Thursday, March 10, 2011


...and especially including the links. The New York Times recently published an article regarding the heineous rape of an 11 year old girl in Texas. That such a thing could happen is horrifying enough...however the New York Times article compounded this atrocity by victim blame, subtle stereotyping, and a sickening description of the crime scene. 

The issues attending this are well explained here at Alternet, including that we have been told the ages of the men and several have been personalized: "Five suspects are students at Cleveland High School, including two members of the basketball team. Another is the 21-year-old son of a school board member." Etc. All we know about the 11-year-old is her age and gender.Quotes cited in the article place blame on the mother of the child, who for all we know may have been frantically looking for or appealing for help for her daughter, and even if she wasn't, does that justify gang rape? The little girl is described as dressing inappropriately for her age (too old and hanging out with older boys) which perpetuates the stereotype of "she asked for it", which as my friend MizBehavin states "I don't care what a female is wearing, how her make up is, if she is buck naked and dancing the watusi in the middle of the street .... rape is wrong.To rape a child is beyond foul...People have this misconception that rape is a sexual/sensual act. It's not. It's about power. A rapist takes the victims power to control what happens to their own body." 

Let me point out some more from the actual article..."The town’s economy has always rested on timber, cattle, farming and oil. But there are pockets of poverty, and in the neighborhood where the assault occurred, well-kept homes sit beside boarded-up houses and others with deteriorating facades." Obviously (dripping with sarcasm, note) these things only happen on the "poor side of town". couldn't possibly happen in a well to do neighborhood, and well, poor people aren't as important, and they do these things to each other, they are not as "human" as we are...
They said "she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to agrown woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground"...friends, I am in a therapy masters program, and I can very clearly state that a young child who dresses and behaves in ways that are older like this quite possibly has already been a victim of sexual predation and molestation.If I had been the school counselor, I would have been all over this looking for that possibility! That should be a screaming red flag to assess for child molestation somewhere back up the time frame...instead, as is pointed out, she is judged as a little harlot who tempted men.
The trailer where this atrocity took place is sickeningly, lovingly described down to the last detail...last time I looked, the latest shooting at the local gas station was not described down to the location of the aisles and the amount of milk in the freezers! In fact, I don't think I have ever seen a description of a crime scene like this outside of a murder mystery, let alone in a newspaper that is of the caliber the NYT is SUPPOSED to be. I got the feeling the author of this garbage was enjoying fantasizing about the scene! It felt slimy!

There is a Petition circulating for the New York Times to issue a published apology for their coverage of this incident and publish an editorial from a victim's rights expert on how victim blaming in the media contributes to the prevalance of sexual assault. Please take a moment of your time and sign it...there is a space to personalize your signature with your thoughts. They are up to 15,000 signatures at least, at the time of this blog. 
Sadly, so far, the New York Times has failed miserably in its response, stating that they published the views they found, and standing by their article. 
Finally, partially in response to this article, as well as to other issues arising in the news and community, a new Face Book Group has been formed called Survivor Here. Its mission statement is as follows...

"This group, Survivor Here has formed out of a community of friends who have reached the point that we feel we must do something more than just rant about social injustice, hate and pain. We wish to make our words heard. We wish to be available with compassion to those who are in need and hurt. We wish to provide a forum for not only our anger and our activism, but also for those who are also survivors, who know a survivor, or whose social conscience and compassion drives them to do more. We wish to address Rape and this culture that blames the victim, and perpetrates the pain. We wish to address religious persecution and intolerance. We wish to address Marriage Equality and and Equal Rights for GLBTQ's We wish to address all hate crimes and racism We wish to address any time any where that our culture and our government fails in its moral and ethical duty. We wish to hear your stories... We wish to honor all our experiences with compassion and gratitude for our strength and survival as a community and a family. We wish to honor diversity. If you know of any petition, injustice or need, please contribute it to the group. Survivors here... And our voice will be heard! "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead"

Anybody who wishes to join and contribute or needs a place to vent, be an activist, or share their story in community, please check it out and join. 
Maybe its a small thing, but small things change the world!