On Monday November 16th 2020 Milwaukee Police arrested Frank Sensabaugh aka Frank Nitty II on suspicion of 3rd Degree Sexual Assault as well as his brother Arthur Morgan aka Cino on unknown charges after a physical altercation with law enforcement. Both individuals charges are still pending and have been transferred over to the Milwaukee County Jail.
Nitty is a high profile activist in the Black Lives Matter Movement who is more famously known for organizing and leading a 750 mile march from Milwaukee to Washington DC. While publicly known for organizing big events and live streaming controversial interviews at rallies there seems to be another side that is not getting public attention, hidden in the streets of Milwaukee and through various social media posts.
Hundreds of Facebook posts from a divided group of activists have been circulating over the last couple of days following his arrest. One side speaks out in favor of Nitty and his contributions to the movement categorizing him as one of the more prominent leaders to bring Change throughout the country. The other side is circulating rumors of Theft, Fraud, Sex Trafficking and his abusive nature towards those who follow him and those rumors are not quieting down.
Throughout this movement we have seen a number of smear campaigns, arrests and court hearings targeting high profile organizer leaders and those who have loud voices across the country led not only by citizens, local police departments but also by the FBI. Every attempt possible to silence voices no matter the cost. So the accusations surrounding Nitty not only by law enforcement but also citizens of Milwaukee lead to question the truth behind it all. With an entire city talking amongst each other where is the proof in all of it? Is there a paper trail leading to the missing money that Nitty is being accused of misappropriating? Or is this just another way to discredit the work an activist has done to incite Change in a system that so desperately needs it.
Divide amongst the nation’s citizens fueled by rhetoric and rumor becomes each individuals version of their reality. Somewhere in the middle of it all is truth. Why is truth so hard to swallow? If the truth is inconvenient, if it doesn’t fit, they don’t believe it.
With sexual assault allegations hanging over Nitty’s head another divide amongst citizens of Milwaukee and surrounding areas leads to the credibility of the young woman who accused Nitty in the first place. A story that originated by Nitty during a live Facebook video during his arrest stemmed from the alleged victim stealing a rental car and when confronted accused Nitty of sexually assaulting her. An accusation she denies.
What is concerning besides the allegations against Nitty is how quick society decides to discredit a victim of sexual assault. And even more concerning is the amount of women who engage in victim blaming. Victim Blaming takes hold in full force with threats, harassment and more smear campaigns. We question the individual who was harmed. Implicit in these questions is the notion that we would have made different choices, and that our choices would have kept us safe. But for the survivors of sexual violence, feeling out-of-control is the unfortunate norm. Violated by perpetrators, these victims experienced a loss of control over their bodies. And when they share their experiences, many of these victims find they lose control of their stories. They become objects of examination, their actions and choices dissected. We strip away the strengths and nuances of a victims’ personhood. For victims of sexual crimes, this is an isolating and scary place to be. Perpetrators of sexual crimes, on the other hand, do not always suffer the same scrutiny as their victims. This is especially true when our image of the person does not correspond with our idea of what a sexual predator looks like.
Victim blaming perpetuates the cycle of violence. Survivors who internalize blame tend to feel deep shame. They hold themselves accountable for their abuse and are less likely to report it. This is particularly true for people who come from marginalized populations. When we blame victims, we strengthen and echo perpetrators’ message to their victims: This is your fault. It is not the victims fault or responsibility to fix the situation; it is the abusers choice. By engaging in victim blaming attitudes, society allows the abuser to perpetuate relationship abuse or sexual assault while avoiding accountability for their actions. When friends and family remain neutral about the abuse and say that both people need to change, they are colluding with and supporting the abuser.
Which is more Unbelievable, the accused or the accuser?
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