Nomalanga: Serena Does Not Owe Anyone an Apology For Steubenville [email protected] Comments


serena talkingBy Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Serena Williams is being accused of blaming the victim in a [email protected] case because she dared to ask some very important questions.

In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, the tennis champion questioned why a 16 year old girl was drunk in the first place and she also questioned why her parents had not taught her better. (The infamous Steubenville rape case is one where two high school football players [email protected] a drunk 16-year-old girl while other students watched and, instead of helping her, they texted details of the events.)

This is what Serena said, when asked about the case:

“Do you think it was fair, what they got?[the boys]They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously, I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”

Now, there is a huge backlash in response to what Serena said and the loudest voices have been reported to be some angry feminists.

First of all, Serena was asked for her opinion and that is what she offered. Serena is not obligated to jump on the feminist bandwagon every time she expresses her opinion.

In fact, I submit that Serena’s question is much more empowering than calling the girl who was [email protected] a “victim”. When we teach young girls and women that they are “victims” we rob them of their power. Of course the boys who [email protected] the girl committed a horrific act but it does not remove the questions that need to be asked of the 16 year old girl or any other teenager who thinks that getting so drunk that she doesn’t know what is going on is a way to conduct herself.

Teaching young women and girls to make good decisions and choices is imperative and even when other people behave criminally and horrifically, we still need to point out the areas where we (women) were empowered to make decisions and choices that would or could keep us safe.

Serena also added that we have to consider that maybe the girl’s drink was “spiked” (that someone gave her a drink that had drugs in it). To this, Serena advises that young girls should not just take drinks from anyone.

So from where I’m standing, Serena alluded to three pieces of solid advice; if you’re a 16 year old girl, drinking is not a good idea, especially if you’re going to get so drunk that you can be taken advantage of. The other piece of advice was that girls should not take drinks from people because they may be spiked . She also alluded to parents being mindful of where their teenagers are and what they are doing.

Serena does not owe anyone an apology. For the sake of peace and to shut down endless chatter from the angry feminists, Serena may issue an apology but she does not need to apologize for what she said.

Nomalanga helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , a former College Professor and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter



  1. Always easy to talk if you’re not the person that bin raped. It does not matter how drunk she was it’s never your fault if you got raped. Beside that if you’re a parent you know you can do the best you want children will do what they want anyway and Serena isn’t parent so what does she know. If Serena made that comment its stupid that’s my opinion.

  2. Tiffany Irwin on

    You know, you said " Beside that if you’re a parent you know you can do the best you want children will do what they want anyway". Are you implying that teens are just gonna do what they want, and as the parent, to just deal with it??? If that's the case, I will wait another 10 years to have children. Because no child of mine is gonna run over me like that. My parents didn't allow me to act like that. Which is exactly why i'm 29 years old with no children and have my shit together. Same for my brother. Let any of my future kids sneak out the house. Keep your ass out there until I decide to let your ass back in. Since you wanna be grown and leave when you feel like it, I'll let you back in when I FEEL LIKE IT. Teens today don't know how to respect their elders, walking around here saying "If you don't respect me, I won't respect you", yea, I remember saying that to someone when I was 13 years old, and this 17 year old girl punched me right in the mouth.

  3. She didn't say it was the girl's fault, but she (rightly, in my opinion), brought up that girls/women need to try not to put themselves into situations that are out of their control, so these things DON'T happen.

  4. Pingback: Dr. Boyce: Serena’s [email protected] Comments Should Make Us Think About Alcohol and Parenting | Black Blue Dog

  5. Daniel Rosario on

    It's about time that someone intelligent and prominent is not afraid to say to America what everyone else has been saying all along. Thank you Serena.

  6. Its amazing that so many want to immediately place 'blame' before hearing the whole matter. Serena said what we all should be saying. We're concerned about our young folks; who wouldn't be. But at 16 years old, drunk and don't remember, wow, who's in control here?

