Thursday: Little Girls Do Not Cause Men to Rape Them

Six of the accused Cleveland, TX rapists


I’m going to devote this morning’s post to the horrifying gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in Texas. I will discuss the shockingly misogynistic mainstream media coverage of the story and provide links to reactions from other newspapers and blogs. I will also provide examples of similar gang rape cases involving victim-blaming.

Yesterday, Minkoff Minx wrote about the shocking case in Texas that broke over the past couple of days–an 11-year-old girl raped by at least 18 boys and men–perhaps as many as 28. I’m sure you have all read about this case by now, but I think it deserves to be discussed further, particularly because there have been a number of similar shocking cases reported in the past couple of years in which very young female victims have been blamed for the violence committed against them.


MAINSTREAM MEDIA COVERAGE

Here is what happened to an 11-year-old girl in Cleveland, Texas, last November, according to James C. McKinley, Jr., the misogynistic reporter assigned to cover the story for The New York Times.

The affidavit said the assault started after a 19-year-old boy invited the victim to ride around in his car. He took her to a house on Travis Street where one of the other men charged, also 19, lived. There the girl 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 affidavit said.

A relative of one of the suspects arrived, and the group fled through a back window. They then went to the abandoned mobile home, where the assaults continued. Some of those present recorded the sexual acts on their telephones, and these later were shown among students.

That sounds pretty horrific to me. A 19-year-old boy picks up an 11-year-old girl (he took her from her own home, by the way–she wasn’t just hanging around the neighborhood begging to be raped) threatens her with physical harm, and then rapes her. And then he invites a bunch of his friends over so they can rape her too.

But what is misogynist reporter James C. McKinley most concerned about? You guessed it. He’s worried about how this will affect the lives of those poor boys and men who were somehow forced to rape a little girl.

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.”

I have news for James McKinley. Little girls do not cause men to rape them. I don’t care what articles of clothing those little girls are wearing or how much make-up they have on their faces. They are not responsible for the actions of rapists. These young men weren’t “drawn in.” They made their own choices to commit a horrible crime. I frankly don’t give a shit that they “have to live with this for the rest of their lives.” What exactly does McKinley imagine it will be like for an 11-year-old who was raped by 20-plus men? Does McKinley even have the ability to imagine what that will be like? Or does he simply think of the victim as some kind of throwaway? A girl who deserved to be punished for her “dressing older than her age” and talking to teenage boys on a playground?

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.

“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?”

I have a better question. What were those “young men” thinking? Where were their mothers and fathers? What kind of family produces children so cruel and soulless that they grow up to rape little girls and use their cell phones to record her ordeal?

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Cleveland community is “devastated”–not because a child was tortured by young men who live among them–but because they are worried about these poor rapists and how this will damage their lives.

Local officials say the attack has devastated this close-knit community, leaving many to wonder who will be charged next. There’s talk that a star athlete at Cleveland High School was seen sexually assaulting the girl on the video. The son of a local school board member is involved, too.

Aw gee, this might hurt one of the high school athletic teams and embarrass a school board member. But there are no quotes in the article from citizens asking what these young men’s parents were thinking and why their children have no souls.

Oh, and the Chronicle reports that people are calling the victim’s home asking for her, and the police “fear [the calls are] coming from people seeking retribution.” Retribution? For what? Oh yeah, for daring to wear “older” clothes and make up and talking to teenage boys on a playground. Because it’s all her fault she was raped by a gang of local boys and men.

To add insult to injury, the Chronicle publishes material from the victim’s Facebook page so that anyone who wants to can Google the quotes and discover her identity. Nice, huh? And here’s what Chronicle reporter, Cindy Horswell
has to say about the victim’s Facebook entries:

Sometimes she comes across like a little girl, such as when she talks of her special talent for making “weird sound effects” and “running in circles” to overcome nervousness.

But she also makes flamboyant statements about drinking, smoking and sex. Yet her vulnerability pokes through the tough veneer as she tells of “being hurt many times,” where she “settled for less” and “let people take advantage” and “walk all over” her. She vows to learn from her mistakes.

Guess what, Cindy Horswell? She “comes across like a little girl” because that’s what she is. She’s 11 years old, for Christ’s sake! And this little girl has now been taken from her home and put in foster care. Local officials want her family to leave town too, because they may be in danger. But for soulless reporters like James McKinley and Cindy Horswell, none of that matters as much as losing one of the star athletes in town or embarrassing a school board member.

