She’s 11 years old. It shouldn’t have happened.

Last week the New York Times reported that an 11-year-old girl was gang-raped in a Texas town. It also reported a bunch of people saying she dressed like an adult and that the rapists would have to live with this for the rest of their lives. It forgot to say that the girl might have some displeasure with the whole situation too. People were disgusted. The Public Editor (as they call him) said they had a point. But…

My assessment is that the outrage is understandable. The story dealt with a hideous crime but addressed concerns about the ruined lives of the perpetrators without acknowledging the obvious: concern for the victim.

Yes; good; but…..

The Associated Press handled the story more deftly, I think. Its piece on the crime also noted the community view that the girl dressed provocatively and even the view of some that the girl may have been culpable somehow. But the AP also quoted someone in the community saying: “She’s 11 years old. It shouldn’t have happened. That’s a child. Somebody should have said, ‘What we are doing is wrong.’”

Um… if it’s not a child it’s ok? If the raped girl or woman is 17 or 25 or 40 or 70 it’s ok?

It’s weird the way people think about rape. Still, after all this time, when we’ve gone over it and gone over it. Nobody thinks of murder or assault or robbery that way, but rape is still sort of kind of the raped woman’s fault.

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