Monday, March 14, 2011

A Bittersweet Boon

To be honest, the subject of rape and sexual assaults make me greatly uncomfortable. The fact that I'm writing a post about an instance of rape surprises me to no end. But the reality of it is that these things happen all over the world, even in the most progressive and forward thinking societies. And unfortunately the small town of Cleveland, Texas, with a population of about 9,000, was no exception.

According to a New York Times article, a total of eighteen local males have been charged with participating in the gang rape of a young, eleven-year-old girl. The males range from players on the local high school basketball team, to middle school students, to previous felons, etc. What basically happened is that the victim, who had a history of hanging around older children - according to one interviewee- accepted a ride from a nineteen-year-old man who then kidnapped her and took her to a location where several other men were waiting for them.

There are, however, a few redeeming points to this story:

1. The victim walked away with her life and is attending school in a different district.
2. The perpetrators, or at least a great many of them, have been detained.

What makes this story remarkable is the way in which the crime was brought to light and the wrongdoers identified. Several (I'm using plural though it may have, in fact, merely been one person) of the individuals who were present at the time of the assault had taken video on their cellphones. This video circulated around the town, even permeating the elementary school. In fact, it was one of the girls in the elementary school who brought the video to the attention of a teacher as it included her classmate. I applaud this child who stepped forward and did the right thing at her young age, when dozens of others who had either witnessed the crime itself or heard about it later did nothing. Needless to say, it will be a long time before this little town recovers from these shocking events.

I came across this incredibly dimwitted poll as I was looking for an appropriate image for this post and thought I would include it to share with you all how ignorant some people can be: Poll: Is the 11 year old girl from Cleveland, Texas to blame for being gang raped?

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