  7. Well stated commentary Nomalanga. I agree she doesn't owe an apology for her own opinion-right or wrong. It is unfortunate that we are not teaching our young women wisdom. When I was in high school and college, this was going on. My mother and aunts taught me such lesson; to not get into a car with a bunch of males; to always have my own cab fare; to never return to a drink you've walked away from, to never go into a room by yourself at anybodies party. One lesson I teach my mentees is that the very guy you trying to attract by your mannerism, whatever they are, is also attracting the guy(s) you don't want and when alcohol or drugs are involved, it can lead to a undesirable situation- generally not in favor of the female. Our young women have to stop relying on the myth " you have the right to dress and act in any way and a male must say respect that." Not true. Otherwise prison wouldn't have so many rapist.

  8. If I get drunk, pass out and someone robs me, we are both bone heads.The pink elephant in the room is why aren't teenagers better supervised .My teen daughter cannot hang out with teens that consume booze and she cannot go to any party where there are no adult supervision. Too much freedom and not enough common sense will ruin your life.

  9. Wadell T. Muhammad on

    I agree. Our instincts are always to defend the victim as well we should. But we also must recognize the role of personal responsibility.

  10. We all teach or children these things no parent wants their child drunk and raped! What Serena forgot to mention is to teach ore boys to respect and honor women the only right thing the boys could have done is put her in a car and brought her home.Teach your daughters en sons to be human!

  11. Sanne-Fleur Willemsen on

    if i am BUTT NAKED drunk like a sailor lying in the middle of the street that STILL doenst mean anyone has the right to rape me…my fellow women I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO disappointed by your mid evil comment i can hardly believe what i am reading…this is NOT a feminist issue this is NOT a race issue this is a HUMAN issue and if you fail to see this then Lord help your children and the one they come in contact with…shame shame shame on Serena AND her so called followers!!!

  12. DeeDee Andrews on

    I completely agree. I don't think the boys punishment was fair because at that age they were just doing what they thought was "cool" and "appropriate" behavior. Shame on their parents, shame on the community and shame on media for not telling them differently! For the young lady to be that intoxicated shame on the exact same people. Our young people are going downhill fast and we as a community are just sitting by and watching it happen.

  13. Come on ladies. I am an older women and as a young girl, my MOM impressed upon me to always take your own transportation money just in case the date went badly, do not wear essential clothing that a boyfriend purchases for you. If he got angry with you while you wore it in public, he may want you to take “his clothing” off, never go into bedroom with a boy in his or anyone`s bedroom with him, and finally, never drink from a punch bowl or from an opened bottle given to you by someone who you did not see that person open in front of you. These are proactive common sense measure; better know are prevention. While the boys performed a criminal act and the people who took the pictures obviously have no scruples as they stood by and watch this criminal act. It is about time that we revisit our code of conduct and re-embrace those lost values we need as a people. As for feminism, I am the epitome of feminism and so was my MOM. She looked out for her girls and I look out for me and women.

  14. Serena verbally expressed how she felt and I agree with what she said. We all have a sense of this CENSORSHIP, where people can’t express their opinions any more. I feel the same way as she does and the same goes for the R. Kelly incident, Mike Tyson and many other cases where women who use any excuse to be promiscuous, then play the victim. This scenario is getting tiresome, and so is trying to make Serena apologize for how millions of others are thinking, but are not heard because they aren’t celebrities. Get over it.

  15. Serena should not apologize. She spoke the truth. She said exactly what millions of us were thinking. She didn’t blame the victim and these boys are now in jail so justice has been served. However,these feminists should apologize for not acting appropriately. They should be out there teaching these young woman about self-respect, about actions and consequences, about the dangers of under-age drinkings, about unwanted pregnancies. If this girl learns nothing from this incident, she will be back out there drinking again and finding herself in the same situation. People need to be responsible for their actions and consequences of those actions.

  16. Pingback: Serena Responds To Backlash From her [email protected] Comments | Healthy Black Woman

  17. NO!! she should not say sorry!!. If you are 16 your parents should have already told you not to drink. Or take drinks from someone else. Never drink to the point that you don’t know what the HELL is going on. Stupid girl!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. NO!! she should not say sorry!!. If you are 16 your parents should have already told you not to drink. Or take drinks from someone else. Never drink to the point that you don’t know what is going on. Stupid girl!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Yes Sherrie a teenage girl that goes out & gets drunk deserves to be raped, young African-American boys out late deserve to be arrested, Trayvon Martin was walking through a predominantly white neighborhood @ night he deserved to be shot, Black Folks commit a lot of crime so let’s lock most of us up, let’s follow the logic of an idiot to its idiotic logical conclusions

