Last November in Cleveland, Texas 18 young men and boys were charged with raping an 11 year old girl. The act was recorded on a cell phone video and discovered by the girl’s teacher who reported the crime.
While this is a heinous enough crime in and of its self, the reporting of this story in no less a paper than the NY Times compounded the the pain that the girl and her family must feel by perpetuating the myth that the victim “had it coming”.
“Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.”
While bringing up what a woman was wearing, how she was acting or what she was doing to try to justify that “she had it coming” is disgusting enough as it is, to even ask these questions about an 11 year old girl is beyond the reason. An 11 year old has no real concept about how the way she dresses or acts will effect men. To even hint at the “she had it coming” myth is simply irresponsible reporting.
But that isn’t all that is wrong with the article. The reporter goes on to state:
“The case has rocked this East Texas community to its core and left many residents in the working-class neighborhood where the attack took place with unanswered questions. Among them is, if the allegations are proved, how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?
It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.””
Not once in the article is the girl’s welfare even mentioned. Nowhere do we hear about the pain and trauma that an innocent 11 year old girl endured at the hand of 18 males. That is 1.6 males violating her for every year of her life. Where is the community outrage and concern for this poor girl? Who there is talking about how she will have to live with this the reset of her life? There is something seriously wrong with a society that has more concern for the male perpetrators than the female victim.
Change.org has a site where you can sign your name to a letter that will be sent to the NY Times protesting their editorial decision to publish this sexist perpetuating article.