In One Texas Town, There is No Such Thing as Rape!

Submitted By Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

 

I actually thought that I had misread the article when I first read it.  It described the horrific gang rape of an 11-year-old in the Texas town of Cleveland.  Eighteen young men and teenagers have been charged with the rape that is alleged to have started in a house and eventually moved to a deserted trailer nearby.  I am sure that this kind of vicious crime occurs all too often in our country, but there is one thing that makes this crime a little different.  Many of the townspeople are blaming the eleven year old girl for her own gang rape!

“The video led the police to an abandoned trailer, more evidence and, eventually, to a roundup over the last month of 18 young men and teenage boys on charges of participating in the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in the abandoned trailer home, the authorities said.   Five suspects are students at Cleveland High School, including two members of the basketball team. Another is the 21-year-old son of a school board member. A few of the others have criminal records, from selling drugs to robbery and, in one case, manslaughter. The suspects range in age from middle schoolers to a 27-year-old. 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? “ New York Times     How can a newspaper like the New York Times ask the question “…how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?” when the victim is an eleven year old girl? 

Has society returned to the day that a female victim cannot say No to forced sex?  Have we returned to the day when an 11-year-old girl is berated in public forums for allegedly enticing these adults and teenagers into threatening to harm the young girl if she didn’t have sex with them?  “A meeting Thursday night that was billed as a way to discuss concerns some have about the investigation into a series of alleged sexual assaults on an 11-year-old girl turned into a forum that many used to blame the girl police contend is the victim of heinous attacks.  Many who attended the meeting said they supported the group of men and boys who have been charged in the case. Supporters didn’t claim that the men and boys did not have sex with the young girl; instead they blamed the girl for the way she dressed or claimed she must have lied about her age — accusations that have drawn strong responses from those who note an 11-year-old cannot consent to sex and that it doesn’t matter how she was dressed.” Houston Chronicle

The fact that an 11-year-old girl was victimized had no effect on many in the crowd.  Lost in their attack on her was the legal issued raised above.  A minor cannot consent to sex and her mode of dress is irrelevant to the crimes alleged against these 18 different students and adults.  How can a society even suggest that a young girl can consent to anything, let alone forced sex with at least 18 different individuals?  One writer, quoting a definition of rape culture from the book, Transforming a Rape Culture,(WomenandChildrenFirst) suggests that we are fostering a new rape culture in America that actually encourages this kind of behavior and violence against women and in this case young girls.  “A rape culture is a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.” ShakespeareSister 

I am not sure that we have ever gotten past the day when women are blamed for being raped by their attackers.  If we have, this incident and the town’s reaction to it indicate that we are returning to a violent past or creating a new rape culture. Could there be a connection to this “rape culture” and the War on Women that we have highlighted in past articles?

84 thoughts on “In One Texas Town, There is No Such Thing as Rape!

  1. This is sickening…Cleveland is north of Houston….just barely in East or what is called East Texas….it is really part of the Texas coastal plains… enough said….

  2. It’s beginning to look like American lawmakers are so threatened by the limited progress that woman have made in the past century that they are intent on pushing them back to non-citizin status.
    Absolutely disguisting that any female, let alone an 11-year old girl, would be subjected to 1st a brutal attack by a group of men…and then a public attack by the community in which she lives. Shame on you Cleveland, Texas!

  3. Rafflaw,

    Rafflaw – you raise a very disturbing point, but I think the race aspects of this story are likely to become the most prominent. From ABC:

    Houston community activist Quanell X will host a town hall meeting this evening called “What’s the real truth behind the rape allegations?”

    “Every adult male that had sex with this child should go to prison, I don’t care what the color is. But I do not believe black males are the only ones that had contact with this young child,” said Quanell X, the leader of Houston’s New Black Panther Party. “It appears to me there’s only been the selective prosecution of one community, which is African American

  4. puzzling,
    If that statement is correct, there should be no selective prosecution, but that is no defense to rape of an 11 year old. Plus, that Quanell X is a strange bird. He was the one who was leading the town forum on the rapes and asking for money for the defense of the alleged perps.

  5. rafflaw 1, March 12, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    AY,
    What are they teaching them in Texas these days??

    It is not being taught it is the way it always has been in rural conservative Christian societies. Eve was a bitch and the Virgin Mary was a slut therefore all women are bitches and sluts and therefore always are \gbuility of the sin of being borne femal and therfore always deserving of abuse.

