How Not to Report on the Alleged Gang Rape of a Child

Comments

1
That is a damn shame!
2
It certainly doesn't sound like they have much of a *community* to destroy. As for being drawn into the act: dress a pig up in fashion and makeup appropriate to a women in her 20s, and it would suffer the same fate.
3
Oh, I was wondering what this comic was about. I guess that explains it.

That's... wow.
4
goodgodfuckingdammit this pisses me off.
5
Welcome to Texas, where they make cheerleaders cheer for their rapists.
6
I wish @5 was not correct.
7
FUCK! I'd blocked out memory of @5

Been trying to convince myself that my upcoming trip to Texas wouldn't be as horrible as I fear, but yeah, fuck those guys,
8
Those "boys" need cold hard prison time. How savage.
9
My guess would be that it had less to do with how she was dressed than the fact that she was Hispanic and all of her attackers were black. But of course, you can't say that either.
10
The article seems to say more about the quality of the people in that town than the NYT reporting. They interviewed locals and that's what they got. It's the town's culture that should be attacked.
11
get real. its how many men work. dont want the attention? dont flaunt it.
12
wow. reading that made me physically sick. and then i looked up at the byline and realized the man who wrote it is (i'm 90% sure) my mother's cousin. ugh. writing letter now.
13
@10, I don't buy it. If there were prayer vigils for the victim, there were people around willing to say a few kind words about her, or show concern for her welfare. And even if you don't have those quotes readily available, it's your job as a reporter to add background on why this crime, against a child, is particularly heinous. The passive wording "how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?" fantastically illustrates that failing.
14
@ aardvark.

"Attention" and "forced sex" aren't quite analogous.
15
jesus, aardvark. what the fuck is wrong with you?
16
It's a terrible story, and I'm not on board with the victim-blaming in any way.

But it really is a pertinent question as to how a bunch of young men went so far wrong. It's not exactly probable that there just happened to be 18 pedophiliac sociopaths all in one place. Something went terribly awry in those men - some of them were just boys, actually - to make them do something so vile. They're criminals, and they're at fault, there's no doubt, but I don't think it's out of line to ask why.

This honestly, weirdly recalls the whole Penny Arcade "rape apologism" fiasco to me. There seems to be this strong sentiment around the internet that you're not even allowed to mention rape unless it's followed by "...should unexceptionally be a capital offense" and then left there with no further consideration. I mean... what are we more concerned with: stopping rapes from happening, or showing off how virtuous we are by each and all trying to be the absolute most outraged by the very concept of sexual assault?

I don't want to defend the Times article. I think it does engage in tacit victim-blaming under the guise of objectivity by failing to present sufficient legal and moral counterpoint to the "sentiments in the community" it reports. I just think that this stampede of outrage it's provoked is... oversimplifying.

@5 - Sure, pick on Texas and pretend it doesn't happen everywhere with a backwards, shame-based culture. That's productive. It's not like this same story could ever possibly have come out of eastern Washington, or Montana, or anywhere else.
17
Based on the coverage... Reading between the lines... I'm guessing the rapists are black and the victim is not... Anyone know?
18
@16 See: rape culture.
19
Its 2am, do you know where your daughter is? If you dont and they get into trouble, then you fail as a parent.
20
PS, we're living in it.
21
Thank you for pointing this out. This article's tone left me so angry.
22
@11: something that every eleven year old understands comprehensively.
23
@aardvark: Didn't know that a child seeking attention could be held responsible for her own assault and rape. Soooooo, we're going back to the 50s mentality that she got what she deserved, or, better yet- guys just can't help themselves?
24
@ 16 - it's possible that not all of the 18 men and boys actually or fully participated, and this wouldn't be the first time where a handful of sociopaths in positions of authority got a bunch of younger, weaker people to tolerate or engage horrible behavior.
25
For the "boys", sympathy and understanding.
For the mother, blaim.
For the girl, facts and jugdement. They really haven't search a long time to interview people.

Btw, if they need a clue, to their "how could" question: young people do not have more moral values than older men. And people always get more easily violent when they are a crowd.

@ aardvark: Trying to justify your own actions/temptations?
26
Fuck the NY Times, those men, and their backwater families.
27
I'm with @16. My thoughts about this crime were chronologically

1. OMFG how awful! That poor child.
2. The people in these towns are fuckwits. Yes, it's the fault of the mother for letting her 11 year old dress wrong, but nothing could possibly be wrong with the boys.
3. Highly unlikely that all these men and boys were pedophiles, so what caused this?

Asking what the root causes of an event like this are does not mean we excuse the actions in the slightest. Every individual involved should pay in proportion to their involvement. But it does warrant studying how these things happen. It may have something to do with group psychology. We managed to study the Nazis without letting them off the hook. We acknowledge that most Germans were not evil and silently realize that many people considered "average" ended up doing unspeakable acts. We did this without letting the Nazis off the hook. We can look at this too without letting the perpetrators off the hook.

Oh and the NYT is fucking for of it. When they say:

Among them is, if the allegations are proved, how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?


