Reporting, Rape Culture, and Race: In the Media, Men Are Slaves to Their Own Sexuality

Last week, news broke that police in the small town of Cleveland, Texas, charged 18 men and boys between the ages of 14 and 27 with the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl.

The grisly crime immediately drew headlines from across the country. However, instead of bringing attention to a serious problem—that 50 percent of rapes go unreported—the stories exacerbated the issue by repeatedly accusing the victim of “baiting” her attackers.

The irresponsible reports began with James McKinley’s March 8 story in The New York Times, which strongly suggests that the victim provoked the rape. The age-old rapists’ defense of “she was asking for it”—still sadly accepted in the courts, as we addressed last month—reared its ugly head repeatedly in the story (which The Times’ public editor rebuked in his column last Friday). McKinley writes:

Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands—known as the Quarters—said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.

The shoddy reporting continues, as McKinley quotes only one resident, who sides with the alleged assailants, asking, “Where was her mother?” To cap it off, McKinley has the gusto to wonder:

If the allegations are proved, how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?

Others followed McKinley’s lead in blaming the victim, as there’s currently a bill on the table in Florida to regulate 11-year-olds’ wardrobes in response to the crime. Its sponsor explains the need for the law by pointing to the fact that the girl “was gang raped … by 18 young men because she was dressed like a 21-year-old prostitute.”

Of course, smaller news outlets also picked up on The Times’ initial report, placing fault squarely on the shoulders of the 11-year-old victim. For instance, The Grio, a news website that caters to the African-American community, began its report on the attack with this lead:

Neighbors said she dressed and acted like a grown woman, that she wore long dark hair and heavy makeup. She “put up” her age, they said, telling the teenage boys she hung out with a local playground that she was 18. Her Facebook page is riddled with status updates that brag about her sexual exploits, smoky nights fueled with liquor.

The Grio’s perverse coverage raises another compelling facet of the story: while the victim is Hispanic, her alleged assailants are African-American, and reaction in the community seems to be divided along racial lines. Some black community leaders, like Minister Quanell X of the New Black Panther Party, have hijacked the story for their own cause. X told the Cleveland community,

I did not come here to jump on an 11-year-old child. I did come to raise some serious questions. If this girl did not live in that neighborhood, at 11 years of age, how was that child in that community experiencing sex with so many African-American men? Where was her mother? Where was her father? … You mean to tell me that the only men in Cleveland, Texas, [who] had sex with that girl are black men who are locked up in the jail? Do you mean to tell me that there is no other race of men in Cleveland that slept with that child, that the black men are so psychologically and morally depraved, with a loss of a moral sense of shame, that they are the only ones who touched her?”

While X is right—there are some important questions that need to be asked about our justice system’s attitudes towards race—this case is not his soapbox for rape stories, and his attitude underlines the fundamental problem in the media’s handling of it. He, The New York Times, and other outlets overlook the main issue—the gruesome crime that this girl endured—in order to tell a story more conducive to their own ends. Race relations are a component in this story, to be sure, but not the heart of it.

The press needs to report the story in a way that reflects the atrocity of the victim’s plight, not point fingers at her and her family in order to explore other problems in our society. An 11-year-old was gang-raped—that alone should be enough to give us pause.

By casting women as “predators” who exploit men through their sexuality, we as a society render men “victims of their own sexuality,” as Akiba Solomon puts it in her excellent analysis of the situation for Color Lines. The stories like McKinley’s, which cropped up the past two weeks, reinforce this dangerous framework, excusing the despicable behavior of men while simultaneously divesting them of any agency.

Solomon once again offers valuable insight into how men can combat this rape culture and assert control of their sexuality. The piece, addressed to black men but applicable to all males, is an example of exactly how we need to respond to such horrendous stories in order to make sure they don’t happen again.

Image makingcoolpictures/Photobucket

 

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About Sam McCann

Sam McCann is a junior journalism major at Ithaca College who just discovered a field that pays even less than reporting: English. He promptly added it to his course load and now accepts donations. Email him here.

