By Beth Morrison, HAVEN CEO
Tuesday was International Women’s Day, a day to reflect on the historic struggles and triumphs of women as well as to bring an awareness to the plight and oppression of women around the globe. I’m sure on tonight’s national news broadcasts in the US, there will be focus on the horrific living conditions and daily terrors women face in third world countries and those countries experiencing war.
Yet, here in the US women and young girls face similar terror and oppression, facing rape and violence as part of their daily lives within their homes or their communities. I am not comparing one individual’s horror with another’s but just highlighting that we as Americans often thumb our noses at these countries and talk of how they are uncivilized, etc. And then I read about the gang rape of an 11-year-old young girl in Cleveland, Texas.
Here in the US, a young woman enrolled in gifted and talented classes at her middle school, was raped by 17 men and boys, with a prediction that count could grow to 28. In one night, in November, in the US. Of the 17 arrested, the age range is from a middle-schooler to 27 years old and includes 7 high school students, athletes, sons of prominent community leaders and individuals with criminal records. Many of these rapists invited others to join them in the gang rape and with these large numbers it sounds like more than a few were eager to drive over to add to the brutality and, by the way, capture it all on their cell phone cameras and video.
According to the newspaper article, the attorney representing three defendants stated, “This is not a case of a child who was enslaved or taken advantage of.” Excuse me – she was 11 years old! Apparently some in the community are also quick to blame the young girl’s parents. Excuse me – let’s focus on the men who raped this young woman! This young victim is no longer safe in her own home, due to people seeking retribution.
There has also been a disturbing article in The New York Times that places blame on the victim and has caused uproar in the blogging community and on other news outlets. As of this posting, 18,894 people have signed the petition to have The New York Times apologize for their article. Please take some time to sign the petition and forward to your friends.
Rape happens in America. It happens every single day and it must be stopped. Not all rapes, like this young woman’s, will make newspapers around the country. Most rapes will be kept as a silent horror within the survivors own mind and soul.
We have to speak up. We have to stop these horrific assaults. We MUST teach boys that rape is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Society has taken a huge stand against underage drinking and drunk driving. Let’s put our collective power into stopping RAPE. As a starter, check out our website to learn how to be involved: www.haven-oakland.org.