She Asked to be Raped

16 Aug

orig. published 3/12/11

Question, do women who are raped ask for this to happen to them by the way
they dress or act?  As a survivor I racked my brain for years wondering what I
did to ask for this to happen, surely I had done something to provoke this
horrible act, this invasion of, not just my body but my spirit as well.  I hear
people talk about women as objects to be leered at and just today I read an
article about an 11 year old girl from a small Southeastern Texas town who was
raped not once, not twice, not even three times, but eighteen times by multiple
men, all of whom ranged in age from high school to late twenties, some of them
star athletes at the local high school, some convicted criminals, one the son of
a school board member.  Yet, somehow, these men, these perpetrators of such a
horrific atrocity found support, people who don’t deny that they committed these
acts against an 11 year old child but yet can still defend them by saying that
this girl asked for this to happen.  Some say that she dressed too provacatively
for her age, some just flat out said that she must have lied about her age to
these men, they are not responsible for their actions because she put herself
out there in such a way that no man would be able to control himself.

I have heard this kind of argument before, a woman who jogs in the park in
the mornings in a pair of shorts and a sports bra, a woman on her way home from
a night out with friends in a dress that is a little too revealing, the woman at
the office who jokingly flirts a little with the guy down the hall, they must
all be asking for it, right?  Where does the line of this foolishness end?  When
did we become the society that justifies the brutal, offensive violation of
someone with the excuse that someone could not control themselves?  When did it
become OK to blame the victim and sympathise with the attacker?

One woman was quoted as saying, “She lied about her age. Them boys didn’t
rape her. She wanted this to happen. I’m not taking nobody’s side, but if she
hadn’t put herself in that predicament, this would have never happened,” Some
said that she consented to the sex and therefore in their minds these men did
not commit a crime, because, yes, we all know that an 11 year old is capable of
making rational, wise choices.  Maybe she is, at least more so than these men
who seem to think that she enticed them with her siren song.  A guest speaker,
invited by a local pastor, spoke to a group of about 130 people, he asked why
this girl did not report this crime herself to the police.  Even as I write this
I am shaking my head, easy for him to say why didn’t she report it herself.  See
at 20 I was raped by a boyfriend, I didn’t report the crime becasue I believed
him when he said that he would kill me, he had not done anything other than beat
and rape me so what reason did I have to believe that he would not kill me.
Secondary to this reason, rape is such a hard crime to investigate, it happens
more often than you would think that a girl cries rape because some guy slept
with her but wouldn’t date her or return her calls, or maybe he broke up with
her , for whatever reason there is these false claims of rape make it very hard
for those of us who are genuine victims of the crime.  The police are not much
help either, you go to them, vulnerable and afraid and they did up every little
thing that you could have done to “ask” for this to happen or some way that you
consented to this, and when it is a date rape situation its just that much
harder.  So what if she didn’t report the crime herself to the police, as many
as 60% of rapes go unreported each year, so why would this little girl who was
told she would be beaten up, told that no one would take her home, who probably
had no clue what to do go to the police?

Some say where was her mother and that is an interesting and good question,
one that I myself would be interested to know but where this child’s mother was
has no bearing on the responsibility that these 18 men held in these attacks.
In the state of Texas, 17 is the age of consent, the state concedes at this age
a child is old enough to know right from wrong and has the ability to make a
wise and informed decision.  No longer are your parents responsible for you
actions, before this age your brain is not quite mature to judge all the
consequences of the actions you are making, but some of these men are in their
late 20’s, obviously they should be able to say to themselves, “this is a child,
this is wrong” no matter if she asked them point blank to have sex with her,
they all knew better but they all chose to pursue the crime.

I feel for this child, this girl whose youth has been torn from her, her life
will never be the same again.  I sympathise with this child who will no doubt
question her worth because of what these monsters did to her, this girl who will
probably find it harder to trust a man again, fear that they all end up like
these who attacked her, I feel for her most of all because I do believe, after
reading several articles on this story, that she is a misguided child who was
looking for attention and found it in the wrong way.  I want to tell her that I
love her, even though I do not know her, I still love her and that she is
valuable, I want to reassure her all the things that I fought to re find after
my attack.  Do I feel sympathy for her attackers?  Not in the least and I am
puzzled by how anyone could defend them by saying that she asked for it.  No
woman, regardless of age or race or socioeconomic background, no one deserves to
fall pray to this kind of viciousness.  We are all human and as such we all
deserve to be treated as one, with respect and consideration, these boys, these
men, they know better if for no other reason than this, she is 11 years old.

I do not feel sympathy for these men but I will pray for them, pray that one
day they understand just how this child does and that they never forget that
feeling when they do.

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