Another writer at the Chronicle, Lisa Falkenberg, has a more humane take:

It doesn’t matter if she wore makeup.

Or if she hung out with older boys at the playground, as some have claimed. Or if she bragged about sex on her Facebook page.

All that matters is that she is 11.

She couldn’t have consented, not even if she wanted to.

If the horrific descriptions in court documents are true, and this sixth-grade girl from Cleveland endured hours of lurid, brutal sex with a gang of at least 17 men and boys in a single-wide trailer and a nearby house, there is only one word for it: rape.

But Falkenberg also provides these horrific quotes from an attorney for some of the accused:

The attorney, James D. Evans III, has claimed to Houston Chronicle reporter Cindy Horswell that the victim was “seeking attention” and “she wants to be a porn star.”

“This is not a case of a child who was enslaved or taken advantage of,” Evans was quoted saying in a story Sunday.

I’m going to post some more reactions to this dreadful crime and to the NYT and HC articles, but first here is a list of the adult men who have been arrested so far.


THE ACCUSED

Jared Glenn McPherson, 18; Kelvin Rashad King, 21; Marcus Anthony Porchia, 26; Devo Shaun Green, 20; Xavier King, 17; Eric Bernard McGowan, 19; Jared Len Cruse, 18; Isaiah Rashad Ross, 21; Timothy Daray Ellis, 19; Rayford Tyrone Ellis, Jr., 19, and Jamarcus Norris Napper.

Timothy Ellis is the man who took the girl from her home and invited the others to his house to rape her.


SOME SANE AND LOGICAL REACTIONS TO THE MISOGYNISTIC MAINSTREAM MEDIA COVERAGE

Mac McClelland at Mother Jones: The New York Times’ Rape-Friendly Reporting

Libby Copeland at Slate: Reporting on a Gang Rape in East Texas

Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux at Care 2: 11-Year-Old Girl Gang-Raped By 18 Men In Texas

Houston Press: Cleveland Gang-Rape Coverage: Chron, New York Times “Pathetic”

Margaret Hartman at Jezebel: Media Blows It With Pathetic Gang Rape Coverage

Liz Henry at Composite: How to help the girl who was gang raped in Texas

Shakesville: Today in Rape Culture

Change.org petition: Tell the New York Times to Apologize for Blaming a Child for Her Gang Rape


RECENT CASES OF GANG RAPE FOLLOWED BY VICTIM-BLAMING

Let’s remember that the horrific gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in Cleveland, TX, is hardly an isolated incident. Neither is it unique for perpetrators to filming the torture as it is being inflicted. Here are a few examples:

CNN: Police: As many as 20 present at gang rape outside school dance (Richmond, CA)

San Jose Mercury News report of testimony in DeAnza College gang rape trial In this case the DA refused to prosecute and the victim sued her attackers in a civil trial. Here’s another story about the case: Witnesses To Alleged De Anza Rape Speak Out

Detroit News: Cops: Gang rape of 11-year-old girl taped on cell phone

West Virginia.com: Mount Hope Gang Rape Criminal Probe Continues

Jezebel: Gang-Rape Victim’s Horrific Facebook Ordeal


THE AFTEREFFECTS OF RAPE FOR VICTIMS

Now what do you suppose these young girls have to look forward to as they attempt to recover from being gang raped, and having the videos of their torture spread around their schools and communities? Let me spell it out for you.

It is highly likely these girls and women will suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They will probably have nightmares for many years following the rapes. They may experience flashbacks in which they feel as if they are back in the traumatic situation, re-experiencing the pain, humiliation, fear, and shame once again.

They will learn to avoid experiences, people, places, sights, sounds, tastes, and smells that remind them of the traumatic incidents. They will very likely have difficulty getting close to a man and may not be able to enjoy sex. They will experience high levels of anxiety and hyper-alertness to sounds, sights, and other stimuli. They may become severely depressed, and may use drugs and alcohol to dull their emotional pain and suppress the memories.

And of course, they will be blamed for being raped by gangs of men. Something is very wrong with a society in which large numbers of people respond to horrific crimes by blaming the victims.


UPDATE:

Houston Chronicle reporter Cindy Horswell discusses the case with CNN. Apparently the fact that the news has come out has been devastating for the high school basketball team, which recently {gasp!} lost a game.