Comments

  1. Where was the man who was supposed to protect her? I’m talking about her father. The lack of fathers in the African American community is destroying us. I am an African American woman who grew up without one and I am one of the few women from that community determined not to let my own children be in the same situation.

    This girl wasn’t just gang raped, she was deprived of an essential figure in a child’s development. Studies show that girls without fathers are much more likely to have negative sexual experiences with men.

    • Peter-Andrew:Nolan(c) says:

      Kate,
      her father was, most likely, removed from the house by a lying mother. Just like I was.

      Where are the women who will hold women accountable for their crimes? Nowhere to be seen. THAT’s where they are Kate. I’ve been asking women to assist me for three years. ONE is willing. Not very ‘equal’ at all. I now take no notice of western women. They have proven they are a liability and have no sense of justice.

      • No, the father was not removed from the home in this case.

        So he is just as accountable…

        But that obscures the point….

        RAPE is the fault of RAPISTS… no one else.

    • 1.) Your opinions are not fact.

      2.) There is no evidence the mother abused this girl.

      3.) You’re full of illogical woman/feminist hatred and you don’t belong on GMP.

      • 1.) Actually they are fact. Get your head out of the Ms. Information echo chamber

        2.) He never said the mother abused the girl. Stop making silly straw men with no relevance here.

        3.) Your full of politically corrected manginaism and, sadly, you do belong here.

        This Comment written in Word to avoid GMP’s policy of auto-refreshing to gain ad revenue.

  2. Many of your points are good, but you misread McKinley’s question – like many others did- as a question posed by McKinley to NYT readers. It’s clear from the sentence before that one that the question is one posed by members of the community. He is reporting on community members’ victim-blaming, not doing any himself. Criticism that the reporting was unbalanced, and should have included community members’ non-blaming perspectives are valid, but accusing the reporter of victim-blaming is the result of lazy reading.

    • Rapists don’t get ‘drawn into’ rape…

      They commit rape.

      We don’t say, armed robbers get drawn into a store to rob it. They commit the crime of robbery.

      They made a choice to rape someone. That is why the language is balked at.

  3. GirlGlad4theGMP says:

    What I don’t understand, in the original NYT story and the various blogs jumping all over McKinley (as they rightfully should), what her age really has to do with it, aside from the facts that it makes the story more sensational and it likely serves to increase the trauma factor for the victim.
    She was asking for it because she was dressed like, and told others, she was an 18 year old? It it acceptable to gang-rape a woman who is 18? 28? 58?
    Forget her behaviour or what she was wearing or where she was, those factors alone aren’t enough for 18 men to have sex with her…the only factor that is is consent. Whether or not an 11 year old child can give consent is a whole other issue, but my understanding of the case is that she did not willfully engage in the occurences of that night.

    Oh, and since this is my first post with the GMP, I’d really like to outline that I like what I’m reading, and as a 31 year old woman in North America, I’m happy to know that there are truly good men out there, banding together in support of social improvement.

    • i wish more people were saying this. If she didn’t consent, it doesn’t matter what her age is. It’s just at 11 years of age, there’s no possibility of consent even if she was actually literally begging for it, which she wasn’t; the assailants had to coerce her with threats of violence. And if she was begging for it, at 11 years old, that would just indicate she was probably being abused and in need of legal and psychological help.

  4. Their justification is that she looked and acted like a 20 year old woman.

    Since when is it legal to gang rape a 20 year old? Since when is it acceptable to rape ANYONE?

  5. Sam: Get a clue.

    Don’t talk about shoddy journalism and then misrepresent things yourself. McKinley didn’t suggest the victim provoked the rape. He was quoting unnamed sources who live in the area. He clearly stated in his story there was only one neighbor who would go on the record, and he quoted her too. Because that’s his job. When something like that happens, you go and talk to the people there. It’s not up to McKinley to doctor what they say or couch it in a favorable light. His job is to capture the mood of neighbors. And that’s what he did.

    Furthermore, McKinley didn’t pose the question of “If the allegations are proved, how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?” He clearly said that’s one of many unanswered questions residents of the town have.