I'm not seeing any quotation marks, so this wasn't some random sentiment expressed by some massive asshole with no sense of who is responsible for rape (hint: rapists). This was written by the author of the article...who maybe also needs some refreshing on who is always responsible for rape.
28
I'm with @16. My thoughts about this crime were chronologically

1. OMFG how awful! That poor child.
2. The people in these towns are fuckwits. Yes, it's the fault of the mother for letting her 11 year old dress wrong, but nothing could possibly be wrong with the boys.
3. Highly unlikely that all these men and boys were pedophiles, so what caused this?

Asking what the root causes of an event like this are does not mean we excuse the actions in the slightest. Every individual involved should pay in proportion to their involvement. But it does warrant studying how these things happen. It may have something to do with group psychology. We managed to study the Nazis without letting them off the hook. We acknowledge that most Germans were not evil and silently realize that many people considered "average" ended up doing unspeakable acts. We did this without letting the Nazis off the hook. We can look at this too without letting the perpetrators off the hook.

Oh and the NYT is fucking full of it. When they say:

Among them is, if the allegations are proved, how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?


I'm not seeing any quotation marks, so this wasn't some random sentiment expressed by some massive asshole with no sense of who is responsible for rape (hint: rapists). This was written by the author of the article...who maybe also needs some refreshing on who is always responsible for rape.
29
Holy shit, double really long comment. Fuck. Sorry guys!
30
it seems like all good little mexican whores like dozens of giant black dicks at a time , or so the article alludes . you know what whores 11 year olds are , those poor fellas must have been traumatized . i'm sure some of them had aspiring basketball , and football careers that could have been ruined by this hookers evil manipulations . thank god sports figures aren't accountable for the actions of greedy manipulating under aged sex addicts . i hope they all get free councilling at her parents expense .
31
@24, that's sorta my point. It seems like a real investigative journalist would have looked into the backgrounds of the men involved, found the probable leader(s), and actually figured out what happened, instead of just asking some uninvolved, apparently pig-ignorant neighbors what the girl had done to "draw" her attackers into this.
32
@27,

Most men who sexually assault children are not true pedophiles (i.e. adults who are primarily/only sexually attracted to children). Most are simply rapists who made the cold calculation that children are more vulnerable and less likely to report assaults and thus make better victims. Those men similarly don't make much of a distinction between raping pre-pubescent girls and pre-pubescent boys.
33
dear stranger web person: please ban @30 right away, please. thank you.
34
@30 is using (very obvious) sarcasm.
35
@33: Seconded.

@30: I'd be fine with you trolling if you were subtle and/or refined about it. But the way you troll right now, you need MOAR DESU.
36
@ 34, given his history i'm not so sure about the sarcasm. i 3rd scary @ 33.
37
AH!... Well... A little Google-ing and we learn that ALL of the (alleged) rapists are African-American and the victim is Hispanic.

So of course the Progressive New York Times blames the slutty little spic for driving the proud African youths to such an unfortunate act and laments that they will now "have to live with this the rest of their lives".
38
How could all those boys have done this?

(Hint: It's not their personalities, it's their environment.)

Good people can easily be influenced to do terrible things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_pr…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_exp…
39
My faith in humanity tells me that @30 is really doing sarcasm. (after re-reading, definitively. But it's so badly written it's painful).
40
#33 - we're all grown-ups here. Rather than call for the "stranger web person" to ban comments you don't like, why don't you fuck off and start your own blog?
41
@13: The passive wording "how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?" fantastically illustrates that failing.

In the years after WWII, a good number of Jewish psychologists (Stanley Milgram, most famously) focused their research on this same question as it applied to Nazi Germany. By asking this question, they were not in any way excusing German war crimes or blaming the Jews.

"If there were prayer vigils for the victim, there were people around willing to say a few kind words about her, or show concern for her welfare. "

Unless you know this for a fact, then I'm going to assume that they were afraid to go on record. That, along with mentality revealed by these awful quotes, adds another horrifying layer to this story that absolutely should have been printed.

"And even if you don't have those quotes readily available, it's your job as a reporter to add background on why this crime, against a child, is particularly heinous."

I suspect the reporter didn't think he needed to remind his readers that gang rape of a child is horrible. Perhaps that was a mistake.
42
That last question, standing on its own, doesn't ask how THE GIRL drew the boys in, just how the boys were drawn in. As others are speculating, I imagine there were one or two instigators, and the others were somehow drawn in by THEM, or by the mob-mentality activity, or by something we don't know.

The context is what gives that question victim-blaming weight, not the content of the question itself.
43
Of course, if these were a bUnch of rich lacrosse playing white boys from Duke, everyone would be screaming 'they're innocent'!
45
done and done. assholes.
46
@43 the white boys from Duke WERE innocent.
47
Reminds me of the best X-Files episode ever, w/ Peter Boyle:

Killer: Why do I do these things?
Peter Boyle: Don't ya get it? You do them because you're a homicidal maniac!
Killer: That... would explain a lot.

They raped the young girl because they chose to be a child rapists. End of story.