    It is exactly the same thing as driving while Black.

    It is exactly the same thing as Goebbels’ rule of repeating a lie until it becomes a truth. In a relatively closed society of males the repeated lie that all women ask for it or deserve it or that all males have a right to it is believed as being a fact.

  6. As I understand what Marnie is saying….that parts of the country and maybe most of it now live in an eternal deception…they are taught this cradle to grave and thats just the way it is and no one has the ability to change it….those that recognize the inherent wrongness of these conducts move…

  7. Let’s not try to understand these men. Let’s not attempt to dissect the culture that produced and protects them. Let’s simply rent a large bulldozer and have at ’em …

  8. According to the horrifying non-logic that she was the culprit here because she dressed a certain way and claimed to be older…any 11 yr old boy in fatigues who is playing soldier is responsible for any war crimes committed against him.

  9. Pete,
    Your question is irrelevant because an 11 year old child cannot consent to sex. It was a brutal gang rape by at least 18 individuals.
    DG,
    You are correct that the logic does not compute.

  10. I think Pete was speaking in acid humor – as if 13 would have made it OK.

    Despite all the progress we have made as a species we still have so very far to go, particularly when it comes to human sexuality. I wish it were only third world cesspools like Texas of Saudi Arabia that thought like this but it happens in decent places too.

  11. “Could there be a connection to this “rape culture” and the War on Women that we have highlighted in past articles? “~Lawrence Rafferty
    ==========================================
    ding ding ding ding ding ding ding!………ya think?

    ‘… how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?’

    and,

    “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.”

    and,

    “It’s devastating, and it’s really tearing our community apart,” she said. “I really wish that this could end in a better light.” ~www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/us/09assault.html?_r=2&hpl

    that filthy little Jezebel…

  12. Frank,
    I did miss the homor in pete’s comment. Thanks for the correction.
    Woosty,
    It couldn’t have been the men who are responsible for this heinous act, could it? I hope these families have deep pockets for the victims sake. Criminal penalties won’t be enough to salve this wound.

  13. Pedophiles are scum. They should all do time.

    Apparently some of the defendants have legal counsel that doesn’t seem quite at the top of his game:

    “Attorney: Suspects knew rape victim was 11”

    “Defending Cleveland clients will be ‘difficult,’ he admits on talk show

    Attorney James D. Evans III, hired to defend some of the 18 suspects accused of gang-raping an 11-year-old girl in Cleveland, said on a radio talk show program that those participating were “absolutely” aware of the girl’s age.
    Evans could not be reached Friday for comment about his remarks to San Francisco Bay Area’s KGO talk-show host Gil Gross.
    But on the recorded broadcast Thursday, Gross asked Evans: “But what is going to be your defense for your clients for having sex with an 11-year-old girl? How many of them knew? … It was a small town … knew her to be in middle school. So there was no doubt about her age?”
    To which Evans clearly answered, “Absolutely not. There was no doubt about her age.” ”

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7468724.html

  14. “Has society returned to the day that a female victim cannot say No to forced sex?”
    ——————————————-
    Please note the following changes enacted to the requirements of a civil society;

    “Has society returned to the day that a female victim cannot say No?”

    but then a civil and just society would be as follows (but methinks we are not yet in the presence of the reciprocal mindset necessary to experience the riches contained therein…);

    “Has society returned to the day that a female cannot say?”

  15. LK,

    Good Post…really good….this just shows the stupidity of not only the clients/defendants but the attorney that represents them… He has now cast his own personal opinion that severely limits the defendant right to a fair trial…

    If I were the Prosecutor…I’d wait to closing and interject this information to show that even if the attorney has put on a defense he does not even believe it… This is one of those fatal trial errors that cannot be cured even with an instruction to the Jury….

    What would be smart if he withdrew from representation…as I believe he is on shakier ground than jello….

  16. AY, I agree that these defense attorneys have made an obvious errors. I don’t have a litigation background, but would these attorneys be trying to get a mistrial?

  17. rafflaw,

    No mistrial until the case is called and the Jury has been seated…the judge can remove the attorney or the prosecutor can endorse him as a witness…then he would have to withdraw as it is a clear conflict….hence an attorney may not represent (appear) in an action in which they are expected to be a witness… That seems obvious to me…

  18. and I like to cut the rules close….live a little on the edge…but the client always comes first…

  19. rafflaw,

    It is not even a good ideal….what stragety has he left for his client….It is my understanding that a mistrial cannot be had until the case is called or the jury is empaneled… that could severely prejudice the case…either prosecutor or defense… it does not even sound like a venue change…because his statements can be cured easily by removing him…

  20. The problem is the size of the town, and the number of rapists involved. Videos were taken and shared, so anyone who did that is also guilty of distributing child pornography.

