The Kenneka Jenkins story urks my soul. I can’t get it out of my mind. I have obsessed over it, the situation, the room, the atmosphere- I have watched speculation videos, I have read countless of articles about her mysterious death. She was your typical teen out on a typical night headed to a party. She didn't know this would be her last night on earth. Her mama didn't know she would never see her child again.
I care about Kenneka Jenkins just like I care about the young women in my community. Kenneka was found dead in a hotel freezer. Police are saying drugs and alcohol were possibly involved. This death would have slipped through the cracks if it had not been for social media. I cannot digest this story. In someways, I feel our community is responsible for her death. In regards to our young people, we must do better.
Kenneka wasn’t just a teenager; she was a daughter, a sister, and a friend. Kenneka had a purpose. This death is a tragedy, not a spectacle. Like many black women, we have been ridiculed by society.
Our own community exploits, abuse, and bullies then discards us like old news. We have no protectors; there are no groups that advocate for black women. Black women are taught from an early age to "trust no one" and be independent. Why? Because who has our back?
A teenage girl lost her life due to negligent friends who didn’t give a damn about her. She made poor choices, but how many of us haven’t? I can only imagine what happened that night and it’s not good. I wonder how could someone's “friends” leave their friend drunk an unattended.
Kenneka could have been you. You could have been the drunk girl that no one cared about. You could have been the girl found mysteriously dead in freezer- a cold case.
That hotel room was filled of aggression, drunkenness, and hormones playing Russian Roulette. The men there were expecting sex and seeking pleasure. The crowd just wants to have fun. We all know this game, the game of risk and pleasure, the game of tension and sex.
Open bottles of White and Brown liquor lay on the table. The jelly shot you made and the mixed drinks your best friend stayed all night making are scattered on the floor. Future is playing in the background and everybody is high and enjoying life, smoking and drinking, chilling. It’s a kickback, going to the club gets old and you are tired of turning up with strangers. Your best friend told you weeks in advance she was going to hook up with older dude from a local college. She wants you to hook up with his friend.
You see him on social media. He’s cute. He follows you on the gram, you follow back, DMs back and forth till the day of the party; you know him. You aren’t interested in him, but you don’t want to be a lame. Your best friend tries to convince you he’s cool. You don’t want to ruin your best friends plan so you go along with it. The day of the party, she tells you to "wear something sexy." You pick a nice outfit to show off your figure. You pick a crop top and blue jeggings. You don’t want to overdo it. You not a ho and you not at the club so you want to be chill and cute. Besides people think you're stuck up.
You want to show people that you can have fun too. You're not planning on having sex, so you good, nothing to worry about. The kickback begins at 11. A few girls you don’t know well come over and then the guys come over. The ratio is right. For every girl, there is a boy. People are having a good time. Before you know it, it's one in the morning. You and let's call him Brandon are talking, but you don’t want him like that.
The party thins out its only 6 people left. Your best friend tells you she and her guy are going upstairs. You ask your friend confirmation on staying the night. She tells you not to worry. You’ll be straight everybody else will leave. You can’t say nothing, you didn’t drive, and the house is an hour from your dorm. You can’t walk back not in the dark by yourself. You didn’t plan on staying the night. Ole dude with you is drunk, the other guy and girl are leaving. So it’s just you and him.
This is what happened to me;
I was on the couch. He sat next to me.
“You want to watch a movie?” he asked.
I said sure. I was planning on staying up. I was uncomfortable and I didn’t trust him. He was a tall guy, 6ft 5, and sturdy. He put on some Netflix. He got close to me. I was stiff. He told me to relax, but I couldn’t relax. I wanted to run upstairs and tell my friend that I was ready to go, but I didn’t move. I was stuck. My body turned cold. I could feel my heart climbing up my throat.
It was like I was paralyzed. He rubbed the outside of thigh with his dry hand. He told me I looked good. I whispered Thank you. The room staled. The liquor on his breath stank and his gestures were clumsy. He cracked a couple of jokes but the room stayed still. He then tried to bury his face in my neck. I sprung up like I touched something hot. He stood up too. I told him don’t touch me. He told me to calm down. He was laughing, I wasn’t.
“I’m not going to mess with you” he said. He tried to scoop me up, but I planted my feet firmly in the ground.
I told him to stay on the far side of the room and I’ll stay on mine. He agreed. I sat on the couch, played on my phone until my phone went dead. His eyes stayed on me and when they left they look at the TV. Surprisingly, we were watching the movie Enough.
I was able to calm myself down, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of paranoia. I waited for him to go to sleep and when he knocked out a wave of relief came over me. It was 3:00 am. I decided to close my eyes and get some sleep. I fell asleep quick, but then I felt something sticky on my leg. I opened my eyes and I saw arm underneath my top.
A large hand was cupping my breast. His other hand squeezed my quad. A wet suction was on my neck. His hot beady tongue glided down my neck. I tensed up. A rough voice told me to relax. I nodded in fear. I didn’t make a sound and I didn’t try to leave. His left hand scurried to find my sipper a low moan escaped his lips. I stayed there.
He couldn’t find the sipper so he became irritated. He coaxed me rubbing over my leggings. He then tried to spread my legs open, but my legs were squeezed shut. I clasped my hands together and I crossed my ankles. I tucked my body in and rammed myself forward to the board of the couch. I squeezed my eyes shut and I grimace.
If he wanted to rape he would have to pry me open. He went for my vagina before he could touch it. I pressed my legs together so tight pain from groin shot up to my stomach. I continued to stay in the fetal position, he began to grunt and put his sex on my back. I folded myself together like a pretzel. I didn’t say anything. He fought to get my legs free but he couldn’t. He tired once last time to break me open, but I was like a rock. He could not move me.
Finally, he gave up. I stayed like that till morning. I don’t know how, but I fell asleep and when I woke, he was off the couch slumped over. My instincts kicked in, I went to the kitchen and grabbed a knife. When he awoke I told him the next time he touched me I would kill him or call the police. He left just like that. I never told my friends at the time what happened, but I never hung out with them again, because I knew real friends won’t leave you with a stranger drunk.
Real friends will protect you from anyone including yourself. Real friends will make sure you get home safely. Kenneka’s friends may have not set up her, but they damn sure didn’t try to help her when she needed them most. There is nothing wrong with having a “mama” friend because those friends that act like a mom, you know the ones that are Debbie Downers are looking out for you. And chances are when the rubber hits the road they will save your life.