This is a long one, everybody. My apologies.
Alright, readers; you knew that once I caught wind of this, there would be a blog post in the works. Let’s begin with a quote by Jill Filipovic which reads, “So why do some conservative extremists-and even some regular folks-want to maintain the culture that enables and promotes rape? Quite simply, because women pose a threat to entrenched power structures, and the constant threat of rape keeps both men and women in line.” First of all, this post has absolutely nothing to with whether you’re right or left wing, or whatever, so just ignore that part in the quote, check your political complexes at the door, and please, for the love of goodness, look at this as a social issue for all parties involved and not just the consequences for the young “men.”
The New York Times posted an article, written by James C. McKinley Jr., on March 8th, 2011 declaring that a Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town, and that assault consisted of five men who gang raped an eleven-year-old girl. The ages of the boys ranged from “middle schoolers to a 27-year-old.” As horrifying and sickening as the story itself is, the reporting of the matter is absolutely atrocious. This quote, taken directly from the article, reads, “ ‘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.’” It’s destroyed their community, and virtually destroyed the lives of the men who took part in the crime, but may I be so bold as to ask where the mention of the girl is in this picture? THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, PEOPLE! Our culture writes rape off as a consequence of something that the female has done to basically ask for it. I know that this is not a quote from the writer himself, so let me show you something that is:
“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,” (McKinley Jr.). Hmm, okay. Yeah, this makes sense. The fact that an eleven-year-old female may have been wearing makeup is an absolute travesty. “That young girl has makeup on, let’s get her alone and take advantage of her!” I don’t know how many times this has to happen before our society realizes that they have pegged women as deviant, sexual beings and practically nothing else.
When I was eleven, I was starting to experiment with makeup. When I turned 12, things really got tense because I had no idea who I was, and I displayed that confusion through dress and makeup, but that does not mean that I was asking for unwanted sexual attention. At that age, the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind about sexual attention that I had consented to, let alone advances from men that I never asked for! If a female wants to put some eye shadow on her face, it’s her prerogative, regardless of her age. Also, there is one word in the sentence pulled from McKinley Jr.’s article that should make you stop and think, “What?” and that is the word “playground.” This girl is a child, for goodness’ sake. She plays on a playground, and our youth should not have to worry about being taken by a bunch of horny, ill-bred boys into an “abandoned trailer” and raped multiple times. The author (a male) chose to put the story into a negative light on behalf of the female. He did not have to formulate his words in the way that he did, therefore, even though he is not directly coming out and saying, “This is the child’s-the female’s-fault”, he’s doing a fantastic job of insinuating it in every other context.
The real problem here is that the men in question could not draw a line between right and wrong; consent and no consent (it would also help if the girl was of legal age to consent). Not to mention that some of them took video of the act on their cell phones, for what? Safe keeping?
The article continues with yet another quote from yet another intelligent neighbor, “‘Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?’ said Ms. Harrison, one of a handful of neighbors who would speak on the record. ‘How can you have an 11-year-old child missing down in the Quarters?’” This truly amazes me. Everyone’s fault but the men who decided to force this little girl to strip naked in front of them so they could have their way with her. Actually, why should there be blame at all? We’re constantly looking to place blame on everyone else for terrible things that happen in our society, so it’s impossible for us to take something for what it is. Yes, there had to be a reason for the rape to take place, but let’s not try to decipher that reason and teach our young men and women to be more educated and conscious when it comes to sex, let’s go ahead and point fingers until we’re blue in the face, eh?
McKinley wraps his article up with, ”Churches have held prayer services for the victim. The students who were arrested have not returned to school, and it is unclear if they ever will. Ms. Gatlin said the girl had been transferred to another district. ‘It’s devastating, and it’s really tearing our community apart,’ she said. ‘I really wish that this could end in a better light.’” Practically the only offer of condolences to the girl is that the churches have held prayer services for her, and of course, we have to end on the toll the gang rape has taken upon the community, rather than the effect that it has taken upon the girl.
I’m going to repeat what I said in my rant post about Justin Bieber, and that is that our society absolutely has to start handling rape differently and we have to realize that it is necessary to teach our children (and apparently even our adults) that if sex has not been consented to, it shouldn’t happen. It’s that fucking simple. What this New York Times article did was make excuses for an action that there is no excuse for.
I am not anti-male; I am anti-rape.
The New York Times article is available here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/us/09assault.html