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47 Comments on “Thursday: Little Girls Do Not Cause Men to Rape Them”

  1. Morning BB. It’s beyond sad that this has to be said, but I’m glad you took the time.

    When the articles started with the “where was the mother” crap, I just thought… UH Whose mother do you mean? Where was the school board member and parent of that 21 year old who raped this girl? Where were the parents of all the rapists?

    The Mother Jones response to the NYT article was really good I thought, especially this part:

    This is the point at which, as the writer’s editor, I would send him an email. “Dear James,” it would say. “Thanks for getting this in! I have some concerns that we’ve only got quotes from people who are worried about the suspects (‘The arrests have left many wondering who will be taken into custody next’) and think the girl was asking for it, especially since, even if she actually begged for it, the fact that she is 11 makes the incident stupendously reprehensible (not to mention still illegal). We don’t want anyone wrongly thinking you are being lazy or thoughtless or misogynist! Please advise if literally no other kinds of quotes are available because every single person who lives in Cleveland, Texas, is a monster.”

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Exactly Wonk, That is a great statement from Mac McClelland .

      BB, this is so true, she is a little girl, damn these people! Damn these towns people.

      Guess what, Cindy Horswell? She “comes across like a little girl” because that’s what she is. She’s 11 years old, for Christ’s sake! And this little girl has now been taken from her home and put in foster care. Local officials want her family to leave town too, because they may be in danger. But for soulless reporters like James McKinley and Cindy Horswell, none of that matters as much as losing one of the star athletes in town or embarrassing a school board member.

      These reporters should be fired!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yes, I thought that was great too.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Thanks BB!

        Also, Gerry Brown NEVER interviewed the three witnesses in the case, which leaves one’ head shaking about his review if the case. I hope California finds another Democrat soon and No I would NEVER vot for him for president.

        Oh the DA Carr lost her election due to the De Anza Case, so some justice was served there by the VOTERS! Your vote does count!

      • Woman Voter says:

        Computer got a virus and I am on the iPhone which leaves many words out… :-(. That was vote but you know that.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Woman Voter, wasn’t there another rape case in California involving a 13 year old and 3 other 13 year old boys? She was raped by the boys in a park, walking home from school.

        *Here it is: Community Reacts to Teen Rape – KPSP Local 2

        Rape suspects ‘knew it was wrong’ | Inland News | PE.com | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California

      • Woman Voter says:

        I believe so, but don’t have a working computer just now to check.

        The main message is that this 11 year old was essentially kidnapped, lured just as sexual predators do with children, with a false promise/ reward that the young child believes and frankly the man that lured her should be charged with kidnapping. Also, the FBI should charge the ones that filmed the crime/rapes with Porn crimes against a child as they knew she was a child and were willingly exploiting this 11 year old child.

        This child and her family are being sent the wrong message, but the good thing is that the police and other agencies are taking steps to protect them.

      • Woman Voter says:

        MM,

        Banning California 13 Year old allegedly raped by classmates at local park. Report by ABC News

        http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/video?id=7954417

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    BB, Excellent post. Thank you.

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    A bit OT: The attack on Women’s Reproductive Health continues. I was on this medication to help prevent premature birth for both of my kids. (The progesterone coupled with terbutaline, mag washes and betamethasone shots helped to keep my kids from being severely premature.)

    The High Cost of Premature Babies | Mother Jones

    I wonder if Medicaid will pony up $25,000 for this shiny new version of 17P? I wonder how many low-income mothers will no longer have access to it? I wonder if our pharmaceutical approval system is completely screwed up?

    Price of drug to prevent preemies jumps from $20 to $1,500 after FDA approval – latimes.com

    Since 2003, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended that doctors offer the progesterone shots to high-risk women. But because there has not been a commercial product available, women have obtained the drug from so-called compounding pharmacies, which make it to order. The pharmacies have typically charged about $10 to $20 per shot for the drug, which is given weekly.

    Last month, however, the FDA approved a commercial form of the drug, called Makena, manufactured by K-V Pharmaceutical Co. of St. Louis. The company said Wednesday that the drug will be available for shipping March 14 and that it will cost $1,500 per dose. The company said, however, that it would establish a “comprehensive patient assistance program” to ensure that the drug was available to every woman who needs it.