Now let them experience the "zero-tolerance" policy for sexual predators that "patriotic americans" love so much.
48
This event is likely an example of what Rory Miller refers to as the "Group Monkey Dance" (google it if you are unfamiliar), a form of violence in which group members compete with each other to see who does the most damage to the 'outsider'. It's a way of showing solidarity with the group, similar to gay bashing and lynching. It's a very dark side of human psychology, and for something like this to happen to an 11 year old is deeply tragic.
49
"Group Monkey Dance"

Fuck you racist!
50
It's her fault for or her mother's fault for her dressing like a twenty year old? Right, because of course we all know it is completely legal and ethical in our society to take non-consenting twenty year olds, hold them down, and gang-rape them. The problem was just that she was 11, and not yet old enough to be fair game. Right? That's your point? That if she had been twenty then raping her would have been hunky dory? You do realize that is the logic of the argument.

The second bit of argument that she or her mother is to blame for being friendly to men, and not assuming every male is a rapist. Which would be a nice thing for those who defend it to remember next time they whine and bitch and moan about women not trusting them and treating them like rapists even though they themselves never did anything. She obviously should have assumed every male in her town was a rapist, because doing anything less makes it her fault.

It's insulting to men too. Lots of men can control themselves and don't rape people. They don't rape people even if they're wearing pretty clothes. because they have a minimum standard of decent behavior. Anyone who can't hold to that needs help, and needs to be removed from society until they can hold to that.

Anyhow, sure, investigate what led the males into doing it, especially the younger ones. But do it intelligently, which means not looking at the victim. It means looking at the other assailants and looking at the broken culture. Blaming the victim does not help you figure out how it happened and it causes harm.
51
it's horrible, but this isn't a first... among the many cases like this, first in my mind is the glen ridge, nj case back in 1989, and the subsequent community and legal treatment of the case. what is most appalling, other than the fact that it all happened in the first place, is that as somehow these mistakes in reporting/attitude keep happening, over and over. clearly, we aren't learning from our histories well enough, on so many levels. fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, shame on me.
52
I'd like the "report" button back, please.
53
@16 - I wouldn't say it's oversimplifying. I live in Texas and when I read it I was outraged - both by the blame the victim thing and also by the fact that this reporter is kinda stereotyping us Texans as these awful, rapists-loving thugs with this one-sided article.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, you can't always assume for what reasons people are mad about something. For me, it happened to be both things. Dan doesn't live in Texas; he can't "be outraged for us." Well, technically he can, but it's still our responsibility to be upset about it. And I'm not saying that it isn't sociologically interesting why the boys would do it, but the thing is the article as not balanced AT ALL about it. It didn't have one quote of a neighbor empathizing with the girl and then some other person wondering about the sociological reasons why the boys did it. It was just "it tore apart our community" "how could they have DONE IT?!" "these boys have to live with it!" "this girl dressed like a ho!" (last quote made up/paraphrased by me)
54
@40: I troll recreationally, and I am appalled at the consistent low quality of whatsbeckgottadowithit's troll posts. Trolling is a art and he's killing it.
56
I posted this quote on my Facebook, and I kinda think that here's a good place to post it as well. Just sayin'

"Anyone, anywhere, of any age, any gender, has the absolute right to do anything, be anyplace, with anyone, walk down any street, any time of day or night, in any style of dress or state of undress, in any capacity, and not be raped.
If you feel inclined to protest or qualify that statement, you're engaging in rape apology." - Melissa McEwan.
57
Agreed, Lissa. It might get you arrested, but it certainly shouldn't get you raped.
58
The boys are the ones who have to live with the the rest of their lives? What about the brutalized 11-year-old girl? Do they really think this isn't going to fuck her shit up far, far worse than the sons-of-bitches who did it to her? Fuck that.
59
well if you cant tell very obvious sarcasm , then god help you . i was in no way serious people , get a life really ! there is no excuse on the face of the earth that would be acceptable in any society .
60
Cienna,
thanks for bringing this to light...
61
I cancelled my subscription and told service rep exactly why. Then she offered 12 weeks at half-price. FAIL.
63
I think Cienna Madrid might be doing some projecting here. There is nothing inappropriate in this New York Times article.

The article reads "how could their young men have been drawn into," not "how could the victim have drawn them into." It also has many, many active, declarative statements "they participated," "a 19-year-old boy invited the victim to ride in his car," "He took her to a house," etc.

Most of the passive statements "she was ordered to disrobe," "she was told she would be beaten," "she was sexually assaulted," apply to the victim. If anything, this shows her as NOT having performed any action to cause her rape.

Also, the statements, "This is tearing our community apart," and "These boys have to live with this" come from residents of Cleveland, Texas, not from the NYT author. They could just as easily be interpreted as the residents blaming the boys--not the victim--for the problems and asserting that they must live with the guilt of their terrible action as the residents blaming the victim and feeling sorry for the perpetrators. They also might be the writer's attempt to illustrate what kind of people live in Cleveland. He also mentions poverty and trash in the old trailers.
64
Beyond sick. Note who supports the NY Times with advertising and stop buying from them.

The men should be paraded out and shamed. They should have the rest of their lives
spent in punishment because rape is a form of murder.
65
@59: Nah bro, we're just sick of your idiocy. Go learn to troll elsewhere, or read these guides.
66
But what was she wearing?