    Then you write “The press needs to report the story in a way that reflects the atrocity of the victim’s plight, not point fingers at her and her family in order to explore other problems in our society.”

    You know NOTHING about journalism. Good journalists don’t report the story with any slant. They simply report the story. THAT is our job, not to write anything in a certain light. McKinley’s story was thorough and unbiased. Yes, he happened to find some ignorant morons who have skewed views on rape. But that’s not McKinley’s fault. He’s simply reporting on the prevailing attitudes of the people who live close to the crime. He’s doing what a good journalist should do. And if you have any clue about what constitutes good journalism, you’d know that.

    Do you even comprehend the irony here? You lament bad journalism (which you’re totally wrong about in this case) and then you practice it yourself. The previous commenter is correct in that you’re practicing very lazy reading, and then compounding the mistake by bloviating about it incorrectly.

    Try to practice a little more personal responsibility before unfairly and incorrectly attacking others.

    • As I understand it, one of the _NYT_ editors did issue a statement a few days later more or less conceding that the tone of the article may have been a little misleading. It was not a full-blown apology, from what I understand, but it did suggest the original author was not quite in tune with _NYT_ journalistic guidelines.

      • Scott: the piece you’re referring to is by the NYT’s ombudsman. He’s not an editor, although he did quote an editor. As a reporter, its always best to get both sides. And maybe the reporter did talk to people concerned for the victim, but they wouldn’t go on the record. I don’t know. But my point is part of this story was obviously community reaction. And it seems a good portion of the community is casting some blame on the victim and/or feeling sorry for the alleged perpetrators. Is that a little sick? I think so. But if that’s the prevailing opinion then all the reporter is doing is relating that.

        The problem in these cases is the victim isn’t named and (understandably) no one from the family usually wants to talk. But no matter how many people you interview, you can’t make them say the right thing. As a journalist, I’m just disgusted & shocked how people think a reporter would blame a rape victim when he’s simply quoting others. That’s all.

        • If the only community opinion the reporter could find is that the victim brought her rape on herself, he could have pointed out the objective fact that the community’s full of monstrously wrong-headed victim blamers.

          • Actually no, he couldn’t.

            Reporters are not allowed to insert their opinions in a news story. So even if he feels that way (Lord knows I would) he can’t say that. He can try to find someone in the community to say that, but he absolutely cannot say it himself.

            • The reality is… I don’t believe for a second there wasn’t 1 sympathetic person in that community. He still has done shoddy work here. Extremely so.

              WHY ARE YOU DEFENDING THIS? Is this just a knee jerk MRA thing?

            • David: In no way whatsoever am I affiliated with the MRA. I have ZERO ties with the MRA. You call my reaction knee-jerk and then tie me in with a group I have no relation to at all? You’re the definition of knee-jerk.

              I’m not defending the idiotic people who truly believe this victim brought it on herself. I’m defending the journalist and because I’m a newspaper reporter myself, I’m trying to explain the problem with all the inaccuracies reported in this GMP article.

              You have to consider reporters are on deadline. Are there people sympathetic to the crime in the community? I’m sure there are. But obviously this reporter didn’t find any. If he interviewed 20 neighbors and they all blamed the victim or didn’t want to go on the record, what’s the reporter supposed to do? Now he’s on deadline, he’s talked to several people who live in the area and he has to get something to his editors. He’s not going to hold the story and miss deadline just because he can’t find someone with half a brain. Sometimes the story is what it is.

              My main point is that the author of this GMP article was WRONG in his criticism. Not just because I disagree, but because he was factually incorrect. He attributed things to McKinley that McKinley didn’t say. Then he said newspapers have an obligation to be sympathetic to the victim. Not true. Newspapers tell the story. And let’s remember innocent until proven guilty. That is why impartiality is so important.

            • I see your point better now. I would concur that all are innocent until proven guilty. It seems from the story itself that it may be hard to find an untainted jury one way or the other.

