Tuesday, March 15, 2011

NY Times Article - James C. McKinley, Jr. Writes "Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town"

This article is written about the newspaper article "Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town" which was written by James C. McKinley, Jr. in the New York Times on March 8, 2011.  This article was first brought to my attention in an article by Roxane Gay written at The Rumpus.net and her article "The Careless Language of Sexual Violence." 

In the article "Vicious Assault . . ."the author, James C. McKinley, Jr. only calls this violent act against an 11-year-old girl, still a child, a rape twice.  Mr. McKinley, Jr. instead of calling this act of violence "rape" uses the words: 
"the assault"
"a lurid cellphone video"
"the attack"
"forced to have sex"
"sexually assaulted"
"sexual acts"
These words seem to soften the description of the violent act of rape of a child.  I don't know if he consciously chose to slant the perception of his readers or not.  I pray that he didn't.

"Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town" should be more focused on the rape of an 11-year-old little girl.  She isn't even a teenager yet.  She is just a child. (I don't intend to mean that raping a teenager is any better.  Read on.)  People in the neighborhood that the rape happened in said that the little girl was dressed like a 20-year-old - as if that makes the rape her fault.  Why do people want to shift the blame to the person who was raped rather than to the person who was the rapist? 

18 men and boys raped an 11-year-old little girl.  These rapists were middle school age boys up to a 27-year-old man.  I do not understand the gang rape mentality that has someone thinking that raping by a group is okay.   Why does the author mention the age of the little girl but only says the boys were middle school age and beyond?  What age were those boys?  Were they the same age as the little girl or older?   Again the slant is toward softening the readers view of the rapists.  The reader isn't told how old the boys are specifically like they are the age of the girl child.

Mr. McKinley, Jr. says in his article that someone wondered "how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?"  Again the article is written to shift the blame to someone other than their "young men."  Who would they rather blame?  An 11-year-old child who was ordered to remove her clothes or be beaten?  What choice did she have in that situation?  Can you imagine how frightened that little girl was?  Can you see her in that room surrounded and alone with a group of boys and men intent upon only one thing - raping a defenseless little girl?  Sadly, I can imagine it.

As the 18 boys and men were raping the little girl, some of them used their cell phones to record the rapes and passed those videos around to their friends who had cellphones.  One of these videos was the reason they got caught.  A classmate of the little girl showed the video to a teacher who reported it to the principal who called the police. 

One of the residents of the town of Cleveland, Texas (the Texas town that was shaken by this vicious assault) said " 'It's devastating, and it's really tearing our community apart.' "  What about the little girl who was physically torn apart by the continual rapes done to her by 18 boys and men?  What about the innocent little girl who was taken away from herself by the rapes?  The rapes killed some part of the soul of that little girl - a part of herself that she will never get back? 

In another article on this subject, I read that the little girl was taken from her family and placed in foster care - for her protection.  What does that say to the little girl?  The whole rape thing was devastating to this little girl. She will never forget what happened to her that day.  If she is like most rape victims, she will blame herself, especially if she reads this New York Times post.  Why didn't the author of this article, yes you Mr. James C. McKinley, Jr., find someone who would speak up for this little girl and her pain?  For the town to be split, there had to be someone who took the little girl's side and blamed the rapists rather than the little girl.  Where are their comments?

According to the article, the rapists are no longer in school.  Neither is the little girl who would probably be in about 5th grade.  She was moved to another school district where she knows no one.  In addition to be taken away from her parents, she lost any friends she may have had that could have supported her.  Can you imagine how frightening it is to move to a school where you know no one?  Do the authorities think that the story of the rapes won't follow her to the new school?  When it does, this child is totally alone with no one to support her.  She probably blames herself for being taken from her parents and for being moved to a new school.  This hurting child has no friends and no family to support her because she was placed in foster care - another instance of punishing the victim in order to protect her. 

When is society and the legal system going to stop re-victimizing victims like this 11-year-old child for their own rapes?  This victim is a lonely, frightened little girl.  Imagine if this was your child, your daughter.

This child did not lure anyone into raping her.  She is only 11 years old.  Even if she has breasts already and dresses like an older girl, she is still only 11 years old and a child.  No matter how much make up she may be wearing, she is at that in-between stage of being more child than woman.  She is experimenting with who she is - trying to find her way in the confusing world of pre-adolescense, no longer child but not yet woman.  She craves attention and probably feels all grown up when she gets the attention of a boy older than her.  This is normal for a pre-adolescent girl child.  It doesn't make her a slut.  It doesn't mean she is "asking for it" to get into a car with a man who shows her some friendly attention.  As a child, she doesn't see his sexual motives for asking her to get into the car with him.

