An 11 year old girl was gang raped by a pack of up to 18 males, ranging in age from those in middle school to a man of 27, in Texas last year. According to the New York Times the crime was reported when an elementary school child known to the victim, showed photographs and video to a school teacher. The police discovered that the young victim was taken by one male to an abandoned trailer owned by another suspect, where she “was ordered to disrobe and was sexually assaulted by several boys in the bedroom and bathroom. She was told she would be beaten if she did not comply.”
The Times reported that residents in the town said the victim dressed older than her age, and frequently wore “makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s.” Further, they said she was known to hang out with teenage boys at a playground. The residents go on to lament the trauma that this case will cause the boys, some of whom are high school basketball players, who have not been able to return to school since the allegations were made. The newspaper asks how could these men (I use the term lightly) and boys have been ‘drawn into such an act?’.
I’m sorry, ‘drawn into?’, these boys weren’t drawn into anything, and trying to make them out to be victims of peer pressure, or the 11 year old child, is wrong. They took her to a house, forced her to disrobe and repeatedly raped her. It doesn’t matter if they were high school heroes or if they were peer pressured into participating, that cannot be an excuse or a mitigating circumstance for their behavior.
One resident even blames the victims mother for the crime, saying, “Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking? How can you have an 11-year-old child missing down in the Quarters?”. The girl’s mother does probably deserve to be judged, but she is no excuse for what occurred. She should moderate the way her daughter dressed and not allow her to hang out with 20 year old men, but even if she didn’t, her daughter didn’t deserve to be raped. The fact that it wasn’t the mother, but a school teacher who reported the assault, probably says a lot about her parenting technique also, but again, it is not the reason this crime occurred.
Without being privy to the full circumstances of the situation, I can only give my personal opinion, which is that if she was a more attentive parent, then her daughter might not have been in the position to even be associated with these men. However, neither the victim or her mother should be held to blame for the actions of these men. She could have strutted around the streets naked, and the boys would still not have any right to touch her.
It saddens me that still, in this day and age, where women are supposedly treated as a man’s equal, that in matters such as these, women are treated as second class citizens. The blame, in sex assault cases still falls on the shoulders of women, be it the victim themselves, or the victims family. Even in domestic violence cases, we have no tolerance for the victim, because she ‘should have not put herself in that position in the first place’. As true as that may be, doesn’t that in a way, excuse the actions of the man, by implying that the women should just know that that’s the way some men act, rather than focusing on changing the man’s behavior?
How is it that rape is the one crime where the victim has to prove they didn’t ‘want’ the attack? If my car gets broken into, the police and the court don’t interrogate me as to why I bought a car that might entice a thief. If I kill a person while driving drunk, I can’t get off by saying that the person I saw walking by the road, was so attractive that I lost concentration and hit someone, so obviously it was her fault for being good looking. Why do rape victims have to essentially prove their innocence in both the eyes of the law and the eyes of society?
What do you think?