More than a year after Aziza Murphy (@curedbytheblood) made her now-viral tweet about an ex who was stalking her, the young woman has announced via her Twitter profile that Seti Yasin, the man who was stalking her, was sentenced to 18 months in jail. We wish Murphy the best as she continues her healing process.
No one wants to experience a break-up. But it happens, and in most “normal” cases, there’s a period of sadness and withdrawal as one adjusts to life without the other person. In normal cases, however, people move on with their respective lives.
But far too often, when it comes to Black women specifically, this is not the case. We are not allowed to simply “move on” when we are the ones ending the relationship. In Black communities, toxic masculinity, misogynoir, and what I believe is a left-over slave mentality that some Black men have transferred to Black women, tend to reduce Black women into objects one possesses.
When these ingredients combine, a dangerous concoction of misplaced violence and animosity is conjured, often leaving Black women as the victims when we attempt to end a relationship. Because to some Black men, we don’t have that right. To some Black men, the moment we show interest in them or sleep with them, we become their property, and only they have the option of “ending” things.
The fact is, for Black women, rejecting a Black man in any way can result in violence verbally, emotionally, sexually, and/or physically.Tweet
And while I’m aware men of all races commit acts of violence against women of all races, and vice versa, right now I am focusing on the relationships between Black women and Black men. It’s one I know intimately as a Black woman.
I can recall countless experiences where I’ve been afraid to reject a man for fear of the repercussions. Something as simple as “refusing to smile” at a Black man’s(and stranger’s) command, or denying them my time, attention, or phone number can literally put our lives in danger. I can remember walking past a group of older men when I was about 12, and ignoring their sexual advances and catcalls only to have a glass liquor bottle thrown in my direction, followed by laughter and me being called a “dumb bitch”. Again, I was 12.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a rare case–this is a reality for every Black woman I know. We all have had at least one experience where we’ve been the subject of violence or disrespect thrown our way simply because we’ve rejected a Black man–you know–the ones who should be protecting us.
So, when I caught wind of a trending story on Twitter about a young Black woman who has been continuously stalked and harassed by an ex-boyfriend for almost two months, I can’t say I was surprised. In fact, my reaction was a combination of feeling triggered, then angered, then saddened, and then almost helpless as to what I can do to prevent another Black woman from becoming a hashtag at the hands of a Black man.
On September 4, Twitter user Aziza Murphy, “Aziza spelled backwards” (@CuredByTheBLood) tweeted the following:
“If I die, I want everyone to know it was Seti Yasin. He goes by Seti, Ramses, Destiny Wilkerson, Dashawn, or Sean. Me and him dated until a few days ago. He went through my phone and I ended the relationship. I dropped him off at the train station and he showed up at my house.”
What ensues after the haunting tweet is a series of subsequent tweets detailing the obsessive, and illegal behavior of a scorned ex who is blatantly refusing to allow the 28-year-old mother to live her life without him in it.
But first, the back story
In a previous interview, Murphy stated that she and her ex, Seti Yasin, dated for four months. Throughout their relationship she claims he was not abusive, however, she did observe some red flags that concerned her. When she ultimately decided to end things with Yasin, she says that she drove him to the train station where it took her nearly two hours to convince him to leave her vehicle. After leaving the train station, she went to the store, and when she finally arrived home, Yasin was standing in front of her place of residence. This is when the horrors Murphy has endured for almost two months began.
Murphy has made a significant amount of follow-up tweets since her initial tweet which she’s since pinned to her Twitter profile, indicating that her ex has not ceased contacting her as she has requested him to do on numerous occasions. In fact, since Murphy made the aforementioned tweet, “Seti Yasin” has contacted her over 1000 times and has allegedly created over 80 alternate social media profiles in his efforts to contact Murphy after she’s blocked him.
In one tweet, Murphy writes:
“He goes by Seti, Ramses, Destinee Wilkerson, Dashawn, or Sean. Me and him dated until a few months ago. He went through my phone and I ended the relationship. I dropped him off at the train station and he showed up at my house. He broke my window. Broke into my house and stole my keys. After he left he started calling non stop. He called 1,065 times with in 24 hours. He’s calling me from fake numbers. He has been contacting my ex-husband’s family. Calling my exes, my dad, my job. Writing all of my friends. I think he’s logged into my stuff and is tracking my location. I am not safe and I am not okay. He has a history of violence, specifically violence against women that I was not aware of until it happened to me. I’m posting so that no other person who dates Seti in the future will be blindsided.”
