Golden Gate University Law Review


This Comment argues that the anticipated effect of an Equal Rights Amendment on the experiences of Black women and girls who have survived sexual violence is incongruent with the original tenets of the #MeToo movement. To provide context, Part I of this Comment recounts historical efforts to enact the proposed Equal Rights Amendment. Part I also details the concept of “intersectionality,” as well as modern campaigns that embrace its meaning to advance the social position of Black women.

In evaluating the efficacy of an Equal Rights Amendment, Part II of this Comment defines the contours of Black women’s experiences in surviving sexual assault. This Part identifies observed patterns in the context of sexual assault perpetrated against Black women, and then shows how these patterns arose from pervasive, Black, female stereotypes originating from the slavery era. Part III continues the discussion by exploring the anticipated effect of an Equal Rights Amendment on Black women. Then, this Part compares the proposed Amendment’s anticipated effect to the unique experiences and needs of Black, female survivors, to in turn show that the proposed Amendment would not adequately remedy Black, female survivors of sexual assault.

Last, Part IV offers two ways in which #MeToo advocates might reconcile their invigorated push for the enactment of an Equal Rights Amendment with the original tenets of the movement. This Part argues that only by supplementing it with support for a modified reasonable person standard and a special damage calculation will efforts to enact an Equal Rights Amendment harmonize with the mission of the #MeToo movement. Only then will the cycle of co-optation end and Black women be made whole.