Texas Town Divided After Sexual Assault Of Young Girl
And not in the way one might expect. Over the Thanksgiving holiday last year, an 11-year-old girl was allegedly gang raped by over a dozen men in an abandoned mobile home located in Cleveland, Texas (forty miles northeast of Houston). The girl was lured into a car with a 19-year-old suspect, who drove her to the abandoned trailer. Once there, she was forced to disrobe and perform sexual acts with multiple men in both a house and the abandoned trailer. The acts were photographed and videotaped. One of the girl’s classmates saw the video and reported the crime to school officials. Once it was determined none of the events occurred on school property, the case was handed over to the local police.
While many in the community have responded with outrage at the alleged crime and the tender age of the victim, others have responded by blaming the victim and her mother. Community residents claim the girl hung out with older guys and dressed suggestively. Others say no matter what, her mother should have been responsible for her whereabouts and none of this would have ever happened.
Furthermore, some in the community are convinced this is nothing more than a racially-based “set-up” by the local authorities to round up African-American men and put them in prison. The victim is Hispanic.
Regardless of the race of the victim or the alleged offenders, this is an incredibly hideous and vile act that should be taken seriously by all within the community. Perhaps the mother should have been more concerned about the acquaintances and whereabouts of her daughter, but that does not give anyone the right or reason to violate a young girl in such a horrible way. The focus should be on supporting the victim and her family and standing with them to ensure this never happens to another person.
We all know there are many injustices occurring within the criminal justice system with regards to minorities—I raise my Black Power fist quicker than most—but this is not about race. With video evidence (and the DNA evidence likely to follow), this should be an open and shut case in which the community may have to cease to make excuses and come face-to-face with a despicable truth.
Here’s hoping the community unites to move forward and realize if one is hurt, we are all hurt. By that standard, the small Texas town of Cleveland is in serious pain.
Source: New York Times