Texas’ Gang Rape: Who’s At Fault?

There’s an odd thing about American culture, whether it be gender rules or ethnic stereotypes, when a crime happens the blame game is never just who did what. Instead the fault can carry centuries of — racist and sexist — baggage and Cleveland, Texas’ recent shocking gang rape case is no different.

To summarize, an 11-year-old Latina girl allegedly had sex unwillingly with 16 MEN, reportedly black, ranging in age from 14-27. Some of the perpetrators have been arrested and the girl has had to change schools and enter foster care because of the harassment she received. Why? Because one of the guys filmed the “train,” released it to fellow students and the principal eventually saw the clip and called the authorities.

Now, instead of burning their city down, natives of Cleveland are holding rallies to question whether the suspects should have been arrested? This reminds me of the many stories of black men and boys being killed viciously for “raping” white women when that wasn’t the case during Jim Crow. However, this 11-year-old girl’s accusations don’t sound like Emmet Till‘s story so why are the locals acting as if it is?

As Akiba Solomon wrote so eloquently pointed out on ColorLines, people aren’t tackling the rape of this pre-pubescent girl without somehow blaming the victim … and her mother. And one of the chief finger-pointers is the mother of one of the accused. Word?

Here’s the mother’s advice for her son, who’s possibly be a rapist, according to a local news station’s interview:

FOX 26: What did you do? Did you talk to your son?

Hancock: Yes I did. Yes I did. I said, ‘Baby, I’m your momma. You can talk to me.’ (The victim) said she was 17 years old and that’s what he told me.

FOX 26: But Anita, a lot of people would say, ‘This is an 11 year old child. Even if she lied, she’s eleven.’

Hancock: I understand that. I understand that. I’m not defending him. I’m not defending her. I’m not defending no child because if it were my child, I would feel the same way. My point is, where was her mother?

FOX 26: If this was reversed. If your son wasn’t your son, but you were the mother of this 11 year old, what would you do? What would you say? What is justice?

Hancock: First of all, I would know where she was. That’s the justice. Not knowing where your baby is is not justice. I feel like she should be accounted for not knowing where your baby at.

FOX 26: What lesson does you son need to learn?

Hancock: ID. Identification. This (holding up nametag and picture) is what you ask for baby.

FOX 26: So you’re going to tell your son, next time he meets a girl to ask for her ID?

Hancock: Identification.

What else is there really to say here? How about, ‘Baby, don’t run trains on anyone’ and ‘Where did I go wrong as a parent because it’s not the victim’s fault that my son may’ve raped her … ‘

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