    Physicians were incensed at the high price K-V plans to charge. “I’ve never seen anything as outrageous as this,” Dr. Arnold Cohen, an obstetrician at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, told the Associated Press. Other doctors echoed his sentiment. The burden for many will fall on insurance companies, which may have to raise rates. The increase will also affect already strapped Medicaid programs.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    This 11 year old child was violently assaulted beyond all reason but according to the “bible” of Sharron Angle and those who agree, she should consider this as a “blessing” if pregnancy is a result.

    The whole thing is sickening beyond belief. Unimaginable to the human mind and soul that something this horrendous could occur yet find a qualification to defend those who chose to behave like pigs.

    Where was this “god” and his “blessing” when this indecency was taking place? No rational explanation can be offered to convince me that there is a “reason” for this repulsive act to occur.

    This poor child is scarred for life. Impossible to think she will be making “lemonade out of lemons” after this.

    • bostonboomer says:

      She may not even have had her first period yet.

      • madamab says:

        She was also most likely a virgin. Most 11-year-olds are. Can you imagine the pain, the physical pain she must have felt? I am only hoping that she passed out at some point so she did not have to feel every single thrust in her tiny little body.

        The shocking, instinctive defense of this horrible act is about as un-Christian as anything I’ve ever heard of. Our country is spiraling down into third-world barbarity.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I know it is horrifying.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Pat, you reminded me of a case in Tampa when I was in high school. There was a 10 year old girl, pregnant by her father, being forced to have the baby because the girls mother was “pro-life.” She was in a school for pregnant teens, and I remember one of my teachers remarking that this little girl would walk around…holding her doll…with a huge pregnant belly. The image of that statement sent chills down my spine.

      I cannot understand what makes these people think this is a blessing.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Video of Timothy Ellis’ mother claiming that the only thing he did wrong was not asking for his victim’s ID so he could find out her age.

    http://www.hicktownpress.com/criminal-backgrounds-of-texas-gang-rape-accused/

    Prepare to be nauseated and enraged.

    The reporter also explains that one of the members of the Cleveland, TX police department is the brother of the high school basketball coach. Two of the basketball players are among the accused rapists.

    • Read the link and watched the vids. And yes, they left me nauseated and enraged. Sick at heart and full of sorrow- that poor child is scarred for life and people are worried about the rapists? Why were these thugs not stopped years ago?

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      This is fucking disgusting! (Sorry for my language but I cannot believe this shit.)

      • Pat Johnson says:

        And the idiot mother of one of those slobs is suggesting that before he “rapes again”, he asks for an ID card. Does it get any stupider than this?

        Are we to suppose that had this “bright light” known she was only 11 he would have postponed the rape until he was able to determine that the person he was violating was at least of legal age?

        Ignorance must be celebrated in that family.

      • The mother of the rapist keeps defensively saying the girl’s mother should have known where she is, but why didn’t SHE know where her son was?

      • Pat Johnson says:

        The mother of the rapist is a moron!

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    There’s a theme running through the coverage of this child’s misfortune.

    You can almost hear “she asked for it” or “where was her mother?” or her dress and make up “made her look older”. As if these statements can be considered “mitigating” circumstances that permitted 18 men to hold her down and take her by force while one of them taped the violation for posterity.

    The incident occurred on Dec 3rd and from the report the girl and her family have left the area. Yet the arrests were two months in the making and may have been delayed for the purpose of a sports tournament.

    These facts, and the withholding of moral outrage coming forth from that small community, is telling. Two of these defendents are walking around while serious charges have been leveled against them in other crimes where guns were involved.

    This town appears to be lawless to a certain extent and this child will never achieve any form of justice when considering the priorities of the lawmakers to “look the other way” as the “team” seeks to bring home a trophy on behalf of the school.

    Apparently none of these fools thought anything of filming this tragedy and sending it out to “friends” as a source of pride.

    It is difficult holding back the disgust that I am feeling for this town and its citizens who prefer to coddle these criminals by failing to act accordingly when the violation took place.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Geez, this is getting worse each time I check in on the comments.

      Yet the arrests were two months in the making and may have been delayed for the purpose of a sports tournament.

      The entire town needs to be held accountable for what these pigs did to this little girl. IMOH the entire town are accessory after the fact to this rape,in addition to aiding and abetting .

      • bostonboomer says:

        Think about this. The girl was in sixth grade! One of her elementary school classmates saw the video and went to police.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Darren Hutchison discusses issues of race and gender in the gang rape case:

    http://dissentingjustice.blogspot.com/2011/03/alleged-gang-rape-of-11-year-old-raises.html

    He notes that all of the accused are black and suggests that the victim is probably also black.