  19. LaLa32caramel on

    Freedom of speech. She has the right to express her opinion without apologizing. I agree with her. I don’t condone rape nor do I blame the victim. But girls have to be careful about situations they put there selves in. Like Pat mentioned I was raised to never accept a drink from a guy. My friends and I would go to the club, we didn’t accept drinks unless we was ordering them. We didn’t leave our drinks on tables, if we left them, they was considered contaminated. Number one rule we came together, we leave together. My car broke down and I couldn’t reach anyone I refused rides from strangers. A young girl or woman can never be too careful. So I see what Selena was saying. All she was saying was why did that girl put herself in that predictament. When I was in college it was well known the football players loved to get girls drunk and run trains on them. Boys do that type of stuff. So why trust drinking with them?

  20. Maybelle Brown on

    You have got to be kidding me. No one is saying that it is a right. What we are saying is that we are living in a dangerous world with a lot of immoral and dangerous people. You have to not be Stupid and put yourself in danger. And this is the job of a parent because minors do not know this.

  21. no one should be raped because they are drunk and sixteen, the wrong is on the rapist not the rapee.that is a very negative statement coming from anyone, especially a female.

  22. When was the last time the African American Community held an “Black Celebrity” responsible or culpable for an obvious; wrong, ignorant, insensitive or even illegal conduct. Dark skin doesn’t give you an “Asshole Free Pass” card. No action justifies any Rape or assault by any means whatever & Shame on all of you

  23. Black people in general feel no real value or worth. This is evident in how we accept shabby treatment from our president, allow gangs and thugs to take over our neighborhoods, allow our children to be subjected to inferior education, berate our women and so on. We have too many within our race who wear a badge of inferiority. Now we’ve reached a new low which is taking the focus off of sick rapists and blaming the victim of the crime. She should never become the focus. Rape is brutal deviant behavior. No matter what that girl was wearing or drinking no one had the right to rape her. She should not be the focus of a discussion concerning her rape. Noma you seem like a sweet woman, but I have read enough of your pieces to know that you are very lost. You are disrespectful towards women on so many levels. Perhaps it’s your culture, but it’s nonetheless sad. I cry for my people and pray that you learn to value yourselves and realize all of your glory.

    • @ Satch what in the Hell are you talking about “trust” has nothing to do with the criminally inclined, their selfish evil opportunist by nature & that’s not their victims fault

  24. Since when did having a moral compass become such a controversial topic? This world is seriously in trouble when people question comments that are CORRECT and SOUND. There was NOTHING amiss with what Serena said- she evens questions herself in her comments to convey a sense of fairness.

    Serena grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness and that religion teaches STRICT moral codes, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that she made these comments.

    Feminism is becoming very annoying these days because it doesn’t seem to account for a woman’s personal responsibility to be a sound-minded individual who should be making SMART choices, regardless of what the ‘Evil Man’ does. It’s a fact that if the girl never placed herself in that position, it would’ve never happened to her.

    • We aren’t talking about feminism we are talking about aggravated sexual assault a violent crime that is even deemed “bottom of the food chain” in prison culture & her blaming the victim due to a lapse in “good judgment”. You know that Trayvon Martin should have known better than walk through a primarily white neighborhood @ night, that skittles & ice tea run was just him casing the “joint”. George Zimmerman had heads up & put an end to that. Sounds just as foolish doesn’t it

