David: The world owes women an apology

Loretta David, Assistant Opinion Editor

Content warning: This article contains mentions of gun violence. 

Megan Pete — better known by her stage name Megan Thee Stallion — is a rapper who initially rose to fame with her 2019 hit “Big Ole Freak.” Since her debut, Megan has released two critically acclaimed albums and several chart-topping singles and has won three Grammys, including Best New Artist. Aside from her commercial success, Megan’s “hot girl” persona and Southern charm made her one of female rap’s most beloved starlets.

On Dec. 23, 2022, Daystar Peterson, a former rapper known as Tory Lanez, was convicted of several charges relating to a July 2020 incident in which he shot Megan with a handgun. The two were close friends prior to the shooting, a particularly important friendship for Megan after her mother’s death in 2019. 

This all changed when Lanez decided to violently attack Megan on the way back from a house party. After the attack, Megan had to wait more than two years for Lanez to be convicted. During this time, she has been the victim of mockery, ridicule and harassment from social media and some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. 

From the moment the story broke, many doubted whether Megan had been shot at all, to the point she felt the need to post pictures of her injured feet after the shooting. She constantly used social media as a way to defend herself from baseless accusations. When she posted her injuries, Megan asked, “Why would I lie about getting shot? Why are y’all so upset that I don’t wanna be in the bed sad? Why y’all upset that I can walk?”

The truth is, people aren’t mad she can walk: They are mad she survived. Had Megan sustained fatal injuries, we would be hearing a completely different narrative. Everyone would have sent their condolences and memorialized her. The media would talk about her potential and the impact she had on music. But because she survived to tell her story, the world has turned its back on her. 

This isn’t about being pro-Lanez or anti-Megan. This is about misogyny. The abuse Megan has endured is reflective of the abuse survivors of gender-based violence often face. The reason many women don’t come forward is that they fear they won’t be believed or that their entire life will be picked apart and criticized in an effort to discredit them. 

In 2017, actress Keke Palmer accused singer Trey Songz of sexual intimidation. Palmer alleged that she even hid from the singer in a closet because she was so afraid of him. Her accusations were swept under the rug by Hollywood and the media until several more women accused the rapper of sexual assault in later years.

In both women’s experiences, it is obvious that violence against them isn’t taken seriously, even when they have money, fame and status. Women who are unable to escape abusive environments or who can’t speak out against their abusers are given even less consideration. As this cycle continues, women are forced into isolation, continuing the stigma placed on survivors. 

The world owes Megan Thee Stallion and countless other women an apology. An apology for never taking their words at face value. An apology for turning survivors into villains. An apology for creating a culture that silences women and perpetuates a vicious cycle of abuse.  

When women are pressured into silence, predators continue their abuse. Abusers can only be held accountable when attention is brought to their actions. Too many abusers are able to maintain their positions of power because people are either unaware of their actions or are too afraid to speak out. 

We need to take a more proactive approach to supporting women. This starts with believing them.

Loretta David is a Weinberg sophomore. She can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.