The story of the ex-Oklahoma City Police Officer Daniel Holtzclaw has been gaining notoriety as week two of his trial continues. Naturally, the defense is painting these ladies in a distasteful light, exposing their criminal backgrounds. However, the prosecution is exposing evidence that Holtzclaw was harassing his victims. The word of who Daniel Holtzclaw is and his horrific crimes are gaining traction, but several members of the Northeast Oklahoma City community are focusing on the victims. The stereotypes that have plagued them as well as the attitudes towards them for speaking out will be especially damaging.

A second victim took the stand this week. She admitted to using drugs and had a pending case when she was assaulted by Holtzclaw in the hospital. The victim admitted that she was under the influence when it occurred and Holtzclaw promised her that he would make her charges disappear if she complied with the sexual requests. Holtzclaw even went as far as adding the victim on Facebook and continuing to harass her from there. Evidence showing the interaction on the social media site was presented in court. Despite the damning against Holtzclaw, his victim’s criminal record and her possession of drugs were constantly referred to by the defense. This victim was in her early 20s and had children. She was interrogated about lying about her name when arrested in the past as well as using multiple social security numbers. She noted that she had been through a lot in her life and that she was trying to change. Her narrative not only fits so many of Holtzclaw’s victims’ but it fits that of several black women who have been discarded not only by the system but also by society.

Holtzclaw even had a teenage victim. The 17-year-old was allegedly raped by the ex-officer on her mother’s porch. Even his youngest victim is vilified because of her juvenile background. Black women can’t have a break — even when it comes to being victims of sexual assault — because in the case of the Holtzclaw victims, accusers are blaming them for their disposition because of their past. His victims and many others of sexual assault have to deal with the stereotype that plagues them which is that of the hypersexed, irresponsible black female. This has been a stereotype that has plagued us since slavery and it is one that many of us have to live with daily, from the type of clothes we wear to how they fit on us if they are deemed “appropriate.” From the actions of the defense, one would think that these women were the individuals on trial.

The lack of 24-hour national news media coverage has been icing on the cake and it furthers adds to the conversation of why the #BlackLivesMatter movement should still exist. In this case, #BlackWomenMatter has been the more appropriate hashtag to use because this trial is occurring not too long after the tragic death of Sandra Bland and the man-handling of two young black girls by police officers in both McKinney, TX and at Spring Valley High School. There is even question that, if the victims would have been white, would it have taken a year for the world to know about these assaults? The answer to that question, unfortunately, is no. Action more than likely would have been taken sooner.

There have been several controversial events since his arrest, including his $5 million bail being reduced to $500,000 and being allowed to go on house arrest after violating his terms. To add insult to injury, he was given an all-white jury. On the surface, things looked bleak for the victims. Luckily, there are some in the black community in OKC who are working hard to provide support for these victims so they do not have to feel alone in this process.

The OKC Artists for Justice have been on the ground regarding exposure of this case since day one. Grace Franklin, the founder of the group, and local artists in the community have been traveling in the city to get more support for his victims. Candace Liger, a member of OKC Artists for Justice, has called out the lack of popular feminist groups bringing awareness to the case. The group was formed initially to bring awareness to this case and has been organizing protests since last year.

The Pastor of the East 6th Street Christian Church, Rev. Jesse Jackson, held a community meeting to discuss options on how to serve the victims last week. He is offering his church as a hub to transport people to and from the Oklahoma County Courthouse to attend the trial. The next protest in honor of the victims will be next week on the 17th. To get more information on how to support, visit the OKC Artists for Justice Facebook page or on Twitter @OKCARTISTS4JUSTICE.

Sache Primeaux-Shaw is a 20 something community organizer, politico and cultural competency instructor from OKC. In her spare time, she blogs about missing women of color in the media ( and women of color in politics ( You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram and her personal blog.