    Serena, I just wanted to say that I agree with you 100% on your statements about the Pennsylvania rape case. Do not listen to these amoral, unethical, non GOD Believing, homosexual loving, Black people 'like Melissa Harris Perry and others who seem to believe that women can do no wrong, and everything is the man’s fault. Society has allowed women to get away with some of the craziest things imaginable without holding them accountable. Women are having babies like rabbits now and they aren't even interested in being married to a decent man. They prefer to pole dance, and perform immoral sexual acts for men and women to having a legitimate job, or business.
    This particular case reminds me of the Mike Tyson "alleged" rape a decade or so ago Serena. A Black beauty contest winner went up to his apartment after midnight, after drinking, and when he decided he wanted sex the cried rape! Causing him to spend some of his best boxing years in prison.
    My question was then why would any adult woman go to the room of the most violent man in professional boxing at that time alone after midnight? What did she expect he was going to want to do? Play Tiddlywinks? Scrabble? I faulted this woman for using horrible judgment. She should have known better. As a grown man, who has traveled the world, there are many clubs and other places where I could have gone had I wanted to, but I didn’t enter those place because I knew I would be hated there because of my beautiful Brown skin color, or because it would be to dangerous for other reasons. My parents taught me to think that way from childhood and I'm sure yours did too.
    So my question is on the Pennsylvania case is why a sixteen year old was not wise enough to know that she had no business going to a party with a bunch of men in general, football jocks in particular, where these super horny young men would outnumber the women many times to one. Yes, women have the right to go where they want to go, but do they really have the need? Women are NOT men! Women do NOT think as men do. Most macho men would rape a pretty girl/woman if they found her in a situation where they could do it. That is just the biologic facts of life. I fault that young woman's parents for not teaching her how to safely navigate her environment.

    So for those women who do not know, you are insane if you go into men's dorm rooms on a regular basis where they are drinking and taking drugs. You are insane if you go to house parties where you are greatly outnumbered, you don't know the people there, and you allow strangers to pour you drinks. It's sad that I have to say all this, but the world can be a very dangerous place for the naive. Yes, the boys were wrong and should receive severe punishments, but females all across this country need to start taking responsibility for their own actions and stop blaming everything on men.

    Use birth control, or get an implant. Stop destroying your lives before they even get started by having multiple babies by multiple men. No decent man wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars raising other men's children. They want to have their own kids that look like them and have their personality instead of having to raise some thug, drug dealer, or other mentally disturbed criminals mentally and physically handicapped children. 🙂

    Need I Say More!


    Love live the Williams family and I hope they continue to prosper. They are the greatest sports family in World History. No one will ever do what Richard and Oracene accomplished. 🙂

  26. Serena does not owe anyone an apology for Steubenville rape comments.The girl should have been more responsible for herself,than to allow this type of public intoxication and indecency to even have happened.

    • Yes of coarse a young Black Girl that goes out & get drunk deserves to be raped. Thank God there are people a whole lot smarter than you, that are aware they start raping with;young girls intoxicated impaired handicap & Black Girls because they will be treated by people like you. Read Eldridge Cleavers “Soul on Ice” he says he did just that for practice in raping & your disgusting

  27. Al Hill II thank you for having a brain and using it! These
    People writing how girls need to protect themselves
    Blah blah wtf? Are we in Ancient Rome or Medieval Europe
    Where torture was acceptable?? Omg this makes me sick. When it’s an “aquaintance
    Rape” or date rape, it’s always the woman’s fault.
    Men jumping out of bushes in broad daylight deserve to be
    Executed according to these neanderthals. Even though the crime is EXACTLY THE SAME!!

    People are too stupid and judgemental to even realize that MAYBE her first drink was drugged and that’s how she got so drunk to begin with. Or that ALL drinks can be spiked, not just booze. Your diet coke AND WATER can be spiked!! And those spiked drinks can kill a girl if her body reacts badly to it. Then when the coroner tests her blood and finds a drug, they would be charged with murder! But noooo, nobody thinks along those lines. They have no idea how a girl gets so drunks, she might have only had water that was spiked, yet these cavemen and cavewomen who hate women only want to automatically assume that it’s always the stupid girl’s fault and want her to be freaking bionic and just drink a spiked water and fly away like Supergirl, and if she cant do that then, oh well, her fault. I’m going to pray Serena loses Wimbledon and all her other matches, for life!!!

  28. Blackheywood Heywood on

    . I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you.

    That is the key, poor parenting, That 16yr old girl should be raised not to drink underage from the jump. Had she been raised right non would've passed her lips. While she's not responsible, her behavior did play a part in the attack. The rapist are paying for their despicable behavior. Seems Some kids don't fear walking in their parents house drunk no more. smh.

    • How about teaching 16 year old boys to no rape drunk 16 year old girls or is that beyond your mental, psychological & moral capabilities because you can’t resist yourself. Creatures like you make me feel grateful I only have a 6’3″ teenage son

Leave A Reply