  6. The NYT article was critical of “blame the victim” talk in the victim’s community. The author of the NYT article cannot criticise something without mentioning it. This attempt to twist another journalist’s work so that it fits an agenda of hate is the worst kind of yellow journalism.

    This inflammatory and misleading report by Sam McCann is a sad attempt to twist the truth in order to promote the author’s own agenda of division. The rape culture he speaks of is non-existent, and the NYT report was both accurate and sensitive to the victim.

    Sam’s hate agenda is for all men to share blame for what a few men did. This is item #1 on the feminist agenda of anti-male hate.

    Sorry, Sam and othre feminist man haters. This nation was founded on rejection of collective guilt and guilt by association. Your attempts to resurrect this medieval practice is doomed to fail.

  7. The GMP fails to understand that the media organizations that are pointing out the girl’s behavior and dress are providing a wake-up call to girls and their parents, and that is of course assuming she is being raised in other than a single other household (smh). Such households have a far higher incidence of young girls getting pregnant, catching an STD, joining gangs, and dropping out of school.

    This article claims that America has a ‘rape-culture’ and attempts to shame all males by association for having out of control sexuality. The men I know are honorable, decent, responsible, and don’t rape females. There is no rape-culture in America.

    Speaking about doing soap-box reporting and a story that has its own ends…

    The reality is that only a tiny percentage of males have raped females. In America, there is an epidemic of false-rape claims with those ranging from at least 50-60+% of all claims. See the site False Rape Society.

    • Many of you think it’s constructive to imply that 11-year-olds deserve blame for their own rapes when they wear makeup.

      OK. Not surprised. Especially considering I just trashed a comment that said that despite the fact that the victim, who was 11, was threatened with a beating if she didn’t comply, the event wasn’t actually rape, it was an “orgy of consensual sex.”

      The prevailing attitude is that every time rape is in the news, it’s demonizing men.

      So maybe you’ll concede that the real issue is the idea of victim culpability, which perpetuates the idea that male sexuality is intrinsically predatory. As in, men are so wired to rape that when a child puts on makeup, it renders men slaves to their own sexual urges, unable to help themselves.

      That’s the implicit message in telling girls that their “behavior and dress” are the reasons for their attacks. Men can’t help it.

      This is how victim-blaming media coverage harms men. This is how rape culture harms men—in addition, of course, to piling shame and stigma on both male and female victims of sexual assault.

      But the outrage at this rape and its victim-blaming responses? Not harming men.

      • I wish I could thumb this up a thousand times

        It’s horrific what happened to this CHILD. I don’t really give a shit what she was wearing, how much makeup she had on, or whether she was ASKING them to have sex with her…she is a child, and that’s the bottom line for me.

        These men were obviously deviant, and NOT representative of ALL, or most, or likely even a significant percentage of men; but painting her in the media as some Lolita has the misleading effect of ALSO painting men (not only the ones who raped her, but ALL men) as slaves to their cocks…and that is not the case at all.
        The majority of men would look at an 11 year old wearing makeup as…an 11 year old wearing makeup and not a sexual being.

      • If I decide to the walk through through a poverty stricken ghetto flashing cash I’m going to get robbed and killed. It’s that simple. There are areas where groups of dangerous, violent and sociopathic young men congregate. If you walk through these areas alone at night and dressed like a prostitute you’re going to attract a certain type of attention.

        Wanna call that blaming the victim? Fine. I’m not saying the rapists aren’t to blame or shouldn’t be punished, they absolutely should be, but it’s idiotic to fail to learn the lesson that certain behaviors can lead to certain outcomes. You don’t need to a GED to figure out that if you dress and act like a slut people will treat you like one.

        • ELEVEN. YEARS. OLD.

          • Carolos: “You don’t need to a GED to figure out that if you dress and act like a slut people will treat you like one.”

            So Carlos, based on your comments, does that mean your calling the 11 year old girl a “slut”? Because it’s quite interesting to me that out of all the people in this crime, you’ve chosen to direct a name to the only victim in it. This is so absolutely fasciniating. You’ve targeted the only vicitim of the crime and dared associate her with being a “slut”, while the men that actually committed the crime, go un-name called. Ask yourself what that says about you.