The child didn't rape anyone so why does society want to blame her.  The one who is raped is the victim, not the rapist.  I don't care what age the rapist is, they are the abusers, not the victim.  The person being raped is the one who gets the life sentence of fear, hurt, sadness, and loss of innocense.  This child is the one sentenced to problems with her body because of all of the physical damage done by being gang raped by men who are much larger than her in size.  This 11-year-old little girl is the one who will have emotional scars for the rest of her life in the form of flashbacks, depression and maybe even PTSD from the torture of being raped over and over again. 

Where is the concern for this child expressed in this New York Times article?  How could the newspaper or the author of the article be content with releasing this story to the public when it is so obviously slanted toward the rapists and how they will be affected by the rape of an 11-year-old child?  Who is standing up for the child?

I can understand some of what this child felt because I was raped at the age of 11 by an uncle on a weekend fishing trip.  Yes, I got into the car with him and went on the fishing trip because my mother told me to.  I didn't want to go on the trip.  I already knew something wasn't right but nobody asked me if I wanted to go.  I was told to mind anyone in authority and that meant all adults.  I didn't know about sex.  I soon learned all of the things that this poor 11-year-old child is dealing with now because of the rapes.  I know how painful that first time was with just one man raping me.  I can't imagine the horror and the terror of being raped by 18 men.  Someone please take the side of the child.  She is the victim.


insaneheart09 said...

This is so disturbing. That poor child. Her future is being played out in my head, and it brings me to tears.

She should have support and love surrounding her right now. Instead, she's alone. Where's the justice in that?

So sad.

Journalists like that make me very angry. You wonder how they can write an article like this. It's so wrong.

Patricia Singleton said...

InsaneHeart09, agreed. That is why I wrote this article and the one posted before it. Like you, this type of garbage makes me so angry.

Pastor Sharon said...

I clearly get your point regarding the ignorance of the journalist.

I am still crying for this sweet baby girl whose life will never be the same again.

I pray the foster parents have been educated and are good, decent people. That sweet child is going to need all the love, support and help she can get, just to get past this horrible trauma.

Patricia Singleton said...

Pastor Sharon, More people need to have your compassion for this child. She has a long hard struggle ahead of her. I hope that the system will get her the support that she needs to start to recover from this horrible experience. I was too angry to cry.

Pastor Sharon said...

I came back to tell you, this is still haunting me. I posted a blog about this myself. I figured this sweet little angel girl needs all the voices she can get to speak her truth while she can't.

Patricia Singleton said...

Pastor Sharon, thank you so much for writing your own post. I hope that others do the same. We need to voice our anger and anguish over the injustice of this situation. No one, especially a child should be blamed for their own rape. Please feel free to come back and post a link to your article. I will read your article. Revictimizing of rape victims is so unfair.

Marj aka Thriver said...

This makes my heart hurt. But, I agree with everything you've said here and I thank you for raising awareness.

As you know, I'm making the rounds to say goodbye to the blogosphere after five years of blogging. I want to thank you, Patricia, for being one of my favorite bloggy and Twitter friends! Your blog has always inspired me. I also want to thank you for your support of THE BLOG CARNIVAL AGAINST CHILD ABUSE. The carnival is richer with you involved.

I wish you many continued blessings on your amazing journey! *hugs*

Patricia Singleton said...

Marj, you are very welcome. I am saddened that you are leaving us and I do understand. After I had been in 12-Step programs for almost 10 years I quit going, not because they weren't helping me, but because I needed more time to live what they had taught me. I do understand you motives for leaving.

You are very welcome for my support of The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. I am glad that Tracie of From Tracie blog has taken it over. I will continue to support the Blog Carnival.

I will miss you and your blog. You taught me the definition of "thriver." I had never heard it as a word for a survivor before I found your blog. You inspire me. You have been through so much, struggled with it and won. I hope that your blog will still be shared online. It can continue to teach so many newcomers to the Survivor community. There are still many articles that I haven't read. I wasn't around for the entire 5 years of your blog's existence. On June 1, my blog will be 4 years old.

Thank you for your support and your friendship. You will be missed. You have taught me so much about myself. Even though we are so different in some ways, we are so alike in our feelings as survivors.