New Details From East Texas Alleged Gang Rape

What Women Really Think
March 29 2011 11:27 AM

New Details From East Texas Alleged Gang Rape

The New York Times definitely felt the brunt of criticism over an earlier report on an alleged gang rape of an 11-year-old in East Texas. The original story focused largely on the eagerness of many in the community to blame the victim and let the alleged attackers off the hook for sexually assaulting a middle-school student, without providing the necessary context to understand these responses. Now the Times and McKinley are back with a more in-depth report that frames the victim-blaming as victim-blaming and looks more closely at what it means to rape a young girl, no matter how naughty and disobedient she is.

Unsurprisingly, the reporting casts doubts on the accusations leveled at the victim that imply she's a tramp, a grown woman who loves to have sex with multiple men but who just happens to be trapped in the body of a child who has stuffed animals on her bed. The people who know the alleged victim paint a much different picture, of a bright child with a rebellious streak who has been severely and possibly permanently traumatized. The parents, who have also been the target of much victim-blaming, come across as two people in poor health struggling to keep their heads above water financially, and whose ability to control their daughter has been severely compromised by these facts. It's sad that it even has to be said, but the common sense that would tell us that even rebellious 11-year-olds don't deserve or desire to be gang raped cannot be assumed, and this reality has to be spelled out, in heart-breaking detail.


In the weeks since the original report in the New York Times was published, more details have emerged from this case that have shed light on some of the racial and political tensions that are exaggerating the usual blame-the-victim response that inevitably emerges after a rape. Lori Adelman, writing for the Grio, did a bang-up job of teasing out the implications and addressing how to look at this situation's complexity without falling back on victim-blaming. Unfortunately, both the KKK and the New Black Panthers (which have nothing in common with and have been denounced by the real Black Panthers) have exploited this situation to escalate racial tensions in one of the most tense parts of the country. The realities of this young girl's situation and life are getting overwhelmed rapidly by all the political noise surrounding this case, and this Times piece is a welcome reminder that we should remember the victims first and look to see how to prevent crimes like this in the future.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.