She is 11.
You read that right.
From ages 14 to 27. In a small town called Cleveland, Texas, where they apparently have a whole bunch of heartless bastards who think raping girls is such a fun time that it should be videotaped and photographed for posterity and shared with others who might find footage of a young girl being forced to have sex amusing.
Those videos and pictures, according to news reports, are how police found and arrested the 18 two of them star basketball players at the local high school, another the son of a local councilman, a few of them convicted, grown ass felons. And word has it that there might be more boys and men involved in the brutal sexual assault of this sixth grader.
You read that right.
Most other human beings would have sympathy for an 11-year-old, sixth-grade girl who was repeatedly raped for hours by random men in a squalid Katrina trailer while others stood around laughing, videotaping and waiting their turn. But they must make ˜em extra special in Cleveland, TX, because folk an outspoken black community leader and mostly the mothers and sisters and grandmothers and family members of the accused have taken to the camera and the newspapers to wait on it dog out the little girl. She wears make-up. And dresses provocatively for a tween. And talks about sex on her FaceBook page. And is thought to have gone willingly with the 19-year-old and his friend. Like this was some consensual sex stuff between the 11-year-old and him and the friend and at least 16 other men and teenagers. Oh, and the mostly-white police force has it out for African American males.
My homegirl Akiba Solomon nailed why the advancement of this logic is ass-backard in her column, The Gang Rape of Latina 6th Grader, and a Horrific Community Response, on Colorlines:
In this framework, girls of color are the predators, the fast-asses, the hot-asses, the hooker-hos, the groupie bitches, the trick-ass bitches, the bust-it-babies and the lil' freaks who are willing to let dudes run a train on them. Too often let translates into, she was rolling with a bunch of dudes or she showed poor judgement or she appropriated male-identified sexual bravado to fit in, or she's a child who has been sexually exploited or abused.
This double standard also renders black men and boys as victims of their own sexuality. They're big-dick goon and goblin niggas just doing what niggas do when a smiling, or at least not-protesting young girl comes around. She's 11? OK, but I didn't know she was 11, so I didn't do anything wrong, or violent, or exploitative or dangerous.
Here's what I know: I'm so sick and tired of watching leaders and our people especially women throw our girls under the bus as they rush to protect the boys who've done wrong. Are boys and men of color under attack in our communities? Absolutely. I know firsthand; I'm a wife, mother, daughter, sister, cousin, friend and mentor to a host of beautiful black men who've spent a lifetime staring down injustice. But dammit, not every black boy or man deserves our allegiance our unyielding support. Sometimes, they do wrong. Real wrong. And like any other criminal especially those who rape women and, by God, 11-year-old girls they should be prosecuted and, if found guilty, forced to pay dearly for their crimes. Sans cheerleaders who think vilifying and demonizing female victims is tantamount to fighting for the cause.
This time, can we let the cause be about supporting and rooting for the little girl?
After all, she is 11.
A sixth grader.
And 18 boys and men have been charged with gang raping her.