Joan Little: First Woman Acquitted of Murder for Defense Against Sexual Assault (updated)

Sometimes people accuse Black women who fight against sexual and domestic violence of, “aligning with white women or “following white women”. This argument wrongly assumes that Black women and Black girls have not had to take this fight on if we were to survive at all.

Learn more about Joan Little who was the first woman acquitted of murder for defense against sexual assault. The crime of sexual assault has been here as long as human beings have existed.

In this case, you will see too that Black women have been fighting against sexual assault in while in jail/prison for a long time.

In her book, At the Dark End of the Street, Danielle L. Mcgruder touches on assaults against Black civil rights activists. Including the violent assault of Fannie Lou Hamer when she was jailed for registering Black people to vote. She never recovered from that beating. She suffered permanent kidney damage and vision loss.

Remembering 1963: Fannie Lou Hamer Arrested and Beaten in Winona, Mississippi (eji.org)

Did you know??


Joan Little was the first woman to be acquitted of murder committed in self-defense against a sexual assault.

This woman fought for her very life every step of the way. She was not “following white women” or “aligning with white women”. She was fighting for her own life. Her freedom.

Her right to live in a society free of racism and misogyny.

Her right to live in a society that doesn’t see Black women like her or any other woman as disposable or just there for the purpose of male pleasure.

It wasn’t until 1975………..

Think of all of the women who were put to death & lynched for defending themselves against sexual assault…….of all races and backgrounds.

Women who were married….

Girls on their way to school….

Girls assaulted within their families…..

Women and girls raped in mental institutions….

Not until 1975 was a woman acquitted of murder committed in self-defense against sexual assault.

Black women, all women, have a right to fight for our own protection, safety, and dignity-even when no one else has the humanity to be on our side.

Please check out these videos for more information. Great historic information.


(7) joan little — YouTube

Great TikTok Video on Joan Little

Best Books on Surviving Violence and Abuse, So Far: Black History Month Edition | WE Survive Abuse

HERStory: About Alice Beatrice Jones | WE Survive Abuse

How ‘WE the People’ Violate Women in Prison Today | WE Survive Abuse