    I read this morning that she is Hispanic.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      it doesn’t matter what color she is it is still a crime

    • Woman Voter says:

      The thing that infuriated me about the De Anza Rape case, was the wealth involved in that the house was owned by a ‘trust’ and that this influence kept other women from coming forward that had contacted reporters to say they too had a similar attack on them. The DA, didn’t subpoena any of the phones, and evidence was lost, and Governor Brown NEVER Interviewed THREE WITNESSES in the case of a minor.

      It doesn’t really matter to me, as to the race of the child, the point is that she was RAPED by multiple assailants and they lured her just as sexual predators do and they made CHILD PORN and passed it around. The FBI should be involved for the kidnapping aspect (luring a child…MINOR CHILD under 14, she is 11) and the CHILD PORN.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I felt that article from the Houston Chronicle was leading me to believe she was Hispanic. With the use of the Mother’s name “Maria” and then mentioning all the kids they have…a total of 4 I think. Maybe I was overreacting because I was so pissed off about how that woman reporter was so sexist…I thought at the time…she is racist as well.

  8. Delphyne says:

    You know, I keep trying to find the words to express the rage and shock I feel, but I’m just speechless. Madamab said exactly what I immediately thought – and BB, too, when she brought home the fact that this girl – GIRL – is 11 years old. 6th grade. Elementary school. Tiny body.

    Sickening. Just sickening.

  9. paper doll says:

    Thank you for this post

    ” …used their cell phones to record her ordeal”

    I now have my answer why we have even heard of this event…it would not come to light otherwise. Even if they found her dead body in one of those trailers…not without the footage.

    Yesterday from the quotes from those defending the rapists I thought they were talking about boys the victim’s age…but these are grown men! WTF?? “Live with it the rest of thier lives?” When thier defenders say that, they don’t mean these men will have any personal remose to live with …they mean people will know what these men are .

    cry me a river

    I read this morning that she is Hispanic.

    That plays a part in the ” so what? ” attitude imo

    • When thier defenders say that, they don’t mean these men will have any personal remose to live with …they mean people will know what these men are .

      Exactly paperdoll! Thank you for putting into precise words what I’ve been thinking about that “live with it the rest of their lives” quote.

  10. Peggy Sue says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    The most outrageous element in this case is the girl’s age. Eleven years old! I don’t care how much makeup this youngster slathered on. I’ve raised kids. Eleven-year olds are babies.

    We had a case in Philly back in the 90s, a gang rape at a local frat house. There were 16-18 frat brothers involved, several of whom were atheletes. The papers went crazy with the story, particularly in terms of the young woman in question, another student, who had a ‘history,’ it was reported, was emotionally fragile and had been drinking when the rape occurred.

    As is the case in Texas, the futures of the men were discussed at length, how the event might ruin their lives.

    The DA decided not to press charges because the case was compromised by the young woman’s background.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same!

  11. foxyladi14 says:

    I doubt a girl ever gets over being raped.

  12. paper doll says:

    The child was raped by the men and then by society

  13. Woman Voter says:

    18 Arrested In Gang Rape Of 11 Year Old Girl

  14. Woman Voter says:

    Here is another gang rape at a school function with as many as 20 witnesses and multiple rapists.
    Witnesses to Calif. Gang Rape Speak Out

  15. Woman Voter says:

    This 8 year old was LURED with bubble gum and the family blamed the child and the child had to be removed from the home…double trauma to this child.
    8-Year-Old Girl Gang Raped by 4 West African Refugee Boys’ (ages 9-14) in Phoenix, Arizona

  16. Woman Voter says:

    There seems to be a growing theme of saying the victim wanted it, as a defense and these stories are happening every month and twice a month across the country. There needs to be a new component to sex education and of basic Human Rights.
    ………………………………………

    13-Year-Old Girl Raped In Laundry Room
    Police say a 13-year-old girl was raped by two teens in the laundry room of a Riviera Beach apartment complex.
    Date: 3/3/10

    http://video.app.msn.com/watch/video/13-year-old-girl-raped-in-laundry-room/1d0ky3nie

  17. Woman Voter says:

    ipsnews IPS Inter Press
    INDIA: 60 Registered Rapes a Day #humanrights http://dlvr.it/JvZ6L

    • Thursday's Child says:

      As those are only the “registered” rapes, you can be sure the real number is much higher.