            Oh you were sure to throw in a token comment about the men’s culpability, marginally so, so you don’t come off like a complete monster. But the sheer fact that your whole post centers around how the victim behaved, not the men; the sheer fact that your whole post centers around working your way up to calling the 11 year old akin to a slut, shows your true colors. It doesn’t take a GED to figure who you blame. So instead of trying to pretty up your true core belief with your token “hey I’m not saying the rapists aren’t to blame BUT BUT BUT…” next time just leave that part out. It’s unnessisary when your core belief is to blame the 11 year old victim for the actions of 14-27 year old boys and men.

            Cooper, I am going to second Natasha’s words and I would also give your post a thousand thumbs up if I could.

      • I would question the term ‘deliberately’ when in reference to an 11 year old girl.

        Yes perhaps deliberately in that she is emulating what she is seeing her mother/mother figure/sisters or peers are doing or wearing, but deliberate as in with the intention to garner sexual attention with the full understanding of what that entails? Idk…..

      • What a woman is wearing has so little to do with it.

        Point: Women in cultures that demand women wear burkas or other head to toe coverings still get raped at an alarming rate.

        The onus for a rape not to happen is on the rapist… not the victim.

      • I say all rape is bad. Rape of little girls, rape of little boys, rape of women and rape of men. You seem to think only the rape of little boys and men are worth talking about because even on a topic about the rape of a young girl, you can only talk about what happens to men. I am under no deluded victim mentality that because rapes are committed against men or women, that lessens the rape of either gender to the other when one situation is talked over another.

        You *still* have no comments, no words for the men that raped her. You can only bleat on about the evils of feminism and the abuse of young boys. Why? Because you don’t care about the rape of an 11 year old girl.

        By the way, before you get into cheeky comments about lala land, you should pay more attention to those you decide to go toe to toe with. What I actually asked is why you felt the need to ignore the male pedophilia in this case, the case the actual article is about, in favor of touting female pedophilia, prison rapes and other nonsense that has nothing to do with the rape of an 11 year old girl. You keep bleating about rape culture and female pedophilia and you continue to ignore that 18 older boys and grown men abused a 11 year old girl and not one woman was involved in this case.

        What is your issue with holding these men, these older boys and grown adult men that clearly decided to engage in the abuse and taping of the abuse of a child, accountable?

        If you want to do men a service, then hold the men that committed the actual crime accountable. If you want to talk about female pedophilia, then do it on the back of a story that actually is about a woman abusing a child. But touting female pedophilia on the back of a story about male pedophilia makes it that much easier for you to ignore male culpability.

        Keep going on about how you think women are to blame for all society ills and keep on ignoring that this case was about 18 older boys and grown adult men that got off to raping one little girl in a lone trailer while they filmed her abuse. If you don’t find that completely disgusting as a human being, you must really think little girls deserve to get ripped apart emotionally and phyiscally by the adult men in this case that just couldn’t control themselves from not abusing an 11 year old. There wasn’t one woman there that engaged in the little girls abuse. Not one. When was the last time you heard of 18 girls and women abusing an 11 year old boy? I bet you would be the first to stick up for that little boy. As a man with a young daughter of your own, how can you not be sticking up for this litttle girl?

  8. As shocked as I am regarding this crime, as a father of a 13 yearl old girl , I am extremely interested in knowing what people, places, and activities to avoid in order to keep her safe. The determinination of guilt and innocence and any punnishment is important but that is something other people will have to decide.

  9. The plight of this poor girl should not be used as an instrument to demonize male sexuality. Women commit rape too and men are victims of rape too.

    • Way to derail.

    • …Yes, they are.

      VERY, VERY RARELY, in comparison to male-on-female rape. Stop dodging around the fact that rape IS almost exclusively something men do.

      What’s demonising male sexuality is the victim-blaming that implies men are slaves to their libido, unable to resist responding to certain external triggers.

  10. It is so discouraging to see story after story like this. 11 year old raped then blamed, campus rapist not expelled “because rape is a teachable moment”, University of Notre Dame under investigation for not looking into reported rapes.

