s actions as being your fault and/or make tasteless jokes about what you gave and had to offer. Guess what? Fuck them. Period.  There’s nothing you could have done to prevent what happened.

There’s nothing you could have done to prevent what happened!!!

The incessant need to blame a crisis on someone is a coping mechanism by and from people who cannot rationalize that bad things happen to good people and that people who enact them can be callous, cold, and calculated. He was certainly the latter and all of you who’ve been victimized by him the former. For this day, for the moments that led up until this day, for the long days you’ll have beginning today, we apologize.

Our communal and national failure to address violence against women makes all of us as culpable for today’s travesty as the person who enacted them.

Remember this when you struggle to do things that once felt normal. When you rightfully question how and why this happened, remember the 650 or so words in this letter.

Remember he and only he alone is responsible for this travesty.

We know this isn’t a super “deep letter.” For one, this isn’t about that and second, we honestly don’t care about philosophizing your pain. We write this to say directly to you and to every other Joy Lane out there, that while we’ve never met you, we see you, we love you, and we support you.

You deserve love.

You deserveD better.

This is NOT and was NOT your fault.


Team Cite A Sista

*** Editor’s Note ***

This letter was written exclusively by Brittany on behalf of Team Cite A Sista and Black women everywhere who bare the brunt of feeling responsible for someone else’s actions. There may be members of the team (and elsewhere) whose views do not align with those expressed here, but we doubt it.

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