Now the organization is making headlines for a different reason. They’ve recently suspended one of their leaders following allegations of sexual assault.
According to The Chicago Reader, a woman who chose to only identify as “K.” had a non-consensual sexual encounter with said leader, whose identity has been withheld.
Three years ago, while K. was a sophomore in college, she met the BYP leader at a party and they went on a date. Upon learning about his activism work, K. shared that she was a sexual assault educator on campus.
“He told me sexual violence prevention was something he was really passionate about and I felt relieved to finally be around someone who understood,” K. said in an open letter that several of her friends posted on Facebook on her behalf in order to maintain her identity.
Following their date, the young man asked if K. could make him a cup of coffee before he drove home. However, he was uninterested in coffee and made several sexual advances towards K. She shared that she eventually fell asleep and “woke up with his fingers in my vagina,” she said.
At the time of her incident with the BYP leader, K. was also in the midst of going through the legal system to get justice for a previous, unrelated sexual assault. She had no interest in going through the “traumatizing” process again. Outside of telling close friends, she kept the incident to herself.
As the BYP leader continued to become more well-known in the media, K. began to have panic attacks and flashbacks of the incident. Her friends reached out the BYP on her behalf and K as well as her alledged assailant met separately with the executive board of the organization.
While the young man involved maintains that the incident with he and K. was a “misunderstanding” the organization respected K.’s truth and has since taken action. “As an organization rooted in a Black queer feminist framework, we take reports of sexual assault extremely seriously…The BYP100 member has been placed on a mandatory membership hiatus,” read a statement from the organization on their Facebook page.
K. appreciates that her experience was not ignored. Her goal with coming forward was not to ruin the man’s life or disparage the work he’s doing as an activist, she simply wanted him to be “educated” on his wrongdoing. “I’m very impressed that BYP is willing to take the time to go through the accountability process, I hope he’s willing to listen and be changed,” said K.
“Black male social and sexual scripts have hurt a lot of people. Black men have to learn not to do that, to come out on the other side and be aware,” she added.