Sexism functions in society in the same perverted way as does racism: Blaming the victim is a mechanism to shift the focus away from the actual issue, which is the rape of a child. Further, suggesting that this event might have been avoided had a good mother been around again codes women as incompetent and unable to care for themselves or their children when something terrible happens to their children — especially female children.
Why are black women questioning the girl and the mother? When you occupy two marginal positions, one identity typically trumps the other. Instead of raging against their sons for participating in such a vile act, they rage against a young girl and in turn become complicit in the very behavior that victimizes women.
For black women, by virtue of being black and female, the necessity of battling racism means that sexism will often be overlooked or tabled, even when it is to their detriment. This type of sexist behavior is completely unacceptable, even when coming from women.
Because we have a justice system that can be overzealous in its pursuit of black boys and men as criminals, some are championing the rights of the boys and men over the rights of this little girl, who deserves at least the same level of protection and support. While the Cleveland community is screaming bloody murder over the arrest of so many black boys and men at one time, a young girl’s life has also been destroyed, and there have been no rallies or press conferences to address that fact.
Unfortunately, what happened to this little girl is not exceptional. On March 23, nine suspected gang members (True Blood 22) were charged in a sexual attack on a 14-year-old girl who was lured to an abandoned house in St. Paul, Minn. The attack occurred last November, but arrests were just made. Four of the alleged assailants range in age from 15 to 37.
On Thursday an 18-year-old Ukrainian woman died after being gang-raped, strangled, burned alive and left for dead by three men in Kiev.
Both cases in the U.S. are eerily similar: Crimes occurred during the same time of year, involved luring an underage girl to an abandoned property, repeated rape by minority males (Asian boys and men in the St. Paul case) and nearly four months from the date of the crime to the first arrest.
The victim of the St. Paul incident is described as “having done everything she could to stop the crime,” as if to suggest that other rape victims go along with the program. Houston community activist Quanell X accused the 11-year-old girl in the Texas case of not doing enough to stop the alleged incident. Perhaps he forgot that she was 11, alone and facing two dozen attackers.
What person, regardless of gender, is not going to fight back if he or she can when faced with rape? The continued assassination of this young girl’s character is sexism rearing its ugly head and speaks volumes about how young girls are treated by communities that are fixated on racism yet indifferent to sexism.
While many may ask, “Where is the mother,” I will simply ask, “Where is the justice?”