    The number of criminals who could face very serious charges as sex offenders probably exceeds 50.

    That means that perhaps 30-40% of the town’s population have sons, nephews, cousins facing serious jail time, unless the story is made to go away. Pretty much everyone knows someone who’s involved, or whose son, nephew, cousin or brother is involved.

    The school authorities, the local government, the local law enforcement all wish that this just didn’t happen. They want to make this nightmare go away. If I was a parent who found out my 9 year old son had received a video like this – and bear in mind some of the “receivers of child pornography” might be of that age in a rotten situation like this – I’d feel the same way.

    What I *would* do is go with him to state authorities, and reveal the whole mess, begging on bended knees for some mercy for my son, too young to know what the consequences, pleading that his life not be ruined too.

    As a judge, I’d be inclined to grant such mercy to minors involved under 16, on a case by case basis. For those over 16, I would not be so inclined. For those over 20, I’d throw the book at them, as the real charge is “corrupting minors”, and charge everyone involved in the attempted cover-up too, especially law enforcement. They’re adults. They showed an example that the kids just followed.

    Hence the death threats to the family, and why the Texas Rangers have had to be involved.

  21. From what I’ve been told about the hierarchy of prison society, those who harm children are at the bottom and those who sexually harm children are in the basement. These Cleveland, Texas boys are going to have one hell of a time existing in that culture.

  22. It seems to me that the prosecutor will not have to call the attorney as a witness if he calls the radio personality to certify the tape. Am I missing something here? I realize that Goss is out of state, but perhaps he could be persuaded to show up.

  23. AY, Rafflaw, good observations and analysis. I was thinking that that at some point if the lawyer stays on and any of his clients get convicted that they could ask for a re-trial due to the incompetence of their attorney. Actually, not a bad strategy for an attorney with a bunch of losers to try to defend.

  24. Zoe Brain, very insightful analysis. It has the ‘right’ feel to it (to me) and explains the small town mentality at work very well. Thanks for the insight.

  25. rafflaw
    as for humor in a statement this gem is from the houston chronicle

    She lied about her age. Them boys didn’t rape her. She wanted this to happen. I’m not taking nobody’s side, but if she hadn’t put herself in that predicament, this would have never happened,” said Angie Woods, who lives in Houston but grew up in Cleveland

    this dingbat thinks that an eleven y/o child wanted to be gangraped for three months running.

    i think they should be building a new cellblock at huntsville.

  26. Pete, they need build a new wing for the nearest mental hospital, or put Thorazine in the drinking water. Those people are not too tightly wrapped if they truly believe that.

  27. Having lived in East Texas (Palestine, Tyler & area) I can say with authority that the residents of this area believe themselves to be removed from the rest of society and not subject to it’s laws. Occurreces such as this happen with disgusting regularity but are not typically exposed to the rest of the world. Women of any age are considered second-class citizens worth slightly less tnan an average horse or well-used Winchester 94. I am not surprised at the mentality shown by the residents of Cleveland at all. Anyone who thinks I am exagerating needs to spend a few years living there. It’s America’s Afghanistan.

  28. Having lived in East Texas (Palestine, Tyler & area) I can say with authority that the residents of this area believe themselves to be removed from the rest of society and not subject to it’s laws. Occurreces such as this happen with disgusting regularity but are not typically exposed to the rest of the world. Women of any age are considered second-class citizens worth slightly less tnan an average horse or well-used Winchester 94. I am not surprised at the mentality shown by the residents of Cleveland at all. Anyone who thinks I am exagerating needs to spend a few years living there. It’s America’s Afghanistan where womens’ rights are concerned.

  29. jimm,
    thanks for the on the ground observations of the now infamous town of Cleveland,Texas.
    OS,
    That is a disgusting story about the women in Iowa. Sounds like the thought police to me.

  30. OS,

    Thank you for the link – It’s stories like the one you linked to that make me so happy for living where I live.

    rafflaw,

    I read about this on Friday on Salon.com. Positively horrifying. And, as far as the town folks who are revictimizing the 11 year-old victim? If I could have five minutes alone with each of the assailant’s supporters …

  31. SL You are lucky to live in blue Connecticut but I was quite surprised when I visited there a couple of years ago about the high number of african americans living in poverty in Connecticut.