    People say the womens moment is over, but we are *far* from an equal society. Men *have* to carry the torch on this one. I am so thankful for the Good Men Project and their work toward fueling dialogue.

    • It is discouraging to see Universities expelling and demonizing male students based on allegations of rape most of which turn out to false-rape claims. False allegation after false allegation.

    • Actually Jennifer, it’s the responsibility of good men to ensure that the justice system and the Constitution are applied fairly and equally.

      Presumption of innocence, what a concept!

  11. Actually this video proves that WOMEN perpetuate the rape culture. Even Gloria Steinem admits this herself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plkeKMTDM9g

  12. Peter-Andrew:Nolan(c) says:

    Sam,
    “However, instead of bringing attention to a serious problem—that 50 percent of rapes go unreported—”

    Actually. MAN more rapes go unreported because almost NO prison rapes are reported and when a woman rapes a man it is RARELY reported and when it is the man or boy who was raped is NOT classed as a victim of a crime. So thanks for pointing out this number but it is FAR too low. And when are you going to write about rape where MEN are the victims as is the case in the VAST MAJORITY of rapes. We don’t have a specific percentage because, you know, they are NOT REPORTED>

    Also Sam. You seemed to miss mentioning that 90%+ of ‘rape’ claims by women against men are false. I look forward to seeing you mention THAT statistic next time.

    Do you manginas never get tire of spewing out hatred against men?

  13. “she was ordered to disrobe. If she refused, the statement said, she was warned other girls would beat her up and she would never get a ride back home.”

    Worst. Orgy. Ever.

  14. there will be no justice in this case, because not even this website will allow free and open debate, let a lone a court of law.

  15. Erin: Right on.

    “Joseph is making a joke at the girls expense so much at making a joke about the term “orgy” being used to describe her rape. I could be wrong, but that’s what I got from his comments. Not that he was joking about her rape but that he was making a commentary on the silliness of using the word “orgy” to describe what was clearly a hate crime against a little girl.”

    Joseph was responding to a post by Jace, who called the rape a “consensual” “orgy,” and whose comment was deleted. Sorry for the confusion.

  16. The fact of the matter is, we live a society were consensual acts are routinely called “rape,” even when they bear no resemblance to rape whatsoever. It’s like we all participate in a giant mass delusion, seeing reality right before our eyes but then insisting on calling it something that it is not, and anyone who speaks truth to power must be instantly and violently silenced.

    The first action of a free mind must be to question this delusion.

    • Really Jace? A “free mind” is one that questions social delusion? Or a “free mind” is one that listens to your own version of interpretation of what defines a “delusional” society? Even though you give no real facts to support your claims.

      Lets not muddy the waters with fake ideologies of what free thinking really is is some twisted attempt to degrade the crime of “rape” by an ideology of what you think is it’s over use.

      Lets also not muddy the waters about a 11 year old girl’s rape with unethical claims that because there have been cases of wrongly accused men in rape cases, that that reason alone is enough to prove that every single time a rape is committed, it’s mearly an act of fiction and the person or victim in the case is really just a “liar” of somehow “asked for it”.

      • No, Erin,

        I have great respect and sympathy for victims of rape. It’s feminist ideology and its rabid assault on men that has muddied the waters about what rape really is. Though a lot great things have come from feminism, one of the tragedies of feminism is that within its rhetoric it has created a bizarre definition of sexual assault, and from its position of agency it has gone a long way towards making males look like pre-ordained sexual predators.

        What I propose is that we need to clean the waters by using the ability of a non-rhetorical mind to look to the heart of the case and ask, fundamentally, was there sexual consent here? We MUST consider the possibility of sexual consent (as has been hinted by the community where this happened) before these men are lynched for a “rape” that may have only happened in the rhetoric of hysteria.

        • Why don’t you enlighten us as to what you mean by ‘rape-rape’ vs. not rape?

          I’m really curious as to what your definition of rape is.