To make matters worse, after filing a complaint with her local police department, Murphy reported that warrants for Seti’s arrest were issued for making terroristic threats. However, Murphy believes officers are not actively seeking Yasin because he has not committed any physical acts of violence against her.
This is all despite the mounting collection of evidence she has retained to prove that he continues to stalk and harass her, even involving her family, friends, as well as her ex-husband and his family. Murphy claims that Yasin also resorted to leaving threatening messages for her on the Instagram profile for her place of employment, resulting in her termination on October 14, 2020.
Due to a lack of interest in the case on the behalf of the Baltimore Police Department, Murphy has resorted to seeking support from the social media community. Singer Ari Lennox, who is a close friend of Murphy’s, tweeted her thoughts on the situation:
“I’ve seen how fake the internet is in real-time. I’ve seen a man make constant post[s] talking about “protect black women” and then turn around and abuse my friend. NOBODY can be trusted.“
On October 16, 2020, Lennox tweeted the following:
But the job of any police department is to protect and serve, right? Yeah, not in Aziza’s case, or many other Black women for that matter.
Aziza has maintained detailed records of instances of harassment and stalking by Seti Yasin which she’s shared publicly. Here are just a few examples.
There are countless other examples of Seti’s continued harassment of Murphy that she’s uploaded to social media. I mean, countless. So, one can only wonder why with all the proof she’s gathered, this man isn’t behind bars? Unfortunately, Murphy’s case isn’t the first, and likely won’t be the last.
It was only months ago that the world caught wind of the sad tale of Oluwatoyin Salau, a young, Black activist who was victimized by two different Black men in a matter of days. Salau is now dead. More recently, we learned about rapper Megan thee Stallion, who was shot at by the man she was dating at the time, rapper Tory Lanez, because allegedly she refused to argue with him and decided to walk away. Let me rewrite that—she was walking away, and she was allegedly SHOT at because she rejected his desire to continue to engage verbally with him.
Per Blackburncenter.org, “More than 40% of Black women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. In comparison, 31.5% of all women will experience domestic violence. A report from the National Center for Victims of Crime found that 53.8% of Black women had experienced psychological abuse, while 41.2% of Black women had experienced physical abuse.”
Additionally, “Black women are 2.5 times more likely to be murdered by men than white women. In the overwhelming majority of these cases — 92% — the person who killed them knew their victim. 56% of these homicides were committed by a current or former intimate partner. Nearly all —92% — of these killings were intra-racial, which means that they were committed by a Black man against a Black woman.”
The aforementioned statistics has resulted in the Black Women’s Health Project’s determination that domestic violence is the number one health issue affecting Black women.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. However, ensuring that it’s not just another month, another #hashtag, or another “purple ribbon” requires action, and is essential to actively protect Black women like Murphy as opposed to the performative acts demonstrated by many social media users.
So how can we help Aziza Murphy, now?
We must first commit to ensuring that this young woman’s name does not become a hashtag alongside a “R.I.P.” status. Additionally, #ProtectBlackWomen must be a collective effort. The “authorities” have already demonstrated that Black women and their protection are not their priority. Even more so, our own community members have consistently dropped the ball when it comes to protecting Black women–at times being the perpetrators themselves.
So what can you do?
There is currently a GoFundMe set up for Murphy to help support her since her termination. Donate if at all possible.
Contact the Baltimore Police Department on her behalf to demand that they take action, and actively seek out Yasin for an arrest. You can also tweet them and leave messages on their Instagram. While the author of this story doesn’t have much faith in any law enforcement agency as it pertains to actively protecting Black women, this is what they are paid to do, and therefore, until we have alternative solutions in place, we need to demand that they do the job they’re paid for.
This also needs to be on the radar of every elected official in Baltimore, Maryland, and even the United States. Hell, I say reach out to both presidential campaigns as well. Hold all of these officials accountable for their promises to the “Black community” which would include the protection of Black women.
I also appeal to Black men to speak up. If you are not one of those Black men who engage in violence against Black women, then you need to speak up– against strangers AND your homeboy who you KNOW has been putting his hands on his woman. You need to make it known you won’t tolerate it.
Black women… I want you to know there are members of our community who will support you in any way that we can to ensure you are safe and protected. If it comes to using social media, please do not hesitate to put the word out about what you’re experiencing if you can do so safely. I don’t have all the answers, but, I do know that this discussion needs to be a continuous one, and not one we have after a tragedy.
For resources please visit: https://www.blackburncenter.org/