  32. Stamford,
    I don’t want to do anything to these alleged rapists. I just want the full force of Texas law to come down on their heads, if they are found guilty.

  33. Swarthmore,

    ” high number of african americans living in poverty in Connecticut.”

    While Connecticut is below the national average, poverty exists statewide, but primarily in the Bridgport, Waterbury and Hartford areas, particularly in Bridgeport and Waterbury whose primary source of employment was manufacturing. But, most companies have either moved south or overseas and have left behind thousands of the unemployed. Our new governor is seeking to up the ante on job reeducation in terms of biotechnology, alternate energy (particularly in terms of solar energy), and finance (he successfully lured NYC based businesses to Stamford while mayor).

    Additionally, he instituted the Stamford School Readiness Program, which opened the door for hundreds of pre-K city kids (education was one of the key elements cited by a state commission investigating child poverty) to get a jump start on education. It’s a very successful program, and he is now looking to expand the program statewide. Additionally, his budget does not cut state funds alloted to local municipalities for education.

    There is much to be done to reduce the number of people living in poverty here and I take some comfort in that we have a state government that recognizes it.

  34. rafflaw,

    “Stamford,
    I don’t want to do anything to these alleged rapists. I just want the full force of Texas law to come down on their heads, if they are found guilty.”

    Oh, I agree. Wholeheartedly. Nothing will please me more than these 18 degenerates becoming Bubba’s butt-bitch in prison. I’m talking about the supporters of these fine, upstanding young men … like a few smacks upside the caverns resting on their shoulders …

  35. Swarthmore,

    “SL You are lucky to have a governor like that.”

    I was lucky to have him as mayor for 14 years. I have high hopes for Governor Malloy. It is refreshing to have a governor with common sense ;)

    ———————————————————–

    Stamford,

    “Bubba’s butt-bitch” has such a nice ring to it!”

    Lol – yeah, I’m still chuckling over that!

  36. rafflaw,

    “Why is it that the best reporting we have is from foreign papers?”

    Because they’re not owned by Corporate America?

    I recommend the BBC and Al Jazeera (online) as well. MUCH better reporting on events here than from our own esteemed MSM.

  37. rafflaw,

    ” but I haven’t checked into Al Jazeera yet.”

    You should – they give better coverage of what’s going on in the Middle East.

    ————————————

    Swarthmore,

    I can’t get it on the TV machine but I wish I did – I watch online and it can be quite a pain watching on a smaller screen :)

  38. Otteray Scribe 1, March 14, 2011 at 11:23 am

    And over here, in the continuing War on Women, a woman in Iowa was jailed because she mentioned to an emergency room staff member that she had been THINKING about having an abortion.——————

    That’s a joke, right? ‘Cause abortion isn’t illegal why would this happen? She can sue if she was held against her will…certainly if the stresas is what caused a misscarriage….not to mention civil rights ….no?

  39. Woosty:
    Did you read the linked item? Seems they thought she might have taken a deliberate tumble down the stairs in an effort to induce a spontaneous abortion/miscarriage. Even if she had, I fail to find a reason to arrest her. Do not try to use logic on stories like this; it will just give you a headache.

    And to continue with the ongoing saga of the War on Women, we look to the Commonwealth of Virgina for the latest insanity:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/14/956378/-State-of-Virginia-Declares-War-on-its-own-Women

  40. OS,
    I saw that story about Virginia’s latest attack on women. I think maybe one of these crazies is going to just unmatched women. Taliban time!

  41. Raff, when the going gets weird, the weird get going…or something like that. The truly sad part about this story is that there is no dearth of material to illustrate the point. Unfortunately, you do not have to look very hard to find people who seem to think this kind of thing is just fine.

    BTW, Happy St. Paddy’s day, laddie. Erin Go Braugh!

  42. raff: It makes sense to me either way. Remember, we are discussing people who live in an alternate reality. It ain’t pretty.

  43. OS,

    Thanks for the link. Life rafflaw, I heard about this a few weeks ago.