          Mine: Non consensual sexual activity toward someone (man, woman, or child.) I define nonconsent as 1.) unconscious 2.) saying no 3.) fighting back or other ‘constructive’ displays of nonconsent 4.) acquiesced by duress ie. including but not limited to threat of greater bodily harm like death, shame, threats towards family, or being maimed 5.) statutorily too young to consent.

          • Good question David! Since Jace is someone that has alot of respect and sympathy for rape victims, I’m happy to hear how he defines rape.

            Jace?

          • David,

            Exactly what I’m saying is that “statutorily too young to consent” means that she could have consented–that is, said “yes” and been a willing participant in the sex–but society won’t allow her to consent because of society’s violent rhetoric and hysteria against children consenting to sex.

            The right of a human being to consent should not be ruled out just because they are 11. And that is why this case must be looked at very carefully. Even if she said “yes,” to claim that her age bars her from giving consent is a crime against human dignity.

            The fact is that her will to consent, her fundamental human right to consent, supersedes any law that claims she cannot consent because of her age. The abomination is knowing that she gave consent and then continuing to claim these men (and boys) raped her, and therefore persecuting these men for something they did not do: rape.

            If this happens then what the men and boys will be persecuted for is not rape, but rather breaking a socially constructed feminist taboo.

            Feminist thought and practice has committed the crime of denying the right to consent to underage people, and then using a turn of phrase and the collective hysteria of society to persecute people (mostly men and boys) when they engage in consensual sex with a minor.

            What needs to happen in this case is for the witch hunt (and it is a witch hunt) to stop, for folks to be honest with themselves. Yes this kind of sex happens. Yes, parents should have played a larger role in the lives of those involved. But no crime was committed because it was consensual sex.

            Even though the law may say she can’t consent because of her age, the law is wrong just as the law has been wrong on many subjects in the past.

            • You think an 11-year-old can legally consent to group sex?? Wow. There’s aren’t enough “thumbs down” buttons in the world for you.

            • My argument is not about political correctness. It is about being factual, which Sam’s piece was not.

              I’ll grant you that parts of the statutory rape law are unfair (at least here in Mass where I live). For instance, if a 15-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl have consensual sex, only the male can be charged with statutory rape. That is, of course, absurd and archaic. But that’s a far cry from an 11-year-old being able to consent to sex. Most kids that age haven’t even gone through puberty yet, and I don’t think there’s an argument out there that can convince me someone that young should have the legal right to consent.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Not just “Where is that girl’s father?”

    For all those (of whatever gender) who are convicted of rape itself, “Where are THEIR fathers?”

  18. Tommy Bourgeois says:

    As Americans, we criticize Islamic Fundamentalist societies for their treatment of Women. The truth is, we are just as Patriarchal and demeaning toward Women as they are. We rant, rave, and say how terrible it is, when a woman is stoned. We stand upon our moral soapbox and preach how different we are from… them. Are we?
    When we hear cases of Women being raped and the entire society exclaiming, “if she got raped it was her fault. She must have done something to entice the man.” We watch in horror as the men drag her into the town square, the women tear their clothing and spit on her, and the self-righteous gather up stones, to stone her. We say how horrible these people, these monsters, blaming victims and excusing the lustful, undisciplined actions of the man. We stand and watch as they yell, “crucify her!” Look closely, survey the crowd, do you see yourself?
    If a woman walked down the street naked, it still never gives a man the right to take from her something she is not willing to give. I wonder if this story would be different if they had raped an 11yr old boy. No, none of us wonders that, we all know the answer. It does not matter how she was dressed, or how old she acted, or how many lovers she may have had, or if she shared on her personal page, her personal business, none of that matters. What matters is they stole from her, something she can never get back. What matters is that we as a society are stealing the rest…

  19. a concerned mother of boys and girls says:

    When men decide to stop raping only then wil rape end. every 2 minutes a woman is raped. 99% of rape is perpetrated by men. lets call a 24 hour truce? what a concept! I don’t even know why anybody is even debating this the fact is no matter what age, what gender, what race, or what you are wearing should give anybody the green light to rape you period.

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