    Do you know what I find so sadly ironic? These states think they are savings lives and saving money. However, the state governments, while seeking to restrict abortion and access to birth control, are only guaranteeing that the number of women seeking welfare and other social services will go through the roof. But, these states are also cutting funding for social services. So, what happens next? Homeless shelters become overcrowded with women seeking food and shelter, the court systems become overwhelmed with child neglect and abuse cases and these kids end up becoming wards of the state thus, it ends up costing far more than the morons thought they were saving in terms of money and lives.

    And you know what the GOP will then do? Call the women brood mare, welfare queens and the kids juvenile delinquents, further victimizing the victims. It’s the GOP’s m.o.

  44. From Think Progress (3/16/2011)
    FL GOP Rep. Says 11-Year-Old Was Gang Raped ‘Because She Was Dressed Like A 21 Year-Old Prostitute’
    http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/16/gop-gang-raped-prostitute/

    A Florida state house subcommittee passed a bill — the so-called “Sagging Pants” bill — that would require state school districts to adopt a dress code that prohibits students from “wearing clothing that exposes underwear or body parts in an indecent or vulgar manner.” “This would make for a better school district and more productive students,” said the bill’s sponsor Rep. Hazelle Rogers (D). Referring to a horrific story of an 11-year old girl in Texas being gang raped by as many as 17 men and boys, GOP florida lawmaker Kathleen Passidomo — taking a page from Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s book — applauded the measure with an offensive justification:

    There was an article about an 11 year old girl who was gangraped in Texas by 18 young men because she was dressed up like a 21-year-old prostitute. And her parents let her attend school like that. And I think it’s incumbent upon us to create some areas where students can be safe in school and show up in proper attire so what happened in Texas doesn’t happen to our students.

    “Whoa!” wrote the Broward/Palm Beach New Times’ Brandon Thorp, of Passidomo’s blame the victim approach. Thorp added, “Blaming the rape of an 11-year-old girl on her parents’ sense of fashion — and to do so out loud — smacks of rank amateurism.” A St. Petersburg Times blog reported that “No one commented on that line of reasoning” at the subcommittee hearing. The young Texas girl is currently being held in foster care and her parents are living in an undisclosed location fearing for their safety.

  45. Elaine,
    Thanks for the link. I just saw that story on Think Progress and I think my head exploded. This is a woman spreading this kind of crap. The only evidence of how the girl dressed was from the alleged rapists and it has no bearing on her being allegedly raped by at least 18 teens and adults. She was 11 years old. Someone needs to sit this Rep.down and explain a few things to her. Remind me to stay out of Florida. AY will be happy that Texas has some company on my do not visit list! :)

  46. “There was an article about an 11 year old girl who was gangraped in Texas by 18 young men because she was dressed up like a 21-year-old prostitute. And her parents let her attend school like that. And I think it’s incumbent upon us to create some areas where students can be safe in school and show up in proper attire so what happened in Texas doesn’t happen to our students.”

    Please excuse me – I need to pick my jaw up from the floor while I’m throwing up.

  47. Da Bitch asked for it I tell you. She is the problem that causes all the damn confusion on fathers day. That is why they all say, Whose ya Daddy. They don’t know either. It could be anyone of them. They all have the same dna.

  48. It is all about them girls. They dress like that and they are just gonna get it. I do not know of any honkeys that do them anymore.

  49. Kathleen Passidomo ran unopposed in her Naples district and this is her first time serving as an elected representative. This isn’t an unusual situation in Florida where there appears to be very little interest in holding office in some areas.

    I suspect that after this bit of vomit she coughed up, next time she might have to actually work to get elected.

  50. Blouise,
    I am shocked that this idiot ran unopposed! Wow.
    Stamford, I hope she doesn’t have kids either. I can’t imagine what kind of childhood someone would have with this braniac as a parent.

  51. This is what happens when you get a group of young shiftless black men together…they turn into beasts.

  52. c weeks sez: “….you get a group of young shiftless black men together…they turn into beasts.

    *************************************************

    Yup, kind of like the three shiftless young black men who tied James Byrd behind a truck and drug him three miles. Oh wait…you say they were not black? They were white? Well, I guess that doesn’t count, does it?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_James_Byrd,_Jr.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25008925/ns/us_news-life/

  53. OS,

    Now, now that was in Jasper….even though its in Texas…its really Louisiana…kinda like Beaumont without the Oil….

  54. Stamford Liberal
    1, March 16, 2011 at 6:27 pm
    rafflaw,

    I hope Passidomo doesn’t have kids, particularly girls.

    ==============================================

    I may be mistaken but I think she has three girls and no boys.

Comments are closed.